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You wouldn’t paint a wall without preparing the surface, and expect a quality finish – or demolish a house without first checking it was empty, and expect there to be no casualties. Just as preparation is key with construction tasks like these, well designed and implemented temporary works solutions can set major construction projects up for success. 

Here we take a look at what temporary works are, and how they contribute to successful construction projects. 

What are temporary works?

Temporary works prepare a site for permanent construction work to begin. A vital first step in delivering successful construction projects, these engineered solutions are designed to: 

  • Support or protect existing structures during excavation and construction;
  • Preserve site integrity, preventing soil and structural collapse;
  • Provide propping, structural support and access to buildings during renovations;
  • Enable the extraction or retention of groundwater to allow for safe excavation and construction; and
  • Create safe temporary access to otherwise inaccessible parts of construction sites.


Depending on the nature of a project, some temporary works are removed once it’s safe for construction work to continue without support in place – other solutions (like sacrificial sheet piles) remain permanently in place.

Why are temporary works important?

Temporary works: 

  • Minimise risk during construction.
  • Keep construction teams safe
  • Ensure the quality and integrity of structures whilst under construction
  • Provide safe access to areas where permanent works construction is required.


What type of equipment is used to deliver temporary works?

Temporary works solutions typically involve:


Is the quality of temporary works important?

Temporary works can impact construction projects in many ways. But just as successful temporary works can enhance project outcomes; inadequate, poorly planned or poorly executed temporary works solutions can have a detrimental effect on projects – often with significant consequences.  

  • Inadequate support can cause issues ranging from minor soil collapse in the excavation site, to building failure – with significant safety ramifications too.
  • If the design and installation of temporary works isn’t properly planned it can cause significant delays to construction whilst issues are resolved. If site access isn’t adequately considered during design, a temporary works solution may not even be viable.
  • Any negative impacts on neighbouring properties can also cause project delays and lead to lengthy and costly legal battles.


Deciding what type of temporary works solution you need

There are some important questions to ask early on during design, to ensure a temporary works solution meets your needs – and that it can support overall project success. Some examples are included below:

  • How deep is your excavation? 
  • Will any overhead obstructions (like power lines) affect site access?
  • What ground conditions are you working in? How hard or soft is the soil?
  • How much force is required to provide adequate support?
  • Do you need flexibility within the excavation site to allow for construction work to continue?
  • Will you encounter groundwater on site – if so do you need to remove or retain it? Is water treatment required?
  • Will you backfill the excavation, or permanently remove soil to allow for construction?

Asking these (and many more) questions up front will minimise the issues experienced on site, and improve the potential for project success. Check out “Five questions to ask before you design a shoring solution” to find out more. 

Coates Hire’s national engineering solutions team has considerable experience delivering temporary works of all scale, in a wide variety of locations and ground conditions. Reach out today for all your temporary works needs – or find your local branch.


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