Construction workers are used to wearing high-vis vests and hard hats, but one uniform they may not yet familiar with is a robotic suit. However, this is what construction workers in Wales had to wear when building a new school in Cardiff.
Those helping to build the Cardiff West Community High School in Ely have been slipping on an exoskeleton vest that is said to not only protect them while on the site, but also give them extra strength to speed up productivity.
The EksoVest works by being an upper body jacket that provides support to arms when lifting heavy apparatus. The weight of the object is spread out and better distributed due to the adjustable springs within the vest itself, making it easier for construction workers to manage weighty equipment.
Willmott Dixon came up with the idea of the jacket, with design manager Chris Townsend telling Wales Online the vest mimics the human skeleton, including its movement and abilities.
He added: “The springs kick in when arms are lifted to about chest height and all the weight that ordinarily sits on the shoulders into his back is picked up by the springs through the frame, down through the spine.”
“The suit can take stress and strain away from the body which protects the worker. It prolongs the time they can work, it can give them an extra ten years,” Mr Townsend went on to say.
Workers at the Cardiff development trialled the jacket to ascertain whether the design was a success. The overall response was positive, with one labourer – Geraint Rees – telling ITV.com he thought it was “great”.
“It takes all the strain away from my shoulders and my neck,” the news provider reported him as saying.
This year represents a lot of firsts for Willmott Dixon as the construction company also recently revealed it has been awarded a contract for the UK’s first nhow hotel.
It will be tasked with renovating a nine-storey building in Shoreditch, London, to fulfil the brand’s unique brief, creating a hotel that mixes tradition with innovation.
While it is the first British hotel for the NH Hotel Group, it already has existing establishments in Milan, Berlin and Rotterdam. Willmott Dixon’s success at being awarded the £19 million contract demonstrates its reputation at being able to redevelop buildings into stylish, functional and popular mixed-used developments.
Indeed, the construction company is set for a busy 2019, having achieved £100 million in hotel work during the last year. Some products they might consider using in their upcoming developments include trade UPVC doors from Polyframe.
There are a huge variety of PVCu products for big trade companies to choose from, including stylish and reliable conservatories. Last month, Polyframe extended its conservatory offering, providing REHAU, VEKA, Halo, Duraflex and Eurocell, as well as the leading conservatory roof system, Global.
Tradesmen can, therefore, develop a package that will suit their clients best using the different options available.