The Drilling & Sawing Association has published the first issue of a promotional magazine with the aim of increasing awareness of diamond drilling and sawing in the construction industry. The initiative follows a major effort by the sector to improve training proficiency and accreditation.
Diamond cutting is championed as capable of achieving a high degree of accuracy on a large range of applications such as the dismantling of masonry structures and cutting to length large diameter concrete pipes.
'There are still a lot of people in the construction industry who are not aware that you can cut concrete using diamond blades and drills,' says DSA's general secretary Hugh Wylde. 'There can be significant savings as far as environmental, cost and time aspects go compared with other methods like using a jack hammer.'
Precision Cutting confirms that knowledge of the technique is patchy. 'Some people are very aware of the process, but there are others who are still using pneumatic breaking equipment when diamond techniques would be more efficient and cost effective,' says managing director John Hornby.
'The main advantage is that there is relatively little dust, vibration and noise because water is used in the cutting process. You can break the concrete precisely to the dimensions you need and
the process is usually quicker.'
The apparent lack of demand for the process is obliging another concrete cutting firm to seek work in areas of engineering other than construction for an income. Its managing director told NCE that he thinks there are too many companies which offer diamond drilling. 'There just isn't enough work to go around. We would struggle if we didn't do other work such as demolition,' he says.
A training scheme was set up by DSA for the benefit of its members in January 1994 in a bid to drive up safety standards and increase the demand for diamond drilling and sawing. The certificate of competence for machine operators, run in conjunction with the Construction Industry Training Board, recognises the level of proficiency required for the appropriate cutting techniques, including an adequate background in health and safety.
The number of firms taking up the scheme is rising. 'We have more than 300 members affiliated to us who recognise that safety and training go hand in hand and that these certificates go some way to raising the profile and value of such matters,' Wylde says.
East Midlands Diamond Drilling is one company which sees membership of an effective and recognised trade body as an aid to achieving and maintaining a good reputation.
'By showing you have the DSA logo, it indicates that you have a more professional approach to your work. I see it as giving us the edge over some of our competitors,' says group managing director Trevor Vickers.