Author Archives: Kathy McCracken

NEW ROAD INDUSTRY CODE OF PRACTICE FOR ROAD IRONWORK SYSTEMS INSTALLATION AND REFURBISHMENT

A new industry Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment has been published by the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). It forwards industry best practice and has been peer reviewed and endorsed by Highways England and ADEPT.

The Code provides practical guidance on how to avoid early life failure, how to achieve a high quality installation and ensure a high quality repair. It covers installation and refurbishment of ironwork systems including gulley tops and chamber covers. The Code cross references HA104/09 Chamber Tops and Gulley Tops for Road Drainage and Services: Installation and Maintenance in the Design Manual for Roads and Bridges. It also cross references the Specification for Reinstatement of Openings in Highways (SROH).

The Code aims to increase the average service life of ironwork installations and refurbishments by illustrating a ‘right first time’ approach using appropriate materials and good design, which when combined offer lowest whole life cost. Currently the service life expectation and specification guidance for the installation and refurbishment of ironwork varies greatly from location-to-location and between clients. Furthermore, guidance often covers products and components in isolation. The Code considers all aspects of installation and maintenance, including potential areas for failure. It consolidates existing industry experience into one document offering comprehensive industry best practice. Particular advice is given for brickwork supporting the frame and cover, bedding mortar selection and backfill selection around the ironwork installation plus surfacing and over-banding around the ironwork installation.

The health and safety, environment, training and quality assurance responsibilities of client and contractor are also set out by the code. It also provides guidance on site planning, programming, co-ordination and traffic management. A useful inclusion is the pre-contract, on-site and post-contract check-lists. Copies of the Code of Practice for Ironwork Systems Installation and Refurbishment may be downloaded from the RSTA website: www.rsta-uk.org/publications

 

26% OF ‘A’ ROADS NEED SKID RESISTANCE CHECKED

A quarter of A-roads in England may be unsafe to drive on according to figures from the Department for Transport (DfT).

The DfT’s latest Road Conditions Statistics reports on the skidding resistance of trunk roads in England from 2007/08 to 2015/16. It found that the poor surface condition of 26% of A-roads required ‘further investigation’ of possible inadequate skid resistance. This is the highest level since 2007/08 and is indicative of the continued deterioration of the road network due to decades of under investment in road maintenance.

The deterioration of the trunk road network looks set to continue as a recent Freedom of Information request for forecasts of the miles of trunk roads to be resurfaced in 2017/18 cited that just 994 miles of the 5,300 mile network is to be resurfaced. This compares to 1,471 miles in 2015/16.

“Over time the road surface becomes worn and polished. This lessens the road’s skid resistance. For good road safety it is essential that the road’s texture is maintained on a regular basis in order to ensure skid resistance,” explained Howard Robinson, Chief Executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

There is a wide range of surface treatments to choose from that restores a road’s skid resistance. This includes surface dressing, high friction surfacing, slurry-micro surfacing, and re-texturing. All provide cost-efficient skid resistant solutions.

“The road surface sector has developed a number of skid resistance surface techniques for a wide range of road applications. All are able to ensure that roads are safe to drive on,” said Robinson.

ROAD MAINTENANCE SAFETY HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT AWARDS ANNOUNCED

The winners of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) 2017 Safety Health and Environment Awards have been announced.

The awards recognise health and safety best practice and environmental innovation for one of the most dangerous work spaces: live roads. The four categories include Health and Safety Innovation, Workforce Involvement, Behavioural Safety and Environmental Innovation. They were judged by Ray Cooke, head of construction safety unit at the Health and Safety Executive, and sponsored by Nynas Bitumen.

