Service Strikes

Service strikes pose an obvious risk to construction and utility workers, but did you know that they also pose a risk to project completion and cause additional monetary costs. On top of that, they may also have a negative impact on your customers, on-site contractors and your company’s reputation. 

Here at PIER (UK), we have taken a closer look into the potential cost implications and have further investigated the costs of alternative excavation methods. 

In accordance with www.legislation.gov.uk, under The Construction (Design and Management) Regulations 2007, service strikes can be avoided by ensuring the rules are precisely followed. 

The following section is taken from the legisation.go.uk website. 

Energy Distribution Installations

34. (1) Where necessary to prevent danger, energy distribution installations shall be suitably located, checked and clearly indicated. 

(2) Where there is a risk from electric power cables – 

(a) they shall be directed away from the area of risk, or 

(b) the power shall be isolated and where necessary, unearthed; or

(c) if it is not reasonably practicable to comply with paragraph (a) or (b), suitable warning notices and 

(i) barriers suitable for excluding work equipment, which is not needed, or 

(ii) where vehicles need to pass beneath the cables, suspended protections or

(iii) in either case, measures providing an equivalent level of safety, shall be provided or (in the case of measures) taken.

(3) No construction work which is liable to create a risk to Health and Safety from an underground service, or from damage to or disturbance of it, shall be carried out unless suitable and sufficient steps (including any steps required by this regulation) have been taken to prevent such risk, so far as is reasonably practicable.

Service Strikes

The main risk factors of service strikes are time, investigation and repair costs, reputational damage and most importantly, the safety of all personnel on-site.

The on-site manager will need to fully assess the impact that the delay will likely have on the project and should consider the following questions: 

  • Could service strikes cause injury to those on-site? 
  • Will the incident have consequences on the customers’ opinion of your business and your technical abilities? 
  • Will any unplanned costings cause you to go over your project budget? If so, would this have an overall effect on your project margin? 
  • Will any further on-site activities be delayed, as a result of the service strikes? 
  • What additional costs need to be implemented in order to repair the damage?
  • Will the contractors need to be rebooked at a later date and if so, will they be available? 
  • Will the service strikes have an effect on the final completion date?
What options do you have? 

In order to avoid any service strikes, the alternative to a mechanical excavation are either hand excavation (spades, shovels etc) or Vacuum Excavation, however, the former does not fully remove the risk of a strike. 

But what are the cost comparisons of the two? 

  Vacuum Excavation Manual Excavation
Amount Excavated per day* 25m3 2m3
Average cost per day** £1,050.00 £150.00
Cost per cubic metre £42.00 £75.00
*depending on material
** with a single operator
Why choose Vacuum Excavation over the more traditional methods? 

Vacuum Excavation is a modern excavation technique that has become the preferred method of excavation for hundreds of construction, civils and utilities companies. A Vacuum Excavator is a high-powered truck, with its own extendable suction arm that is used to expose the underground buried services quickly and safely. 

With the use of the remote-control capabilities, our operator is able to excavate the ground quickly, efficiently and safely without the need for any manual digging. The debris is then deposited into an inbuilt chamber in the body of the Vacuum Excavator. 

Vacuum Excavation has many safety benefits, with the main two being: 

  • Reduced Manual Operation: With its extended reach and attachments, our Vacuum Excavator equipment means that even the hardest to reach services do not require manual digging. The remote-control operator ensures that the work is carried out at a safe distance, with minimal hand vibrations and risk to our employees. 
  • A Cleaner Excavation: The dust captured inside the tank, 42 air filters and less rubble build-up ensures that there is a safe working environment for all the on-site workers. 

As industry leaders in Vacuum Excavation, PIER (UK) operate the largest fleet of Vacuum Excavators in the UK and have 12 years’ Vacuum Excavation experience, assisting construction and utility companies across a diverse range of projects.

You can contact our team or on 01925 228 674. Alternatively, you can view our latest projects on our social media platforms: Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter