Collaboration with consultants ensures effective solutions

30th June 2023 By: Nadine Ramdass - Creamer Media Writer

Collaboration with consultants ensures effective solutions

SAFETY FIRST The emergency response team works swiftly and effectively to mitigate unsafe conditions

Demolition contractor Jet Demolition’s emergency response team works with consulting engineers to support clients as swiftly and as effectively as possible in demolition projects. This collaborative approach ensures that the most effective, practical solutions are explored and implemented.

In an emergency response situation, the aim is to limit the opportunity for escalation. The company assesses the risk, draws on the competence, skill and experience of the team, and consults with all relevant stakeholders. It proceeds with extreme caution and regroups where necessary.

“Our teams establish the necessary resources to rapidly, and as safely as practically possible, support our client in their most challenging times. Emergency response situations are unique and dependent on the required outcome,” explains Jet Demolition contracts and project manager Kate Bester.

“For example, a partially collapsed structure within an operational industrial facility may require an immediate in-person response by an operations manager and structural engineer, who will then join the client’s emergency response team to assess the structure and develop an appropriate approach,” she elaborates.

In other cases, the most appropriate response would be to mobilise heavy equipment before any mitigating works can start.

Jet Demolition liaises with clients to develop the appropriate plan and then mobilises accordingly.

The company’s teams are adaptable and amend its methodology as work progresses to ensure that the entire process is efficiently completed. Thus, change management forms a major part of an emergency response.

“We ensure that our client and stakeholders are fully briefed prior to the works commencing, explaining that change and adaptation might be necessary in the interest of safety,” adds Bester.

Therefore, Jet Demolition has several personnel who have worked in the contracting and consulting fields, as well as civil engineering and construction.

“This approach has assisted clients in completing projects safely, on time and within budget, and has strengthened our relationships far beyond the demolition industry.”

The construction industry offers many opportunities for collaboration between consultants and contractors, says Bester, adding that these opportunities are often not fully explored, resulting in contractual disagreements and a disjointed and misaligned approach to the works.

Further, projects that do not follow a collaborative and engaging approach to their overall management display signs of distress early on.

These signs include budgets being exceeded, and contractual claims becoming increasingly prevalent in meetings, resulting in parties’ resorting to defending their opinions as opposed to finding practical and effective solutions, she adds.

Bester says these challenges illustrate the importance of adopting a collaborative approach to large-scale projects.

She credits her experience in the consulting and contracting space as being instrumental in broadening her understanding of the construction and demolition industry, and resulting in her following a more collaborative approach when managing projects.

“At the most fundamental level, there is a much deeper and more comprehensive understanding of what the other party is facing when one has spent time in their shoes,” she says.

Consequently, the approach to challenges shifts from being defensive to cooperative, which, in turn, creates more open and effective communication, enabling project managers, design engineers, resident engineers and other stakeholders to quickly assess and address issues as they arise.

As a result, projects benefit from reduced overall project costs, fewer claims and more realistic project timelines, adds Bester.

Ongoing Development
Jet Demolition believes that the best way to prepare for an emergency is to hone skills.

Owing to the nature of the company’s work, employees have the opportunity to learn something new every day and improve their skills levels.

“Under duress and distress, clients need to . . . rely on a team that can work cohesively, calmly and with full consideration of all contributing factors,” says Bester.

The company also prioritises adaptability. Therefore, personnel rarely remain within a fixed team for an extended time. The company also standardises its in-house processes, procedures and ways of working so that teams can function cohesively and intuitively, even when shuffled.

This allows for a rapid response to an emergency situation without a team relying on a person who might already have been deployed to a remote site.

Bester says technological advances, such as specialised tools and equipment, play a significant role in contributing to the success of a project and the safety of personnel.

However, skills and experience are what really drives the work to be done. Being able to anticipate how a stressed structure will react often depends on years of experience and competence, she concludes.