A seasoned Site Manager for Fletcher Construction, Karl Allen was faced with a serious health and safety risk to his crew, just prior to Christmas, in December 2016. He and his crew were constructing three separate buildings for AUT’s Engineering and Technology department, ranging from a 5 storey to a 13-storey Tower being constructed as a top down construction, 3 levels per jump. The project exposed, a serious risk to health and safety: the possibility of material or worse, a person, falling 13 stories to the ground.
This was a complex build project. It was recognised early on that it would be difficult to install scaffold or edge protection beyond level two due to difficult access to install to the upper levels and extremely limited space on site.
Alternative solutions were researched and the INTAKS system was found to be the best edge protection system for the job. This system was light, easy to install, compliant to NZ standards and above all promoted safe work methods which were designed into the system and made it efficient for installation and dismantle. Traditionally, scaffolding is installed to act as edge protection so there is often downtime on site for construction crews while the scaffolding is being erected. With the INTAKS edge protection system, competent installers within the construction crew could install the edge protection, therefore utilising site labour and minimising delays to the project.
Karl contacted INTAKS’ General Manager, Joel Warren in Tauranga, who provided a comprehensive demonstration of the INTAKS system, predominately focusing on I-Beam solutions at Karl’s request. Safety, compliance and training were all key considerations for Karl, and all were satisfied with the INTAKS system. Karl sent INTAKS his plans with edge protection requirements marked up, Joel priced from this accordingly and product (the I-Beam Offset configuration) was delivered direct to site within a short time frame.
Karl then arranged for three of his crew to be trained by INTAKS, to install the system (a carpenter, a hammer hand and a labourer). Karl’s crew then successfully installed the edge protection for levels 1 to 3 and, after a review of the installation, construction works commenced.
The 13-storey main building was being constructed three levels at a time. As they neared the pour for the fourth level concrete slab, it was discovered by AUT’s H&S Consultant that the gap between the handrail and the structure posed unacceptable risk to their requirements. The difference being that the concrete floor on the higher floors ended flush with the I-beam as opposed to cantilevering out from it on the lower floors.
Karl contacted INTAKS immediately, providing them a risk assessment report, and the need to provide a solution that would remove the risk of material or personnel falling through the gap. Health and safety was the key consideration here and something needed to be done as soon as possible, because there were nine more levels to construct. With the Christmas break just around the corner, time was of the essence.
INTAKS were completely open to Karl’s feedback, and addressed the concerns raised by AUTs H&S Consultant. INTAKS also recognised the time constraints that Karl and his crew were under, so began working on a prototype solution immediately. When Karl returned to site in early January 2017, INTAKS presented a new solution that utilised a new bracket that brought the handrail closer in to the steel structure and concrete slab, closing the gap and solving the problem. This became the Fixed I Beam configuration.
In summary INTAKS had been presented with a problem and within 5 working weeks they had a solution that had gone through the design stage, engineer sign-off for compliance with AS/NZ standards, site testing and which was now in production.
Again, INTAKS excelled. Product was delivered to not only the AUT site, but also to another Fletcher’s site (the Convention Centre, which was also experiencing a similar issue), all in a shorter turn-around time than what they often experienced when sourcing product across Auckland. Karl had initially been concerned about INTAKS’ ability to deliver within short timeframes. But for INTAKS, being located outside of Auckland was not an issue, due to their strong relationship with their manufacturing and freight partners.
Overall, the INTAKS team were great to work with. They believe in their product and their customers. They listened to concerns, took feedback on board, and delivered a solution in a time frame that was better than expected.
Would Karl recommend the INTAKS system to others? Yes, definitely, and he would use the INTAKS system again for those complex projects, where time constraints, project costs and safety are key factors in the project’s successful outcome.