First prize for Health and Safety Innovation went to Multihog UK Limited for the development of its Multihog machine. The fixture of a road planer attachment, development of front and rear sweeper attachments together with a 400 litre water tank for dust suppression has resulted in an innovative multi-purpose road repair machine that removes worker exposure to hand arm vibration syndrome, suppresses on-site dust and reduces noise levels to 82dBa compared to readings of 109dBa for traditional jackhammer methods. In addition, the machine offers significant productivity and efficiency savings. Of the developed and enhanced machine, Howard Robinson, RSTA Chief Executive said: “Multihog have shown how to reinvent traditional methods of surface treatment into something that is innovative and superior offering a win:win of both health and safety benefits plus productivity gains.”

Second prize for the Health and Safety Innovation category was awarded to Asphalt Grid Systems for its improvements to the loading and unloading of asphalt geosynthetic materials, some of which can weight up to 130kgs each, to reduce the potential hazard of back and arm injuries.

WJ Products Limited won first prize for the Workforce Involvement category. To encourage a culture of safety and best practice, WJ products have implemented a sos@wj.uk email system to capture site incidents and practice information. The system recognises that the most qualified group of people able to identify and advise of safety improvement opportunities is the workforce who actually carry out the day-to-day operations. Such close involvement of the workforce has seen ongoing improvements in the company’s WJ Guardian system for road stud installation which has resulted in a 100% elimination of operative injuries whilst installing road studs, and a further 20% reduction of overall accident/incident rates. Above all, there has been the establishment of a culture of individual responsibility which has led to improved teamwork. “WJ Products are to be congratulated on their realisation of a company’s most important resource: the experience and input of its workforce,” said Robinson.

Eurovia Specialist Treatments was awarded second prize in this category for its programme to improve communications and engagement with its transient workers via regular team site Meetings, team site briefings and safety tours. This has seen a significant improvement in the company’s overall health and safety culture.

The Behavioural Safety category was won by LKAB Minerals Ltd. The company recognized that it is the behaviour of the workforce that determines whether or not injuries occur. With this in mind, LKAB introduced Visible Felt Leadership techniques to its sites. Trained personnel undertake ‘safety walks’ of sites to review the health and safety issues, discuss potential hazards and solutions with operatives and encourage commitment to safer working. Since the introduction of the safety walks the number of harm incidents has reduced by over 70%. There has been an increased openness which has seen the visitors undertaking the walks being actively welcomed and approached as operatives feel encouraged to provide feedback. “LKAB Minerals have implemented a culture of empowerment and openness that encourages the workforce to identify the potential problem and to propose the answer. To install such behaviour is key if accidents are to be prevented”, said Robinson.

Second prize for Behavioural Safety went to Tayside Contracts for its novel Safety and Health Awareness Day held as an enacted trial in a real court, the No. 1 Courtroom, Perth. Complete with defendant, legal team and jury the enactment demonstrated the potential legal ramifications and underlined the message that prevention is better than cure.

WJ Products Limited won a further first prize for winning the Environmental Innovation category for its innovation to reduce omissions. The development of a 3-boiler bank for placing white, yellow and red road markings reduces the need for two separate site visits. This effectively reduces vehicle movements, and the corresponding CO2 and particle emissions, by 50%. Eliminating the need for a second site visit also increases productivity and reduces the on-site work-related road risk.  Robinson commented: “Poor urban air quality is becoming a major issue. This simple yet effective innovation has seen WJ Products cut its on-site emissions by half.”

Kiely Brothers and Total Bitumen were awarded second prize for their joint initiative to reduce the potential for accidental spraying or spillage of bitumen emulsion when it is transferred from tankers to sprayers. Their ‘Safe Transfer of Emulsion’ passport scheme saw the development and implementation of a new set of delivery rules that has resulted in zero spill incidents.

“The welfare of workers and of the environment are paramount considerations. The RSTA awards celebrate the ongoing programmes of improvement being implemented by the road surface sector to ensure that its workforce is safe and that its impact on the environment is managed and reduced”, said Robinson. “The RSTA members who have been recognized by these awards are to be congratulated for their ability to think ‘outside the box’ to deliver initiatives that really work and for their willingness to share their developments for the good of the sector as a whole.”

