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There are many factors above and below ground that can determine the success of a shoring solution. To allow temporary works to be delivered safely and efficiently, Coates Hire’s engineering solutions team works closely with customers to understand all of the relevant design factors – before work begins.

Coates Hire has a wide range of shoring products and turnkey solutions to support customers, but according to National Projects Engineer Joseph Hovanjec, his team’s approach is a little different. “We start by asking questions and extracting as much information as possible from our customers and from the project site,” explains Joe. “By asking the right questions up front and deeply assessing the needs of the project and the customer, we can design solutions that help customers achieve all of this.”

In Joe’s experience, asking these five questions can help to deliver more successful temporary works solutions.


  1. What are you trying to build, and how will you build it?


The design of any shoring solution is largely influenced by what you are trying to build, and the type of construction work that will be performed in the excavation site. Before designing a shoring solution it’s important to consider: 

  • What type of building structure or infrastructure will be delivered on the site?
  • How wide and deep will your excavation need to be to support construction?
  • What kind of access is needed to perform work in the excavation space?


Construction methodology can also determine the most effective way to deliver temporary works. 


  1. What are the ground conditions like?


One vitally important design consideration is the location of underground utilities that intersect with the excavation site. Dial Before You Dig offers a free national referral service for locating underground infrastructure. (Coates Hire partners with Dial Before You Dig to help prevent damage to customer infrastructure and to promote safe digging practices.) 

Other important ground condition questions include:

  • How stiff is the soil? Will you be digging in clay or sand?
  • What findings do geotechnical surveys reveal?
  • Are you digging below the water table? Or will there be other water in the excavation site? 
  • If water is present, can it be held back, or will it need to be removed? Is water treatment required?


  1. What adjacent factors affect design and installation?


Neighbouring properties; adjacent footings; proximity to rivers and limited site access are examples of adjacent factors that commonly affect temporary works. To avoid these and other nearby design issues, it’s important to thoroughly survey your site before design work begins, and to ask these questions early on: 

  • What site access do you have and will you need during excavation and construction?
  • What kind of equipment do you need, and can you feasibly bring to site? 
  • Is your construction equipment sufficient for your excavation task?
  • How close to adjacent properties will you be excavating?
  • Is a watertight shoring solution required?
  • Will excavated soil be stored on site, applying surcharge to the excavation – or removed from site?


  1. Is there sufficient overhead clearance?


It’s natural to look down before we dig – it’s far less instinctive to look up. Yet many overhead factors can affect the design and installation of temporary works. To avoid overhead issues ask these questions during design:

  • Will overhead power lines or other overhead structures present a safety hazard during excavation and temporary works installation?
  • Will overhead obstructions limit the type of heavy equipment that you use on site?
  • Will overhead obstructions limit the type of shoring equipment you can install on site?


  1. Can work proceed safely?


There will always be important safety considerations in designing temporary works. Examples of important safety questions to ask, include:

  • Can safe access be provided for entry and exit to the excavation site? 
  • Will the chosen shoring solution provide adequate support to prevent collapse?
  • Are sufficient barriers in place to prevent people and materials falling into the excavation?
  • Is a safe work method statement or any high-risk work licences required for excavation?

Coates Hire can provide advice and guidance on all of the above issues and more, for the effective design and safe installation of temporary works solutions of all scales. For all your temporary works needs, contact Coates Hire today. Or find your local branch.


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