When your road profiling project is in an existing built environment it is absolutely essential to use a contractor that knows how to resurface a road without upsetting the residents.
Road upgrades are necessary from time to time to provide better access to services or new facilities, to allow for better movement between neighbourhoods or to improve the aesthetics of a road (for example, removing a lane to add a treed median). While the long lasting benefit of these works to the community might be clear, the road construction process usually causes some level of inconvenience to the local residents. Whether the project is for a Local Government, State Government or a private developer, an upset community is something no one wants, it can taint a project and future sentiment to those undertaking it. With this in mind, the key is to minimise the amount of inconvenience and keep the community informed.
Communities expect to be consulted and advised on infrastructure projects that affect their daily lives, including during the construction phase. Poor management of a project will really impact its success, so make sure you choose a contractor that understands the things that will upset residents and knows how to get the job done while causing the least amount of disruption to the community.
Here's an overview of how to resurface a road without upsetting the residents.
Communication with residents
Before a road profiling project commences residents need to be advised about the potential impact on their daily lives, including:
Noise. Noise during construction can be caused by extra traffic, trucks, heavy machinery and other construction equipment.
Road closures and traffic diversions. These are often seen as the primary inconvenience by most residents. They can also have an impact on access to homes, shops and community facilities.
Pavement obstruction. Pedestrians may not have access to pavements during construction. They may also have their verge reticulation disturbed while the contractor is working on the road.
Interruption of services. Road profiling projects may encounter power cables or water lines during construction. The community should be advised of any planned cuts to power or water supply.
For their projects, local government teams will usually do a letter drop before commencement to advise the community about the project, and will also keep up to date information on their website.
A good road profiling contractor may also do a letter drop to remind residents of the project dates and provide their contact details. If they’re experienced in community relations, they’ll often do a doorknock on the morning of the works to introduce themselves to residents wherever possible and have a quick chat about what will be happening on that day.
Residents should be also be kept up to date about any changes to the project timeline. While this will usually be done formally by the project manager or local government, a good contractor will always be conscious of the impact on residents and happy to keep them up to speed on project progress and any expected delays or interruptions within their control.
Effective Traffic Management
During a road profiling project residents may not be able to use certain roads, and they may experience traffic jams and delays caused by lane closures. This may mean having to leave earlier for work in the morning and a longer time just to get to the local shops. Works can also have an impact on driveway access to homes, shops and community facilities.
Effective traffic management throughout the project to supervise road closures, traffic diversions and pedestrian access is really important. Effective traffic management will not only keep traffic moving as quickly and as efficiently as possible, it will also ensure a safe environment is maintained for the residents and contractors alike.
Creating a safe work environment is paramount. This applies to every aspect of a road profiling project from site safety, managing heavy machinery and public safety. Your contractor should have systems and procedures in place to maintain safety, and every member of the team should be conversant and trained in the necessary safety practices.
Accidents happen when safety procedures are not part of a company culture and it’s easy or acceptable to cut corners. For example, if it becomes necessary to make up time on a job to meet a deadline, a safe company won’t cut corners putting their staff or the public at risk. They’ll put on more man power or bring in more machinery.
Liaision with service authorities
To minimise project time and ensure the least disruption to the local community, your profiling contractor should assist by liaising with service authorities/utilities in order to coordinate any work the authority needs to do with their services that may be affected by the road profiling work.
Communication with Other project subcontractors
Your road profiling contractor should keep in communication with other subcontractors involved in the project (eg traffic management, asphalt etc) in addition to the project manager to make sure the job runs as smoothly as possible. This will ensure each stage of the process is able to start as soon as the previous one finishes to avoid unnecessary delays because someone wasn't ready.
Regular communication also provides the opportunity for collaboration between contractors when necessary to solve any issues that may crop up on site from time to time.
Getting the job done efficiently
A contractor that has experience in working within existing communities will understand the importance of scheduling the job to get it done as quickly as possible to minimise the amount of interruption caused to residents. As much as possible a good contractor will aim to rip up and replace surfaces in the same day (for example, remove old footpath material and pour new concrete on the same day) to keep the disruption to the community to the minimum.
Pick a contractor that is looking for a long term relationship
A contractor that is looking to make a long term relationship with a local government (or any other client), rather than viewing each job as a one off, is usually willing to invest in community relations.
Ask your prospective contractor about their approach to community relations. If maintaining a good working relationship is a top priority, they’ll have a process in place and will be happy to discuss it. An upset community is not a given and can be avoided with the right approach by your profiling contractors.