CHANCELLOR FOLLOWS ROAD MAINTENANCE FAILURE OF HIS PREDECESSORS

“In his Spring Budget Philip Hammond, has failed to address the decades of under-investment in road maintenance,” said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA). “His budget has no recognition that a well- maintained and efficient local road network supports the national economy. Instead we have a local road network that is increasingly Third World.”

RSTA has renewed its support of the calls by the Local Government Association to address the decades of under-investment in the local road network by injecting a further £1 billion a year into roads maintenance. The additional funding could be found by investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty without any need to increase fuel duty rates.

The Chancellor announced £690m funding competition for local authorities to tackle congestion and to get local transport networks moving. “Some highway authorities have seen a 50% reduction in their road maintenance budgets. It is a pity that they will have to spend precious resources on competing for funding,” said Robinson.

Although the Department for Transport did announce in January 2017 funding of £1.2 billion for English local roads for the period 2017-18. That does not address the staggering £12 billion necessary to address the current backlog of repairs and potholes and bring the road network up to an acceptable standard.

The £1.2 billion funding includes £210 million from the National Productivity Investment Fund as announced in the 2016 Autumn Statement, £801 million Local Highways Maintenance Funding – Needs Element, £70 million from the Pothole Action fund, £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Challenge Fund where local highway authorities have to compete for funding and a further £75 million from the Highways Maintenance Incentive Element which requires completion of a self-assessment questionnaire ‘in order to reward those who demonstrate they truly understand the value of their asset’.

“It is disappointing that the Chancellor fails to appreciate the social and economic benefits of a well-maintained local road network,” said Robinson. “We note that that from 1 April 2017 vehicle excise duty rates for cars, vans and motorcycles registered before April 2017 will increase by Retail Prices Index (RPI) while VED for HGVs and the Road User Levy rates will be frozen. We call upon the Chancellor to consider channelling the funds from the VED rate increase towards road maintenance.”

CSCS Cards with Industry Accreditation

CSCS, under the direction of the Construction Leadership Council, will be removing the Industry Accreditation “IA” (AKA Grandfather Rights) category for CSCS cards.

This route has been closed to new operatives since 2010 but those historically holding their CSCS cards with IA have been able to renew as normal.

This route will be closing and the card holder will need to achieve the appropriate qualification for their role.

There is no confirmed date for this and so for now those holding CSCS cards through IA will be able to renew, but need to be aware that this will change in the near future.

Further information can be found at https://www.cscs.uk.com/news/industry-accreditation/

PETITION GOVERNMENT FOR MORE SPENDING ON FIXING POTHOLES

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has set-up a parliamentary petition urging the government to invest an additional 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty to fix the plague of potholes afflicting the local road network.

The petition may be found at https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/183637

Decades of under investment in local road maintenance has resulted in a pothole bill of £12 billion. Despite this, lack of funding means that highway authorities are having to reduce their road maintenance budgets. Investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty would provide an extra £1 billion per year to address this.

“A further £1 billion annual investment would certainly help local authorities tackle the damage done by under-investment by successive governments,” argued Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive. “We urge all drivers to sign the petition so that Parliament will have to debate the issue of our potholed, deteriorating roads.” 100,000 signatures are required before the petition can be considered by Parliament.

 

 

 

 

NATIONAL POTHOLE DAY: THE VITAL STATISTICS

As part of National Pothole Day 2017, the Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) has published a compendium of facts and figures behind the UK’s deteriorating local road network together with a call for action to address the sorry state of affairs.

The 2016 statistics, pulled from a wide range of sources, underline the result of decades of under-investment in maintaining the UK’s most important infrastructure asset. According to the Annual Local Authority Road Maintenance Survey it would cost £11.8 billion and take 14 years to fix the current backlog of pothole repairs. The Local Government Association reports that the government plans to invest £1.1 million per mile of motorway and trunk road which accounts for just 3% of the total road network yet will spend only £27,000 per mile on local roads despite their making up 97% of the total road network and carrying two-thirds of all traffic. Meanwhile, motoring organisation RAC states that last year 31,483 compensation claims for vehicle damage were submitted against councils and the AA reports that 39% of its members’ vehicles have suffered from pothole damage.

