Written by: William G. Handlos, P.E.
How long does it take to install? It is a question we hear every day. When it comes to cost and installation rates for geosynthetic construction products, there are no simple answers to what seems like simple questions.
In fact, beware of those who try to simplify determination of installation costs for their products with quick answers or charts and tables to determine construction rates. Experienced project managers and site supervisors of the crews charged with installation are in the best position to estimate productivity rates. They know best their crew’s capability and the characteristics of the site involved.
The variables that need to be considered include:
- Crew size, talent, work ethic and workday length
- Temperature, precipitation and length of day (sunlight)
- Experience with product class
- Size of the project
- Site Access
- Site Conditions (see weather)
The optimum crew size is important. Too small and you may lose the benefits of assembly line productivity. Too large and you will find that you fall over each other and pay for extra “inspectors”. All crews are not created equally. The familiarity with tools and techniques vary greatly as does the work ethic both between crews and by region and country.
Cold temperature can slow down project installation rates, due to need for heavy clothes and gloves and can even affect the way materials go together. In some cases, frozen ground can aid installation on soil stabilization rates by allowing firm surfaces on which to work. Extremely hot weather can also negatively impact productivity rates. Rain never helps and even recent rain can change a site condition to make working estimates degrade. Sunshine is short in northern climates and visibility can shorten the workday in winter. Delays in projects that push a project start date by months can add days to a schedule as daylight and conditions change by season.
Experience With Product Class
Installation rates do not include training time. Industry leading manufacturers offer trained installation representatives and tools that can help shorten learning curves and get installation efficiency off to a quick start. Size of the Project
Large sites lead to higher efficiency and greater installation rates. Invariably, installation expertise only matters if the installation duration > learning curve duration. Large projects also offer opportunities to stage work, use multiple crews, and create repetitive motion improvements.
Site Access and Site Conditions
Not only is close proximity to the roadway important, but one must consider the benefits of multiple access points if available. Location of material storage can create long sub delivery times within a single site. Long narrow sites can be a challenge as leap frogging workers is not practical and may force linear progression.
So, when we are asked what installation rates can be expected for Presto Geosystems® GEOWEB® road, slope or retaining wall solutions; or when we are asked about the time to assemble our GEOBLOCK® or GEOPAVE® porous paving systems; or when a customer wants to know how long to assemble a GEOTERRA® construction mats; expect the questions to start….Just a few simple questions.
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