By Tan Wen Loong, MMC Gamuda KVMRT (PDP SSP) Project Manager
Every construction project comes with its own set of challenges.
However, when working on the MRT SSP Line project where certain sections of the alignment traverses within tight corridors and densely populated areas such as Persiaran Dagang and Jalan Kepong, there are additional challenges that we face during construction.
Live traffic, public safety, constraint in site access, material deliveries and storage, erection of scaffolding, launching of Segmental Box Girders (SBGs) and managing stakeholders needs are some of the things that need to be taken into consideration.
Therefore, to construct structures within these confined spaces, a lot of coordination and careful planning must be conducted so that all parties involved in the project including Work Package Contractors (WPCs) and sub-contractors know their part in performing their scope.
A major part of this process is communication. Transparency in planning, design, decision making and construction works is essential in mitigating against possible challenges and increasing efficiency across the whole project.
So, when preparing our site at Persiaran Dagang and Jalan Kepong, we had many rounds of meetings with all parties — from architects and engineers to the Project Management Team and WPCs — to see our best approach to these areas.
With the assistance from our Public Relations and Stakeholder Management team, we engaged the surrounding stakeholders as early as possible to better manage stakeholder issues. We notified the public of our site plans and established open lines of communication for feedback and reviews both during the design and construction phases.
We are also in constant communication with the elected Member of Parliament for a more transparent information sharing.
Logistics and Scheduling
Proper planning of site access and the delivery of materials was very important in ensuring traffic flow and that site works progress as well as the safety of the public, site workers and nearby properties are taken care of. Things we have had to consider include:
- Lack of storage space — It is important to bring in only what is needed and have it delivered in phases so that materials do not have to be moved around and that the site remains tidy.
- Scheduling of deliveries, concreting works and launching of SBGs at off-peak times — At Jalan Kepong, we operate either early in the morning or late in the evening between 11pm and 6am so as to limit traffic congestion.
- Safe erection of temporary structures — All workers must undergo proper training in scaffolding and working at heights, be certified and obtain the relevant Safety Passport Card. In addition, all scaffolding design must be approved by authorities before construction.
Prior to construction, we needed to ensure everyone had a clear picture of what we intended to do and how we planned to manage certain situations.
Then came the engagement part where we worked with traffic consultants and local authorities to establish a Traffic Impact Assessment for the area.
The last phase involved engaging with the public via Focus Group Discussions (FGDs), Public Inspection, face to face engagements, serving notices, hanging banners and releasing statements in the media showing them what the project would look like in the future.
Once construction commenced, we then had to keep everyone in the loop as to what was going on and help ensure safe and efficient site activities. This included maintaining two way communication between the design level and the construction level. Some of our ongoing initiatives include:
- Mitigating against disruptions to local businesses — It is important to frequently engage with the stakeholders and update them of the site activities that may affect their businesses.
- Creation of a 24-hour Hotline or Complaint Management System (CMS) so people can call or message us for feedback and enquiries — We have been able to troubleshoot issues like noise and damage to roads with immediate effect.
So far, we have received a lot of positive feedback on our construction work management along Jalan Kepong and other areas.
We spent a lot of time on planning and preparations based on lessons we have learned from Line 1 (MRT SBK Line) — especially in constructability and safety awareness — and we feel this has paid off.
With things on-site constantly changing, we need to do whatever it takes to gain the support needed to ensure this project is successfully implemented for the benefit of the people.