SCS sets up own rebar facility tackle materials shortfall

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SCS JV's rebar facility at the Copthall tunnel site

SCS JV’s rebar facility at the Copthall tunnel site

Skanska Costain Strabag joint venture (SCS JV)  team faced delays in the construction of the Copthall tunnel in Hillingdon, west London, due to a shortfall of rebar couplers, after suppliers left the market.

To address this, the team has constructed  its own threading facility on site to produce the required quantities of prefabricated fatigue-rated rebar couplers itself.

To construct the 880-metre cut and cover Copthall tunnel, 92,000 fatigue rated couplers are required. A team of 14 will work at the facility six days a week, eight hours a day for three years to meet the supply needs for the tunnel.

The process to get the facility up and running took 20 weeks in total, with the team gaining CARES certification. It is reportedly only the second time CARES certification has been given for this activity to happen onsite.

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SCS JV has purchased stock rebar and then completes processing operations on site, before taking it through the four-step threading process and delivering it to the Copthall tunnel construction area.

The solution was devised by SCS JV senior project manager Ray Moloney, who explained: “Uncertainties in the market and the need to meet the requirements of the HS2 construction programme meant that we had to look at an innovative solution for supplying fatigue rated mechanical reinforcement connections. In mid-2022 we started engaging with partners including Leviat and CARES to develop an on-site processing scheme and within 20 weeks, we were processing our first order.

“The solution has created new jobs, offered new training opportunities for engineers and means that we can remove the risk of any delays in construction due to supply shortages.”

HS2’s project client, Malcolm Codling, said: “We are always looking at ways in which we can improve construction efficiency and are pleased to support our construction partners in developing solutions like this and getting them off the ground. Ray and the team have developed an approach that means we can stay on track, save money, and can be replicated elsewhere.”

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