New ‘Set and Forget’ Environmental Monitors in Demand
By James Ieriko, test and measure product specialist for Kennards Hire
In the seven years I’ve worked in the hire industry I’ve never seen so much demand for environmental monitoring equipment.
In part, that’s because local councils and state environmental agencies are setting much higher standards in the construction and demolition industries.
There is a growing emphasis on boundary monitoring of dust, noise and vibrations to protect the environment, neighboring structures, and ensure the safety of nearby residents, businesses and workers.
Exceeding the mandated limits can result in hefty fines and costly delays, and also potentially open developers to legal action for damages down the track.
Enforcement agencies may require construction companies to keep data sets of potential hazards for up to 30 years.
New technology makes monitoring easy
In the old days, environmental monitoring was a field for specialists. A company planning a major project would call in a consultant to do the monitoring.
Modern monitoring technology is now so user-friendly that many more companies are choosing to do it in-house. It is much cheaper to hire the equipment than to hire a consultant!
Dust, noise and vibration monitors are mostly 'set and forget'. They are your eyes and ears.
Some of the models will even SMS or email the operator if set limits are exceeded. They give project managers a chance to react before a potential problem escalates into a disaster.
Kennards Hire’s new range of environmental monitoring equipment helps companies to ensure their projects stay within the allowable limits.
DustCutting, drilling or grinding concrete, brick or stone may release a silica dust so fine it can enter deep into the lungs and cause a range of serious lung diseases, including silicosis and lung cancer.
Queensland has introduced strict regulations on silica dust monitoring in response to a growing awareness of the problem, and the other states probably won’t be far behind. Queensland requires air-monitoring results to be kept for 30 years.
Portable dust monitors measure air quality and provide real-time logging of hazardous dust levels, including silica and asbestos. Data sets can be downloaded for a complete record of compliance.
Companies engaged in construction, including deep pile driving, demolition, tunnelling, blasting and deep excavations are paying extra attention to monitoring for excessive vibrations that may compromise the structural integrity of nearby bridges and buildings.
Construction on one level of a multi-storey building can also cause unacceptable vibrations on another level.
Battery-powered ground vibration monitors allow for up to four weeks of unmanned and continuous measurement of vibration levels. An SMS or email alarm can be set to alert the operator when set levels are exceeded and full data sets can be downloaded.
The most common use of sound monitors is boundary monitoring to measure noise levels reaching adjoining sites. Demolition and excavation works are the main noise sources of concern, however, the hum of pumps and generators can also cause issues, especially near residential areas, schools and shopping centres.
Most requests come from companies working in heavily populated areas, especially if they’re working on major projects outside normal working hours.
One of the most unusual requests I’ve received for noise monitoring came from a construction company that needed to ensure eagles on a nest just outside the site boundary were not disturbed!
Kennard Hire’s industrial noise monitoring system provides a real-time reading as well as a data log for the record.
It’s designed for unattended monitoring of sound levels, with battery and solar panel options for remote sites.
If you'd like to know more about what's new in our range of environmental monitoring equipment, contact your nearest specialist Test and Measure team.