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Design Initiative For Costain Safety

30 March 2011

One of the best methods of eliminating potential safety hazards is to design them out from the very inception of a project.

With that in mind, ‘safety in design’ is one of Costain’s major SHE targets this year. And one way of helping deliver that is the special course developed by the Company and being run at the Construction Industry College, at Bircham Newton, in Norfolk.

The five-day temporary works design course was shared with permanent works designers to give them the opportunity to learn about temporary works and construction method design, a subject not usually part of their training, explains Costain Group Technical Director, Bill Hewlett.

To help increase the scope of the course, engineers from Costain’s partnered design consultancies – Arup, Büro Happold, Atkins and MWH joined their counterparts from within the Company for the event.

Designers of permanent and temporary works tend to go about their jobs in different ways. Permanent works are sometimes ‘wished into place’ and there is a need for better communication and early contractor engagement to ensure safety, health and environmental risks are mitigated; it is important also that everyone on site understands how the residual risks will be managed to ensure safety, says Hewlett.

“How do you get the right things in the right place at the right time? You have to design that process. You have to be thinking about the process of how something is built.”

Involving the external design consultancies reflects current thinking in supply chain management, where the trend is to have fewer, but closer relationships with suppliers: “We’re trying to develop that kind of relationship with our design consultants,” explains Hewlett. He believes it is the first time external consultants and their Costain counterparts have got together for this type of training exercise.