Following on from Constructionarium 2014, I decided to once again take part in the week long construction project during the summer of 2015.
This time around I was the sole leader of a 12 person team consisting of students from both Strathclyde and Kelvin College, working together to construct a working scale model of the Ove Arup designed Kingston Bridge.
The challenges this year were very similar to last years so I wont go through listing them all again. The projects are all designed to expose students to pretty much the same technical challenges, so the additional challenges this year came from being solely responsible for certain aspects of the project and increased detail and precision required on this project. These included checking and submitting all of the relevant paperwork prior to access to the site, checking the setting out teams work and signing paperwork prior to breaking ground, keeping the team motivated, hydrated and efficient throughout the week and communication to site management and the client (once again Laing O'Rourke Expanded).
The largest additional challenge to last years project was working with the Kelvin College students, 2 of which were Russian exchange students with limited English. Ensuring that the base knowledge every single member of the team would need to allow the project to proceed safely was the first job every morning on site. I had to dedicate extra time to make sure the Russian students understood the dangers, precautions, instructions and ultimate goals, prior to setting them to their task for the day.
One of the most valuable learning experiences this year was from the failure of our shuttering when pouring concrete to form our pre-fabbed bridge decks. The shuttering was still under construction and final inspection when the concrete arrived on site, it was then almost immediately poured. The bottom of the shuttering, not properly braced, kicked out and left a set concrete far from design specificatoins. Luckily, we were able to continue with construction for the time being, the ultimate goal of the project being to have something that looks good externally at the end of the week. However during debriefing with the client, I had to propose further remedial works to the bridge prior to it officially being handed over, taking us over budget for the project. Brownie points were awarded however for not only identifying the problem and cause but also proposing appropriate corrections and costings.