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Date: May - August 2021

Client: Kier Highways

Value: £450,000

Form of contract: NEC 4 term Service Subcontract Option A

Brief Description of Works

The replacement of footpaths along Shenley Fields Road in Weoley Castle Birmingham on behalf of Kier Highways working for Birmingham City Council through it’s contract with Birmingham Highway Ltd. Over 4000 sqm of footpaths were replaced including over 1500 linm of edgings to modern day standards.

Contract/Client Relationships

The scheme was completed within the agreed 16 week construction period utilising the company’s experienced workforce and plant under the supervision of both our own site management together with Kier’s site representatives, the Arcadis design supervisor and BHL’s overseeing organisation.

Constraints and Challenges

The main challenges encountered on this scheme included working along a busy residential road lined with private houses. Permanent access had to be maintained at all times for the residents and any emergency vehicles. Driveway access to individual properties required special attention to mitigate any possible disruption to householders. Hence the excavation and subsequent reinstatement of surfaces were carefully managed by engaging with the property owners on a day to day basis. The method of working agreed aimed to offer a safe surface for users at the end of each working day and especially at weekends. It was noted that not a single complaint was received throughout the contract period to the credit of the site team.

During the construction phase of the contract for Birmingham City Council it became apparent that constructing new footpaths along a tree lined road would necessitate a change to standard footpath construction details. The local authority arboriculturist highlighted the possibility that the sixty year old trees would need to be protected from damage caused by the construction works and that the type of construction proposed for the footpaths should take account of adverse impact on the root systems of the trees going forward.

Our previous experience of working in the vicinity of existing trees and associated root systems enabled us to propose carrying out the works utilising a “no dig” approach within the vicinity of the trees. This technique involved careful removal of top soil by hand and installing a free draining specialist surfacing material called ‘KBI Flexipave’. The material is made from recycled rubber crumb mixed with light bitumen to form a flexible surface course. The advantage of this material is that tree roots continue to be watered freely upon rainfall and the surface can move to accommodate root expansion as the tree continues to grow. Furthermore the surface course is very similar to standard footpath materials and therefore blends in with them satisfactorily.

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