Unless you work on infrastructure and some other specialty structures, you’ve probably always wondered how underwater structures are built. It’s always admittedly been a bit of a mystery to me, as I only encounter relatively small amounts of water on my retail construction sites. Some dewatering here and there or a small creek relocation can add some difficulty to a project, but they’re manageable.
Building bridges over oceans and rivers, like the New NY Bridge, or this pretty awesome underwater restaurant in Norway takes considerable care and expertise to keep workers safe and the water from compromising the strength of the structure. We’ve come across some cool tools, like this power drill you can use underwater, but those can only take you so far.
The YouTube channel called Practical Engineering just recently explored how underwater structures are built and I thought it gave a great overview of the process of how they are are supported, beginning with decades old methods and continuing to more modern methods.
The video explains that coffer dams are commonly used, which can be as simple as building a dam from soil to block the water and dewatering the area within the dam. At its most basic form, this method can be compromised by weak soils and require continual dewatering efforts due to leaching water.
Caissons have been used for decades whether underwater or just in regular ole soil, but in the past workers had been sent down inside the caissons to dig out the soil and mud to allow the concrete to be placed inside. Build up of pressures inside the caisson not only could allow water to seep in, but also resulted in workers contracting “caisson disease,” which is a lot like what underwater divers can get if they rise to the top too quickly.
Now, most underwater structures can be built without the need to send humans down into hazardous circumstances, but we’ll let the video explain that.
You can watch the full video from Practical Engineering below:
If you have a safety meeting or perform an inspection and you can’t find any documentation of it, did it ever really happen? Well, sure it did, but it definitely helps to keep proper records for things as important as safety for reference later on or to prove to a government agency like OSHA that your company is being proactive. One way to keep proper records is to use an app, and Safesite has just made that easier as they now offer a free version of their inspection platform.
At the National Safety Council Congress & Expo on September 10, 2019, OSHA’s deputy director of Directorate of Enforcement Programs, Patrick Kapust, announced their preliminary list of the 10 most frequently cited safety violations for their fiscal year 2019.
A few technology companies have been trying to wedge augmented reality into construction for a few years now, boasting benefits of overlaying BIM models onto the real life site you’re working on, as well as interactive collaboration with remote workers. One of those companies that we thought was going to make a pretty big impact is apparently closing its doors in the near future.
The most popular method of demolition these days is by implosion, but not always welcome in certain areas or situations. The use of explosives can greatly damage neighboring buildings and spread hazardous materials over a large radius, which is why a cooling tower at the Mülheim-Kärlich power plant in Germany had to be slowly dismantled from the top.
Late last year, crane manufacturer, Sarens, announced that their brand new – and enormous – crane, was ready to be sent off to it’s first job. After several months of prep, the Sarens SGC-250 has finally made it onto its intended jobsite and is ready to lift.
For the past few years, tool manufacturers have been making cordless tools possible that no one thought could be done. We now have battery powered table saws, 12” miter saws, even battery powered pipe threaders. But one thing that no one has done yet, until now, is a battery powered worm drive circular saw.
It’s no secret that the construction workforce is dominated by men, but women are slowly increasing their numbers in recent years as gender barriers continue to be knocked down. With construction jobs expected to continue to grow over the next few years, women will play a significant role in filling job openings.
Construction employers are legally responsible for following and enforcing safety regulations on their jobsites. If caught not abiding by these rules and failing to keep workers safe, an OSHA violation and fine can follow. Recently, however, several contractors are also facing criminal charges following employee deaths on their jobsites.
After causing devastation in the Bahamas, Hurricane Dorian worked its way up the U.S. East Coast last week and eventually made its way up to Nova Scotia, Canada as a Category 2 storm. The storm left more than 369,000 without power in the Canadian Region, according to CBC, but also caused a tower crane to buckle and collapse in the city of Halifax.
A little over 3 years ago, reports surfaced that San Francisco’s luxury high rise, the Millennium Tower, has been consistently sinking and tilting since it was completed in 2009. Lawsuits have been underway for years involving dozens of lawyers from many different parties, but an expert panel has just approved a $100 million plan to keep the building from sinking and tilting any further.