Tag Archives: consulting engineers

RVA to present redundant asset management seminar

RVA Group will be exhibiting at the 2014 Plant and Asset Management show at the NEC later in the spring. The event, which expects to attract over 40,000 visitors, takes place at the NEC Birmingham from Tuesday 8th until Thursday 10th April.

One of the highlights of the plant, works and maintenance calendar, the exhibition also includes an extensive seminar programme covering a broad spectrum of engineering developments and issues presented by a selection of industry experts.

RVA’s MD Richard Vann will lead a seminar session exploring the challenges and opportunities associated with redundant asset management planning. He will highlight best value strategies giving examples of projects ranging from a complete site exit to the removal of a single redundant asset from a large-scale, high-hazard, operational site.

If you wish to discuss your specific asset management planning issues during the show please visit RVA in Hall 3, stand P412.

Bookings to attend Richard’s presentation can be made via the show’s website www.maintenanceuk-expo.com

 

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Working at height – a different angle

We recently had the opportunity to comment in leading publication Health and Safety Matters on the importance of maintaining a robust stance on work at height and in particular the dangers that exist when erecting, operating or maintaining plant and equipment. A topic at the forefront of every project.

“Work at Height Regulations are widely communicated within the construction and demolition environment, given the potential dangers that exist when operating on fragile roofs or near unfenced edges for example.

Over time the concept has become more comprehensively understood. Industry managers and employees are increasingly, albeit slowly, acknowledging that working at height covers every scenario, at or below ground level, where they could fall and become injured. Yet still it remains a root cause of many major injuries and fatalities, which shows further work is needed.

One area where work at height considerations have taken somewhat longer to come to the fore is the maintenance of plant and machinery, with cranes or 360° excavators being a perfect example. When operatives are rigging cranes or excavators, connecting hoses or conducting routine maintenance operations such as refuelling for instance, they often have to climb up onto the equipment, which can be a significant distance above ground, therefore putting themselves in danger. Even cab access or egress presents potential risks.

Generally speaking, machinery manufacturers have worked hard to design and implement more safety features on their equipment, including railings, non-slip walkways and rigging winches. The European Union Machinery Directive 2006/42/EC was influential here, stating that: “Parts of the machinery where persons are liable to move about or stand must be designed and constructed in such a way as to prevent persons slipping, tripping or falling on these parts.” Considering slips and trips were identified as the most common cause of major injuries to employees in a 2011/12 HSE report, it is important that equipment manufacturers are taking note of this EU guidance.

But perhaps the actions of manufacturers should go beyond simply legislative compliance, which in truth ensures only the minimum acceptable standards. Manufacturers are perfectly placed to further heighten site safety, but health and safety professionals within the industry need to apply pressure on them to do this. A zero tolerance approach to inadequately equipped plant and machinery would magnify the somewhat obligatory position that manufacturers find themselves in to further drive standards.

Ultimately, no-one would purchase a car without a seat belt, so contractors should not have to even contemplate an investment in equipment that does not have equivalent safety features. The cost to retrofit handrails for example is very minimal, but it mitigates a very large risk. The industry needs to be less accepting of manufacturers’ dismissal of their obligations.

The fact that many pieces of plant were built before the introduction of Work at Height Regulations (2005) also presents problems, as does the delayed implementation of these safety and risk management principles amongst other manufacturers. A significant retrofit requirement perhaps consequently exists. Some contractors can only afford to purchase such older plant, but they still require protection.

We have to move away from the opinion that enhanced safety mechanisms can be optional extras. All companies are understandably trying to work smarter following an extended period of economic difficulty and squeezed margins, but this cannot be to the detriment of safety.

Of course some projects present extraordinary and uncharted working conditions, and in such instances a collaborative approach between the equipment manufacturer, contractor and project consultant or manager will encourage the development of a bespoke solution.

It is important to note that the finger should not simply be pointed at crane and excavator manufacturers and users; their inclusion here is purely for illustrative purposes. In truth there is work to be done to improve the mindset throughout the entire trades industry. A scaffolding contractor may provide an incredibly helpful, compliant and safe product for a building firm to utilise, but that same contractor may neglect to recognise his own work at height risk when climbing up on to his trailer to actually remove the poles before erection. The fringes of any job must be considered in addition to the most obvious project risks.

The salient point is that the most effective accident prevention mechanism is education. The greater the awareness of varied work at height dangers, the more our mindset is switched on to identify, plan for and mitigate risk. We all have a moral duty to protect ourselves and others from accident and injury and we need to maintain momentum in this important field.”

