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Green Innovation For London Power

Team Seeks Low-Carbon Supply Chain

15 June 2012

A new system deployed on Costain’s London Power Tunnels (LPT) sites is simultaneously helping ensure the Company’s green responsibilities are met while making life easier for site teams.

The teams are creating 32km of new deep cable tunnels on behalf of National Grid under the streets of the capital to ensure its population continues to enjoy safe and reliable electricity supplies for years into the future.  Two tunnelling machines, four metres and three metres in diameter, are cutting around 20 metres a day, predominantly through London clay.

With 1300 tonnes of spoil being trucked off the sites every day, it is essential to keep track of where it ends up.

Previously a paper-based system was used, but collating paper delivery tickets was becoming increasingly time-consuming as well as being liable to human error, especially with multiple road haulage companies involved in moving the spoil.

To resolve the problem, the PODfather Earthworks system was introduced. A rugged handheld device is used to scan a barcode on trucks as they arrive empty at the tunnelling sites.  The vehicles are rescanned as they leave laden with spoil. Site and load details are printed as a uniquely barcoded conveyance note that is handed to the driver and automatically recorded and uploaded to a central database.

The barcode is re-scanned when the truck arrives at its destination, creating an electronic ‘paper trail’ and fulfilling Costain’s duty of care requirements for the transportation of construction materials.

Ease of use, robust information management and virtual elimination of errors are among the advantages of PODfather over the traditional paper system, said Environmental Manager Daniel Sweeney: “It’s very, very popular with the site teams.”

Much of the spoil is being re-used on a variety of National Grid sites for tasks such as decommissioning gasholders, remedial works and capping landfills.