Is innovation the key to survival for contractors during these extraordinary times? Roadmender Asphalt argues that its solutions can improve on site processes.
When it comes to change, the UK construction industry has hitherto been a slow-moving creature, with certain working practices deeply ingrained in organisations, but Covid-19 could well be the catalyst for change. With disruptive social distancing procedures likely to remain in place for some time yet, project managers will need to specify equipment that can facilitate this new health and safety regime with no detriment to the finished installation.
Repairs to our road network will, of course, remain essential, regardless of the pandemic and one company that’s highlighting a potential solution under the hashtag #OneManPerVan is Sheffield-based Roadmender Asphalt. The company sells and rents out mini asphalt hot box reclaimers that can be operated as part of a single man operation.
Hotbox Reclaimers are lightweight machines that can be mounted on either trucks or trailers, and are designed to reclaim supplies of leftover or stockpiled asphalt wherever and whenever it’s needed. With multiple asphalt plants being forced to shut down to protect the safety of their workers, Roadmender Hotbox Reclaimers not only provide contractors with a simple way to make their own asphalt, but they can also be used as part of a single man operation ensuring smaller emergency repairs are still dealt with in a timely manner.
Harry Pearl, CEO at Roadmender Asphalt, comments: “While normally it’s always safer for workers to go out in at least groups of two, but in the current environment it just doesn’t make sense for multiple workers to all pile into the same van together no matter how willing to carry out their work they are. With small Hotbox Reclaimers, workers can make their own asphalt and carry out smaller emergency repairs in effective isolation where if larger quantities of material are needed, two vehicles can go out while still maintaining a one man per van policy.”
The innovations don’t stop there, however, because Roadmender is also pioneering a new breed of road repair materials that it claims are greener, faster to install and less expensive than traditional asphalt.
Unlike traditional methods that require pot holes to be cut out and refilled with asphalt, which is timely and expensive, the new rubberised repair material known as Elastomac is poured in as a hot liquid that forms to the shape of the hole, and welds itself the existing road. The benefit of this process is that where traditional repairs often fail when water penetrates through the edge of a repair and then freezes, Elastomac, which contains around seven end of life waste tyres melted into every ton, is applied as a molten liquid that fills and then forms a flexible waterproof membrane over the pot holes, covering the edges and locking out any potential for the ingress of water.
“Having been through 10 years of austerity, Councils have naturally gravitated towards innovation as the only viable way to safeguard their road assets,” explains Harry. “As part of this they have set up knowledge sharing hubs and innovation funding initiatives that encourage the development of new materials and working methods aimed at driving down costs and improving efficiency. Roadmender Elastomac is a by-product of this drive for innovation that’s ultimately led to the creation of a new road repair system that is faster, less expensive, uses 90 per cent less virgin material than traditional repairs, and has the ability to recycle hundreds of thousands of waste tyres a year in the process.
From a health perspective, the use of these new flowable reinstatement materials also eliminates any hand arm vibration and airborne dust issues traditionally caused by saw cutting and jack hammering out pot holes.”
As a result of the Coronavirus outbreak, the Government’s own Office for Budget Responsibility has forecast the grim reality that the UK economy may shrink by a staggering 35 per cent. In that context, it is the companies that are willing to embrace new materials and ways of working that will lead the recovery. Roadmender has worked extensively with councils and utility contractors across an array of projects during this time of crisis, and it believes that its machinery and products can improve productivity and ease tensions on supply chains.
For further information on Roadmender click here
Watch a video of Roadmender’s Hot Box Reclaimers in use on site