Temporary Works is the collective term used to describe the engineering solutions needed for major engineering projects to enable the construction, building or transport of components and modules.

Whilst most project management and design efforts go into the project itself, many projects fail to realise the importance of clever, cost effective and resourceful temporary works solutions required for project success.

Overlooking the use of temporary works in the overall project planning and execution will increase the likelihood of project related issues. This will generally manifest itself in areas such as delayed project delivery times, lost construction efficiency, increased construction and transport costs, as well as increased LTI (Lost Time Injury) frequencies and safety related issues.

There are many applications for temporary works in projects, however they generally fall into two categories, construction phase temporary works or transport phase temporary works.

It is critical the Project Manager is aware of issues pertaining to how the project will be built and transported. Engaging suitably qualified engineering expertise at the design and construction phases. This will allow the development of integrated solutions that best suit the specific requirements of the project.

As most situations requiring temporary works are unique to the project the solutions are often bespoke in nature.

It is vital to engage with a team of experts who have the right mix of creativity as well as engineering capabilities in the fields of structural, civil, mechanical and automation engineering. The potential problems that can arise require multi-disciplinary solutions often involving structures that are mobile or fixed in nature, mechanical and hydraulic lifting and transport equipment, and mobile plants such as cranes for lifting and transporting.

The team engaged on the temporary works design must also have the ability to understand and integrate the design solutions into the methodologies that will be used for the overall project management and engineering plan.

There is a strong need to interface with the main project engineering team to help ensure the design envelopes of the item under construction are not exceeded. This requires a consulting team with broad experience, good communication skills and innovative thinking.

Construction Phase Temporary Works

These works are often delineated into 2 areas, static works and mobile works. 

1. Static Temporary Works

Static works usually involve static structures used to provide strength or support to the main structure during the construction or fabrication phase. They are required to provide strength and stability to a structure such as a building or a bridge whilst it is under construction.

Examples range from simple scaffolding to elaborate civil and earth works for projects involving river diversions – such as the construction of a dam.

2. Mobile Temporary Works

Mobile Works tend to focus on issues involving the lifting and transportation of components in the construction phase. Plant items include cranes and lifting equipment such as spreaders and jacking systems.

These systems can also involve the automation of platforms and access ways required for an efficient and cost effective building program.

For both types of works the driver for effective outcomes focus on construction efficiency and cost control.

Transport Phase Temporary Works

The common themes for the transport phase is they are needed to transport fabricated segments or modules from the place of fabrication to the place of construction or usage. These works are often delineated into four areas; road, rail, sea and air.

Equipment, machines and components such as prefabricated oil rig platform modules, flotation cells, trams and trains, bulldozers and even entire prefabricated houses require transportation to site. However, this is often not thought about during the design process.

The temporary works engineers will need to work within existing loading and size envelopes, which again demands bespoke and innovative design solutions.

It is important to consider the transportation modes, as the loading and kinematic envelopes of the entire transport process must be understood, and in some cases the client’s requirements may be for multi-modal transport options.

The consultants must also be aware of the different loading, corresponding to the different transport modes and the corresponding loading variations. Significant consideration is also required for the load transfer interfaces.

Life Cycle Considerations

Temporary works are usually defined by a very specific and short life-cycle as they are used in the construction and transport phase and have no further use afterwards.

For experienced consultants there is an opportunity for cost reduction without compromising safety or functionality. Savings in corrosion protection systems and general design factor selection may be used to help in cost reductions to the project.

Other opportunities, especially in the transport phase, include weight and transport envelope reduction to improve transport costs. In other instances the reuse of existing material of construction may also help reduce costs and lead times without compromising on safety, effectiveness or operability.

Safety-In-Design and Statutory Requirements

Although not permanent in nature these temporary structures and machines are subject to the same regulations and due diligence requirements from an engineering perspective.

These structures carry more risk given their temporary nature and there are significant consequences in the event of failure.

It is important to apply the same engineering standards and quality control as well as engineering considerations to these works as to any other permanent engineering structures or machines.

 Hierarchy of Controls

One of the main attributes of temporary works is the ability to vary the nature of the controls used for the process at hand.

 The engineers must decide the balance of engineering controls to operations controls as this will have consequences for project cost and effectiveness.

Generally, as temporary works activities are not permanent the consultants and the project managers can use an appropriate mix of controls for the task at hand. This is demonstrated in the visual below.

With good communication skills and experience in appreciating where the cost control points are, the consultant can help in managing risk whilst reducing construction and transport phase costs through alterations between engineering and administrative control types.

Does Your Project Require a Temporary Works Solution?

Engenium are specialists in providing smart, cost effective temporary works to the mining, resource and industrial infrastructure sectors. Please contact us for further information and a free consultation to discuss your needs.



Leon Fabrikanov

Project Manager, NSW - Engenium Pty Ltd