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RVA Group experiences continental drift

RVA Group has cemented its position as an internationally-acclaimed engineering consultancy, having secured three prestigious new projects on three different continents.

In only the last six weeks the expertise of RVA’s specialist decommissioning team has been sought by clients in Canada, Singapore and the Netherlands. These new schemes of work – on top of ongoing projects in the UK and mainland Europe – mean the firm has a healthy forward order book and is continuing to expand its team.

RVA’s managing director Richard Vann explains: “The nature of our work is particularly complex and a somewhat unusual skill set is required to safely manage the inherently high-hazard projects that we oversee. Identifying the best people is therefore not an easy task as we are looking for such highly skilled professionals in their respective fields, be it chemical, structural, mechanical, or civil engineering, for instance. However there is a phenomenal amount of talent out there so now it is a case of handpicking the industry’s finest and gradually adding the RVA sector specifics to their already highly developed skill sets.”

With a resident project management role on the five month North American contract, RVA is set to supervise the meticulous dismantling of a complex petrochemical plant, for resale, relocation and reassembly in Eurasia. Elsewhere other RVA engineering experts are on two large chemical sites in Singapore and the Netherlands to support the client to manage the dismantling of redundant assets that are intertwined with operational plant and services.

Richard continues: “Projects of this nature are the very reason that RVA was established back in 1992, and international growth has long been part of our carefully planned expansion strategy. As our reputation has grown and our relationships with multinational blue-chip clients have developed, we have steadily secured more overseas work. These three new projects represent an exceptional achievement for the company and they are a testament to the capabilities and results of our team.”

This type of work is not for the fainthearted though. “We quickly have to acclimatise ourselves to varied local requirements to ensure legislative and environmental compliance,” Richard explains. “There can sometimes be language barriers and time zones present challenges too, when we need to communicate with colleagues on the other side of the world. Indeed with the current geographical spread, we can have colleagues separated by almost a whole day”.

But all of this simply represents a new dynamic for the business, concludes Richard. “We develop knowledge-based partnerships whether we’re working in the North East of the UK, or the Far East of the world. Our aim is to develop totally safe, environmentally sound and cost-effective regimes wherever we may be, and we will devise bespoke team structures and on-site methodologies to best tackle the challenges that any project poses.”

RVA’s work continues on nine UK projects nationwide.

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RVA Group joins specialist decommissioning forum

Specialist engineering consultancy RVA Group has been welcomed as a new member of Decom North Sea, a niche decommissioning forum established to help the oil and gas sector with the £35bn of decommissioning activity anticipated by 2040.

With decades of sector-specific experience working on some of Europe’s largest decommissioning and dismantling schemes, RVA is ideally positioned to deliver ARO assessments, feasibility and option studies and the full suite of project, safety and supply chain management services to organisations in this complex industry. RVA’s existing clients include Shell, BP, British Gas, Total and ConocoPhillips, to name just a few.

Speaking of the company’s decision to join Decom North Sea, RVA managing director Richard Vann said: “Having completed nearly 600 projects within programme and budget requirements, we hope to become a valuable partner within this collaboration of specialist expertise.  It is widely acknowledged that the oil and gas sector will encounter many decommissioning challenges – onshore and offshore – over the coming years, so now is the time to start planning considered and best-value strategies that will ensure the safe execution of these projects.”

If you are a fellow Decom North Sea member, or if you have an oil or gas project that you wish to discuss with the experienced RVA team, then please call +44 (0) 1473 256890 or email office@rvagroup.org.

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‘Decom North Sea – new member profile’, January 2013 newsletter

  Decom North Sea coverage (236.0 KiB)

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RVA operations director to present at leading demolition event

RVA Group operations director Ian Wharton has been invited to deliver an educative presentation at the Institute of Demolition Engineers’ (IDE) autumn seminar in Westminster, London.

Echoing RVA Group’s mission statement, Ian’s ‘Process Plant Sector Decommissioning & Dismantling’ presentation is designed to:

• Help deliver totally safe, environmentally secure and legislatively compliant projects

• Nurture a learning event culture aligned with a zero tolerance approach to all incidents and injuries

• Encourage engineering excellence, innovation and best value for clients.

Speaking exclusively to members of the Institute on 29 September, Ian will then encourage questions from the floor, providing delegates with additional knowledge transfer opportunities.

Ian has worked with some of the world’s largest and most prestigious blue-chip organisations, in sectors including oil and gas, pharmaceutical, chemical and petrochemical, power and energy, manufacturing, local authority and housing. He is therefore an incredibly experienced and competent engineer who is well placed to offer best-practice advice for demolition professionals seeking to further develop their expertise.

 

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