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GSD Expansion Plan

15 June 2011

Costain’s Geotechnical Services Division (GSD) is further expanding its services as part of a 2011 expansion plan.

GSD has formed a new team specifically to focus on pavement investigations (road services) which has grown out of its increasing workload as a Managing Agent Contractor (MAC), maintaining trunk roads for the Highways Agency (HA).

Costain undertakes its MAC work as part of the A-one+ joint venture with Colas and Halcrow.

The move is in line with the Choosing Costain strategy, which seeks to widen the Group’s activities beyond construction to cover the full life of projects from initial consultancy to post-construction maintenance. Expanding its capabilities into new work streams is high among the priorities of GSD’s 2011 expansion plan.

Phil Parsons, Costain GSD General Manager, said: “We need to be able to respond to the market and with Costain being heavily involved with the MACs this has provided GSD with another opportunity to develop our services accordingly.

“Technical surveys for roads or structures construction form a big part of the MAC design service provided to the HA and moves GSD further into the consulting end of the work stream.”

“A new team of pavement engineers has been created to provide a report writing function to complement existing site-based skills. This enables GSD to provide a full suite of Pavement Investigation capabilities."

Pavement Investigation involves a technician conducting a visual condition survey to inspect the road surface, recording any cracks, fretting or loss of chips.

After this initial survey another team takes core samples bored out of the pavement. These are taken to the laboratory for classification of the road construction.

Before the core hole is reinstated, the coring team conducts a Dynamic Cone Penetration (DCP) test to calculate the strength of the sub-base and sub-grade material upon which the road is laid.

Once the survey, cores and DCP test have been undertaken, the information is collated, analysed and summarised into the final report by GSD’s pavement engineers. The report helps pavement designers to understand what is causing any deterioration of the carriageway and then evaluate to what extent the road needs repairing.

Julian Reece, GSD Senior Pavement Engineer, commented:  “These reports allow the HA to make informed decisions about the feasibility of potential schemes.”

Pavement investigations are currently being conducted on roads in several MAC areas, but there are already plans to expand the service to other MAC contracts and possibly the airports sector.

Marcus Goldstraw, Survey Manager MAC 10, said: “GSD is providing a service where the reports are formatted to allow easy transfer to the HA’s Pavement Management System, eliminating the need to double handle the information.”