Hick Bros Construction & Designers

Value-Added Engineering

Constructors often find their design expertise underutilised, merely tasked with building what's given to them. Hick Bros’ proactive approach demonstrates the potential for constructors to contribute efficient designs that save time, money, and carbon.

The design value that constructors can add is not always realised. Quiet often, they are given a design and asked to build it, end of story. However, given their hands-on experience, this can leave a lot of value unrecognised. Efficient designs save time, money and carbon. 

Fortunately, Hick Bros have taken a very proactive role in roading design. Together with their survey partners, they have made adjustments to a substantial amount of the circa 22km roading network. 

Some of these changes have been minor, some have been major. All have added value to the project. At the time of writing, the approximate carbon emissions savings from these changes is 843 tonnes. This is 13% of the carbon emitted by earthwork machinery to date.     

Left: Road Network - Harapaki Windfarm, Right: Grader working on the road, Harapaki Windfarm

One example of the design changes made is at a major intersection for a finger road that provides access to four turbines. The original design was a standard perpendicular T-junction. This design required a large volume of fill to span a gully, as the long turbine blades cannot travel across sharp dips in the road. After some deliberation, Hick Bros had the idea to do away with the large fill and essentially replace it with two roads. Although this change to the road design increased the total cut required for this intersection by 10,100 m3, it decreased the total fill required by 22,800 m3. This provided a net earthworks volume saving of 12,700 m3. Furthermore, creating a structural fill is machine and carbon intensive as the dirt needs to be compacted as it is built up, so the road doesn’t have any weak spots. 

From a sustainability perspective, we are building a wind farm which is a good thing, nevertheless, HOW we build it still matters. Every tonne of carbon we can avoid emitting is a win. Efficient design plays a big part in minimising carbon, but the design process shouldn’t always end at the drawing board. In the field, contractor involvement can add a lot of value as Hick Bros have illustrated.      

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