Construction, News

Costain deploy PODFather Earthworks on National Grid’s London Power Tunnels Project

PODFather has signed a deal with Costain Group PLC, one of the UK’s leading engineering companies, for the supply of the specialist PODFather Earthworks system.

Costain is deploying the PODFather Earthworks system on the 32km London Power Tunnels (LPT) tunnelling contract, awarded by National Grid. The project involves the construction of three deep cable tunnels which will help ensure Londoners continue to enjoy safe and reliable electricity supplies. The tunnelling works are due to be complete by the end of 2014, and all associated work complete by November 2018.

Around 90% of the ground through which the tunnels are being dug is London clay, the ideal material for tunnelling due to its stability and ease of cutting. The material is being removed from the tunnel shaft heads by road, using a number of contracted road haulage companies specialising in the transport of construction waste material.

Andy Firth, Construction Manager for Costain, comments, “We selected the PODFather Earthworks solution because we wanted to automate the production and management of waste collection notes. There is a huge amount of material being produced at LPT and it’s vital we can trace every load. Collating reports from paper tickets would have been extremely time consuming and prone to human errors as information is copied from tickets into various different systems.”

The PODFather Earthworks provides a real-time ticketing system which tracks each load of waste material from the various shaft heads using rugged mobile handhelds and printers. The system automates the production, archiving, and management reporting of the collection and delivery paperwork.

Contracted vehicles permitted to work on the various LPT sites are issued with a vehicle barcode which is scanned when loaded, using a rugged Datalogic Elf handheld running the PODFather Earthworks software. The site and material details are confirmed before the system prints a uniquely barcoded conveyance note which is issued to the driver, thus ensuring that Duty of Care requirements are met for transport of construction materials.

An electronic version of the tickets is received real-time into a central ticket database, where it is permanently archived and accessible online by Costain office and site staff. A reporting system is included which allows Costain to analyse the data according to site, material types, haulier and vehicle utilisation.

Firth concludes, “The system has proved easy to use for staff on site, and knowing it has been developed and deployed at other nationally significant infrastructure projects gave us the confidence to deploy it on LPT in a very short time frame.”