Dyer & Butler trials Demobot on Heathrow excavation works

Posted on 4 August, 2021 by Advance 

Demonstrating its commitment to innovation and health and safety excellence, Dyer & Butler has trialled a remote-control breaker (Demobot) to excavate around an unidentified cable discovered during excavation work at Heathrow Airport.

Image courtesy Dyer & Butler

A section of the uncharted pot ended cable joint was discovered by Dyer & Butler maintenance teams investigating the cause of a potable water leak in the Central Terminal Area. However, breaking up the surrounding layers of asphalt and concrete to further expose and identify the potentially ‘live’ cable presented a significant safety risk, as the Central Terminal Area is congested with identified buried services including ‘High Temperature Hot Water’ pipes, electrical feeds to structures, street furniture and traffic loops.
All possible means of safely exposing and identifying the cable were considered during detailed discussions between Heathrow Airport and Dyer & Butler’s aviation management and SHEQ teams before the ‘Demobot’ was chosen as the safest and most efficient solution. Using line-of-sight and a remote control, the team was able to navigate the Demobot, designed for unstable, confined or hazardous areas, at a safe distance from any potential hazards posed by exposure or potential damage to the cable.
Geoff Fox, Dyer & Butler SHEQ Manager, commented: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our people is our core value and we continually challenge ourselves to find new and safer ways of working. The Demobot placed safety innovation at the forefront of this task, enabling the project team to uncover the uncharted cable from a safe distance. Once the cable was further exposed, it was traced back to the service pit and confirmed as redundant and, consequently, safe for removal. This enabled the site team to safely investigate and repair the potable main leak, before backfilling and reinstating the area back to operational status.”