Austin Winkley took pole position in this category, sponsored by wates group
Austin Winkley & Associates
Falls from height, as we all know, are the biggest cause of fatal and major injuries in the UK construction industry. But what we don’t always consider is that many such accidents occur during routine maintenance operations – that it is not just hazards during construction that must be designed out but those that could occur in the use of the building. On the spectacular St Giles Church in south London, architect Austin Winkley had to not only create a lighting scheme that was in keeping with Sir George Gilbert Scott’s Victorian design, but also provide a safe method of cleaning and maintenance in the future. Its solution was an elegant and innovative hanging light fitting, each of which comprises four directable spotlights in a square frame that is normally 9.6 m above floor level but can be pulled down with a rod and hook to head height for repair, changing bulbs and cleaning. No ladders, no climbing – quite literally a brilliant solution.
‘Austin Winkley had to provide a safe method of cleaning and maintenance in the future’
DWP Estates Core Team/Lewis & Hickey
On its Jobcentre Plus scheme (which was so celebrated at last month’s Building Awards), the Department for Work and Pensions Core Team has been working with concept designer Lewis & Hickey as well as the main contractor and other project team members to ensure the safety of all its workers on the scheme. They came up with the Project Design Manual – not just a set of dos and don’ts but a method of hazard identification, risk management and solution finding. Hazard identification is split into not just construction phase and future maintenance categories; the added twist of operational mode had to be incorporated, to ensure the safety of staff and public while the building is in use. For example, secure interview rooms were needed to maintain privacy for the jobseeker, but a secondary exit was also needed to ensure the safety of staff. Such attention to detail is why this fantastically well integrated team made the shortlist in this category.
‘Such attention to detail is why this fantastically well integrated team made the shortlist in this category’
One of two architects to make this rather short shortlist, Studio Bednarski also concerned itself with minimising the risk of falls from height, especially when designing its amazing roof on the Nene leisure centre at Thrapston in Northamptonshire. This sweeping, concave structure is not only good-looking – it also incorporates several safety measures. The key one is that it has no perimeter gutters – one of the places most frequently in need of maintenance on the average building. Instead there is a single central gutter at the lowest point of the roof, which is evacuated using a syphonic system. This gutter is easily accessible using a cherry picker and can be maintained using the single mansafe cable that runs alongside it. The roof itself has also been designed to be virtually maintenance free (not only increasing its safety credentials but also saving the end user a tidy packet in lifetime costs …)
‘This sweeping, concave structure is not only good-looking – it also incorporates several safety measures’
Health and Safety Awards 2005
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Best safety innovation from a designer