Collaborative innovation: SCS Railways partners Conquip
Through close collaboration between Conquip and SCS Railways, an innovative lifting solution was developed for the HS2 high-speed rail project. This platform, designed for both working and access within tunnel shafts, was engineered to address the project-specific requirements for HS2’s ventilation shaft sites. Its potential extends to numerous infrastructure projects, promoting safer working at height practices while reducing costs and inefficiencies.
Ventilation shaft access: The underlying need
The teams were tasked with accessing five ventilation shafts to undertake essential waterproofing works integral to shaft construction. With shaft depths spanning from 30 to 60 metres and diameters fluctuating between 15 to 25 metres, traditional methods such as scaffolding or hoist access would prove not only inefficient but also considerably costly. This need for a secure, efficient, and economically viable solution prompted the SCS Railways team to engage with Conquip’s in-house lifting experts.
Precision engineering: Introducing the Conquip access platform
After site visits and comprehensive workshop sessions with the lifting and site teams from SCS Railways, the engineering team identified key requirements for access and working. The focus was on understanding the nuances of the waterproofing works application and ensuring the solution adhered to all relevant regulations.
Key specifications and features include:
- Retractable roof: Enables material loading with a crane during the working shift without necessitating platform removal from the shaft.
- A-Frame for waterproofing membrane: Adapts to various waterproofing membrane roll sizes, facilitating straightforward installation.
- Pneumatic wheels: Serve as a control point to avert water lining damage and mitigate risk for personnel on the platform.
- Additional design features: All other specifications were designed to meet the Working at Height Regulations 2005 and LOLER (Lifting Operations and Lifting Equipment Regulations 1998). For example, the inclusion of suitably rated harness points incorporated both in the roof and around the platform’s sides.
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On-site advantages: The platform in action
The Access Platform was seamlessly integrated across the HS2 project’s ventilation shaft sites, offering a solution for both man riding and waterproofing tasks.
Notable advantages include:
- Efficiency: As a temporary platform, it allows for swift adjustments to the working height within the shaft, ensuring workers remain secure within a fully enclosed area.
- Safety: Features such as strategically positioned handrails and a shoot bolt for door security underscore the platform’s commitment to personnel safety.
- Cost-effectiveness: The platform negates the need for scaffolding and other temporary works, leading to substantial cost savings.
- Versatility: The platform’s adaptive design caters to diverse shaft diameters and profiles, marking it as an ideal choice for a range of tunnelling shaft construction endeavours.
A new standard: Elevating lifting solutions
The collaboration between Conquip and SCS Railways on the HS2 project has resulted in a solution that adeptly addresses the distinct challenges of shaft access and work. This bespoke platform could be used extensively across shaft work and indicates a new standard in relation to personnel lifting solutions, with its attention-to-detail around safety, efficiency, and compliance.