Combining Speed and Safety at Install

There is a common misconception that speed isn’t compatible with safety on the construction site, particularly during install. Although that might be true in its simplest form, there are steps that we can all make to ensure safety as well as efficiency.

There are several things that make safety and efficiency possible and the results are a culmination of many factors developed over the years. It stems from the drive to improve every part of a process or product in small increments, from delivery to installation. We need to regularly ask ourselves what we can do differently, better and safer to refine the process.

Small improvements add up

If there are ten steps to fit a balcony, for instance, and you can safely reduce that time by a minute each step, it means it takes ten minutes less to install a balcony and over the whole scheme could save you precious hours.

This all depends on every safety issue being looked at and refined before the work starts onsite. The limiting factors here may be crane time, logistics and timing of offsite manufacturing, but collaboration and shared information throughout design and installation can improve these factors to achieve an efficiently run construction site.

Install preparation and review

The speed on the day comes from making sure all preparation has been done. Everyone needs to buy into the proposed way of working, know what their role is and be ready to follow the agreed approach in collaboration with others. This makes the installation process the easiest part of the project.

After installation, reviewing any issues and mistakes is also important. It makes sure that they are made are part of the learning process to ensure the next project is improved upon.

These principles apply to any onsite construction workstream. For balconies, it means you know when a product comes to site, what drawings installers need and the logistics that are required for smooth and speedy installation. Ensuring you have done the work before the installation goes ahead means you can have safety and speed.

The example of 2020/21

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the industry was forced to slow its operations considerably with some sites stopping altogether for a time. However, significant changes were made to how we access and move around sites and the welfare facilities that were provided. After the initial few weeks of adjustment, however, efficient and safe sites were back up and running. As is true in most industries, as soon as everyone was aware of their responsibilities, systems and processes were back up to speed with all the allowances put in place without compromising on safety.

When we start with safety first, we can look at the process at the preparation stage and focus on the parameters we have to work within, no one has to ever cut corners to get a job done quickly and efficiently.

This article is based on an interview with Brian Hooper, Managing Director at Dantaag. Dantaag is a Sapphire Accredited installer having achieved the highest standards in safety and completing rigorous training requirements.