Supervisors come out of the dark

Until now, however, machine operators and project surveyors have usually been the only personnel on the ground with ready access to design data and all the cut/fill information. Ironically, the earthworks supervisors, whose role it is to supervise machine operation, have had to work in the relative dark, often with no more than a few surveyor pegs to guide them on sites that are virtually pegless. The situation has been far from ideal.At Coopernook, construction contractor Thiess decided to address the problem by installing Trimble’s Site Supervisor System in nine supervisor vehicles over the project’s length.Paul Dunn is the earthworks superintendent for Zone A, at the south end of the project, where fill is being placed at 10,000 cubic metres per day. “On a job of this size I need to be constantly driving up and down, monitoring what’s going on, so I just leave the supervisors’ system switched on, and as I drive along I can see instantly how the levels are coming up,” he said.“That means I can keep an eye on the blokes using machine control, to make sure they’re getting the lift heights right, and I’m in a position to radio information regarding the levels to the guys whose machines aren’t fitted with machine control – all without getting out of the truck. There’s safety benefits in that too.”On the C2HC project the surveyors do not work on Saturdays, but Dunn said that he does not miss them at all and has managed very well without them for every one of the 17 Saturdays he has worked so far. Project foremen Darryl McLaughlin and Vince Mendes said that with so much design information available at their fingertips they no longer had to rely on surveyors in the planning stages of construction for jobs such as marking out limits of topsoil stripping, locating cut/fill lines, locating utilities and selecting the best locations for haul roads, site office infrastructure, stockpiles, temporary drains and sedimentation basins.Project survey manager Peter Lentz said teamwork onsite had improved because everyone now had similar knowledge.“Even the guys who can’t read a plan have that knowledge because the supervisors’ system gives them a visual grasp of what they’re trying to build,” he said. “As a result, we’re finding that our survey technicians are working much more closely with the leading hands, and the foremen are putting more trust in their leading hands to get things right. It’s working really well because now everyone’s on the same page.”Lentz said that apart from helping them with earthworks productivity and pre-construction planning, the system had provided some bonuses.“With leading hands, foremen and supervisors having access to so much more current information, they’ve now got the ability to plan their own work more effectively. That means they’re taking much greater pride in and ownership of their part of the project,” he said. C2HC Zone A earthworks superintendent Paul Dunn and site survey data coordinator Chris Mitchell with a Site Supervisor System-equipped Hilux.

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