“The evidence is there for all to see, and for tyres and axles to be damaged despite the best efforts of councils in repairing over 2 million potholes last year. The magnitude of the task due to decades of under-investment means that the local road network continues on its downward spiral”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive.

RSTA has called for a number of actions to address this continued deterioration. This includes government realising the need for proper levels of predicted, long-term maintenance funding that should be ring-fenced for local road spending and investing an additional annual £1 billion that come from providing an additional 2p from the existing fuel duty. In addition, all local highway authorities should sign up to best practice asset management to ensure that they have the most cost-effective maintenance approach and all road users should keep up the pressure by reporting all potholes that need repair.

“National Pothole Day is about focussing attention on the poor state of our local road network. The facts and figures compiled by RSTA underline how necessary that focus is”, said Robinson

‘Potholes: The Vital Statistics’ is available as a free download from www.rsta-uk.org

ROADS MAINTENANCE SECTOR BACKS CALLS FOR EXTRA £1 BILLION A YEAR

The Road Surface Treatments Association (RSTA) supports calls by the Local Government Association (LGA) to address the decades of under-investment in the local road network by injecting a further £1 billion a year into roads maintenance. The additional funding could be found by investing just 2p per litre of the existing fuel duty without any need to increase fuel duty rates.

LGA has made its call following analysis that shows the pothole repair bill could reach £14 billion within two years. The total amount needed to bring the country’s local road network up to a reasonable standard has been rising as the impact of under-investment is compounded by the demands of increase traffic growth. In 2012, is was estimated that £9.8 billion was needed to repair the pothole backlog. This rose to £11.8 billion in 2016. At this current rate is it predicted to rise to £14 billion by 2019.

The LGA points out that over the remaining years of the decade the Government will invest more than £1.1 million per mile in maintaining national roads – which make up just 3 per cent of all total roads. This level of investment contrasts starkly with the £27,000 per mile investment in maintaining local roads, which are controlled by councils and make up 97 per cent of England’s road network.

“The result is that routine road maintenance budgets have to be cut and the state of local roads will continue to deteriorate in comparison to the well-resourced national road network”, said Howard Robinson, RSTA chief executive.

He continued: Cash strapped local highway authorities are doing what they can and over the last year they have filled in over 2 million potholes. However, the lack of assured real long-term funding means that much of this is expensive reactive repair rather than cost-effective preventative maintenance that would have prevented the potholes from forming in the first place. This has long been the logical economic argument forwarded by the road maintenance industry. It costs only £2m2 to surface dress and maintain a road for 10 years but costs an average £57m2 to repair one pothole.

A further £1 billion annual investment would certainly help local authorities tackle the damage done by under-investment by successive governments.”

AUTUMN STATEMENT FAILS LOCAL ROAD NETWORKS – Response from the Road Surface Treatments Association

Chancellor Philip Hammond has failed to address the fundamental issue facing the UK’s transport infrastructure – there is little point in making significant investments in headline projects if the roads that connect them are potholed and crumbling away.

“Unfortunately, the Chancellor has today has shown the same lack of understanding as his predecessors. The £1.1 billion announced in today’s Autumn Statement for local transport networks will do little to address the decades of underinvestment in load road maintenance which has resulted in a £12 billion backlog of pothole repairs”, said Howard Robinson, chief executive of the Roads Surface Treatments Association (RSTA).

He continued: “The Chancellor makes much of the need to invest in infrastructure to prove that Britain is open for business. Yet over 90 per cent of our traffic is carried by a local road network that is simply not up to scratch. He has failed to understand that the local road network is the essential link to headline projects such as the Cambridge to Oxford expressway.

Investment in infrastructure may be summed up by the idiom ‘learn to walk before you run’. Invest in fundamental and essential road maintenance before you announce grand projects. Or do both.”