Heavy equipment operators have been trained to recognise the geological conditions of sites especially in terms of the excavation processes.
Engineering Geologist Professor and Consultant, from the University of Puerto Rico Mayaguez Dr. James Joyce facilitated the training hosted by the Department of Disaster Management (DDM). The workshop’s participants were drawn from the various fields of construction and building development, ranging from heavy equipment operators, engineers and architects to contractors and planners.
The workshop was designed to allow participants the opportunity to determine the appropriate cut/slope definitions for building sites based on the geological formation of the BVI. The information shared is expected to help provide precise data that enables these professionals to obtain better guidance in the design and construction phases of development projects.
Dr. Joyce said this also gives them the opportunity to know how to evaluate their surroundings and to recognise where they may encounter problems in stability. He said heavy equipment operators are generally the first persons on site during the development stages which requires them to have a deeper understanding of how critical it is to be aware of the geological location of the land.
He said, “Heavy equipment operators and also contractors recognising what kind of situations will become unstable and potentially dangerous is an important stage in the development. Acquiring the precise data and logistics for building is a primary factor for consideration before anything else could begin on site.”
The engineer also shared with the group the importance of scoping the land and cautioned operators that although there are maps provided to give an idea of what to expect during excavation, it is still advisable to have building professionals on the ground to advise on stability of the land.
He added, “Being able to determine the possibilities of potential landslides and rockfalls during and after excavation is very important. All technical and stress related factors should be considered in the excavation process in order to ensure safety on the site.”
Attendees visited a new building site as part of the workshop where there was a demonstration of the different features that have to be considered, including the geological features and physical structures.
Local Architect and Contractor Mr. Steve Augustine, commented on the workshops significance to his profession and how beneficial the information was for his colleagues.
He said, “The information shared was very applicable to the conditions we face here in the Territory on a daily basis. Dr. Joyce pointed out all the relevant precautionary measures that should be considered when excavating a site which was a great asset to us. I am looking forward to more sessions on this.”
Dr. Joyce’s 45 years of experience in the field has allowed him to share critical information with professionals throughout the Caribbean and to offer advice on the proper building techniques for specified geological locations. He will remain in the Territory until Friday, September 7 to collect geological data for Frenchman’s Cay, Little Thatch and Salt Island in order to complete the geological maps currently available at the Department of Disaster Management.