Hardstaff Barriers has developed a unique solution to manufacture precast concrete barrier foundations offsite, speeding up the installation of vehicle restraint systems (VRS) by more than three times.

The innovation supports environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) efforts – reducing the amount of time that workers are required on-site and significantly lowering the impact on the environment.

Experts behind the new concept will be sharing details of the solution at Highways UK, at the NEC in Birmingham, on November 2 and 3, at stands H12 to H15 in Hall 1.

Impressed by the many benefits of the solution, the Smart Motorway Programme (SMP) Alliance M40/M42 project team was keen to include it in the central reserve upgrade scheme on the M40/M42, in the West Midlands. 

While precast concrete barriers are routinely manufactured off site, the foundations that host the barriers are usually created in situ at the roadside, using a less efficient, traditional approach.

However, determined to meet ESG objectives such as removing wet trades from sites, increasing offsite manufacture and reducing installation times, the SMP Alliance project team, Hardstaff Barriers and CR Civil Engineering worked together to bring the new method to fruition.

The innovative concept was put to the test during a physical rehearsal with the SMP Alliance on the M40/M42 site compound, to assess whether Hardstaff’s Rebloc RB80_XA rigid precast concrete barrier could be easily and effectively installed on the precast concrete barrier foundation.

The trial concluded, beyond doubt, that the foundation could be delivered to achieve the required barrier specification and alignment requirements – with no grouting of the barrier or follow-on works required.

The offsite precast concrete barrier foundation manufacturing method offers a wide range of ESG and sustainability benefits, including: 

  • Quick and efficient on-site barrier installation (more than three times faster than the traditional approach)
  • The potential to install over 750 metres of barrier in a single shift
  • Shorter construction times
  • Considerable cost savings
  • Reduced traffic to and from the construction site
  • Reduced disruption to the route and to traffic
  • Removes weather dependence to enable consistent reliable delivery
  • Reduced workforce required at the roadside, reducing the risk to road worker safety and wellbeing
  • Reduced site waste, therefore protecting the environment

Nigel Bullock, Solutions Manager at Hardstaff Barriers, said: “This unique solution has highlighted significant productivity, safety and sustainability improvements over the traditional approach, also delivering cost and programme improvements on the scheme. 

“Above all, it provides a standardised solution which is repeatable on future schemes, allowing consistent and reliable results.”

Hardstaff Barriers will be exhibiting at Highways UK, offering expert advice and support on the new precast concrete foundation solution, as well as on its range of other VRS products and services.

Hardstaff will be exhibiting alongside other leading VRS manufacturers and suppliers from Hill and Smith Ltd, including Asset VRS, Hill and Smith Barriers and Varley and Gulliver.

“Above all, it provides a standardised solution which is repeatable on future schemes, allowing consistent and reliable results.”
Nigel Bullock, General Solutions Manager