The Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea
1 September 2012
Strolling down Exhibition Road from South Kensington to Hyde Park, past landmarks such as the Natural History Museum, the Royal Albert Hall and the Science Museum, you can understand why diversity is key to the area, not just by these notable landmarks but also by the people and the varying requirements made on it.
Balfour Beatty Regional Civil Engineering (BBRCE) has been commissioned to reconstruct this public thoroughfare to create an outdoor space that better accommodates the needs of both pedestrians and transport, and also reflects the history and importance of this street. It intends to create a kerb-free single surface with large pedestrian areas, more cycle parking provisions and high-quality street lighting.
The high-profile project, which is worth approximately £25 million, is supported by Transport for London, the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, the City of Westminster and it also sees an interest from the Mayor of London.
The area has over 11.5 million visitors each year – the queues of people who come to visit the historic buildings, the students who access the Royal College of Music and other places of learning, and all those who simply pass through the street on a daily basis.
BBRCE is committed to keeping Exhibition Road open to traffic flow and pedestrians throughout the 117-week project while at the same time being committed to the safety of its workers and the safety of the public, as highlighted in its Zero Harm* policy.
To provide a safer system between the site, pedestrians and vehicles, BBRCE’s Project Manager Ian Downie made the decision to replace the usual vehicle restraint system with Asset International’s Multi Application Safety System (M.A.S.S.). With high-visibility interlocking base units, and the M.A.S.S. Siteguard anti-climb, galvanised mesh fencing slotting in on top of each unit, it offers high security for the site, workers and equipment.
As Ian explains: “This vehicle restraint system is great for this particular project and the site is safer for all. It is easy to erect, needing no heavy lifting vehicles and equipment to install, so there is no major disruption to the public and site workers on the street; it just needs a bit of manpower to set it up.” “It locks together securely, and with a sturdy base it means that workers and the public have no way of taking any unplanned routes, either across the site or by opening another entrance to cross the street or enter the site. The system also looks the part; the red and white base units provide a clear indication of the barrier from a distance and they also provide no trip hazards when locked together due to the design, colour and the fact that it is not easily damaged.”
Due to the length of time the Exhibition Road project will take, the M.A.S.S. system has been bought rather than rented. ASSET M.A.S.S. provides a robust solution that has a long shelf life and so it is cost-effective to buy the system.
Ian concludes: “The system will stand the test of time. In the past, conventional systems such as plastic barriers have been used, which end up not only looking tatty but also having been used and moved around on-site, often becoming damaged and therefore not fully functional.
In choosing ASSET M.A.S.S. for this project and site, BBRCE is building in a Zero Harm solution for safer construction, maintenance and use, and the company is showing its commitment to risk elimination by providing a safer system and higher safety standards. Achieving Zero Harm will help ensure that in a global market, where customers view safety as a decisive factor, Balfour Beatty will be at the forefront.”
* The Balfour Beatty Group is aiming to achieve an industry-leading safety record of zero deaths among employees, as well as zero deaths and injuries to the public throughout the entire group by 2012.