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24 hour working to speed up roads jobs

Contractors and consultants this week expressed fears that government plans to accelerate construction of road schemes with the use of 24 hour a day working could increase costs.

Contractor Colas operations director Stuart Cordier said that, while the construction industry was capable of working round the clock, there would be drawbacks.

“Speed is not necessarily efficiency,” said Cordier. “It costs you more for 24 hour operations.”

Mott MacDonald transportation director David Tarrant also questioned whether the Highways Agency was set up for such working practises.

“The number one issue is what happens with a departure from standards,” said Tarrant.

He warned that there were no current arrangements to deal with changes to 24 hour operations.

The comments came after transport secretary Patrick McLoughlin announced his backing for off-site construction, 24 hour working and greater overlapping of design and construction last week.

Four pilot schemes have been identified.

They will trial the new ways of working that, it is hoped, will lead to managed motorways projects delivered in the half the time it normally takes. More complexprojects are expected to be delivered up to 25% quicker.

A Highways Agency spokesman said details about the possibility of increased costs resulting from 24 hour working “needed to be worked up. We need to workwith our supply chain and look at the plans in detail,” he said.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Neither the Highways Agency or its design consultants are geared up to have staff avialable to accommodate 24 hour working. There needs to be a huge step change in the way they organise themsleves if 24 hour working is to be successful

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  • 24 hour working is not new. In the 90s nearly all trunk road and motorway major maintenance renewal contracts were let on a lane rental basis which encouraged 24/7 working. It led to long working hours and a high stress environment, which is not good when people are working in close proximity to trunk roads and motorways

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  • We in Qatar are working on two shifts of 10 hours a day for six days a week, due to Climatic factors.During the summer, when the ambient temperatures are beyond the tolerance of the site workers and also too high for long hours of daytime concreting, we find the night shift to be productive. The day time operations are limited to such work which is practically possible.

    In addition, when a Contractor has to catch up with the slips in their schedule requiring some form of acceleration. rather than putting in unmanageable lot of resources during a daytime work shift, by working on two shifts they could work with manageable quantum of resources put out onto two shifts.
    If a two shift work schedule is planned out properly with the consent of he Employer and the Supervising Consultant, it is a useful arrangement in my opinion.

    Chandra M/Qatar

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