Enews - Issue 4 - Autumn 2011

Chairman's View

Rob GillespieA year of significant RSTA development

The Road Surface Treatments Association has seen significant growth in its levels of activity over the last year, right across all aspects of the organisation; from the driving of new guidance in the highway maintenance sector, to greater clarity on the technical value of our treatments and our training packages for industry practitioners. This is all geared to providing our clients with greater consistency of delivery, greater guarantee of first time success and zero remedial.

New Codes of Practice have been developed and published for: High Friction Surfacing; Retexturing; Surface Preservation Systems, and the Code of Practice for Surface Dressing has received new updates. This represents a great deal of work by the staff and members of the RSTA and is a huge contribution to the industries portfolio of guidance and technical knowledge on these important maintenance systems. In order for RSTA members to continue to improve quality and consistency across all the surface treatment options, it is imperative that clients, consultants and providers are all able to manage works from design to installation, in a consistent way and to a consistent standard. These RSTA Codes of Practice allow this to happen.

Following the last two winters when huge damage has been inflicted on our already vulnerable UK highways network, we are now seeing an increasing awareness of and emphasis on a preventative maintenance approach to asset management and surface treatments are rightly featuring highly in this. Working closely with ADEPT, RSTA members have taken part in a detailed study of treatment lives and the practicalities of our processes, resulting in the recent publication of a joint guidance document endorsed by the President of ADEPT. This work has been seen as immensely valuable for highways clients and other infrastructure owners, in planning the whole-life approach to pavement maintenance and in providing asset valuation information for Whole of Government Accounting – a major driver now in our industry for judging the quality of our assets and for correctly targeting the correct spend in the correct area for the correct outcome.

The emphasis on cost predictability over the long-term has also seen the RSTA endorse recent work by the Highway Term Maintenance Association (HTMA) and the publication of new price adjustment indices for the industry. These new mechanisms allow clients and providers to more accurately reflect the true nature of price fluctuations across the wider range of highway engineering materials and activities, an area that has been a huge problem for activities where the proportion of bitumen and other hydrocarbons is higher than traditional asphalt materials. This has been the case in particular for surface dressing and microsurfacing, however these new indices also allow more specialist processes and materials to be tracked through specific price fluctuation indicators recognised by central government, and in turn provides the industry with greater stability that can allow for more competitive pricing for packages of works, knowing that price fluctuations will be more practically managed. The RSTA fully supports this new initiative and hopes that new contract documents will incorporate the price adjustment indices.

Training and qualifications remain a key part of the RSTA’s activities to ensure right first time quality and improved long-term performance. The appointment of Clive Mitchell as Training Manager has seen rapid growth in this area. The RSTA of course has an accredited assessment centre for NVQ’s and this has been boosted significantly by Clive’s appointment and has seen the association attracting substantial funding from CSkills through the year to support our training activities and our members. This investment by RSTA in training and development and the recognition of CSkills for this work, demonstrates the commitment that the RSTA and its members continue to make to the development and safety of all employees in the surface treatments sector.

At the RSTA we hope to see the current trends towards effective asset maintenance continue. This will only happen with continued improvements in quality and longevity for our maintenance techniques. The work completed over the last year and more recently in 2011 will undoubtedly assist in developing this trend and supporting asset managers in making the right maintenance decisions – delivering the right first time solution.

Rob Gillespie
RSTA Chairman

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