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Instant communication is of vital importance to construction workers the world over. Radios are part of the lifeblood of the construction industry. It is not an understatement to call the use of two-way radio systems vital to the wellbeing of the industry, not only in the interests of communication and efficiency, but also for safety.
Busy construction sites are actually one of the more challenging areas for radio networks to navigate. Building sites present numerous challenges for two-way radio networks, such as background noise, signal coverage, ground to crane communications, security issues and subcontractors requiring access to the system.
In addition, the hardware itself needs to be solid and durable. A construction-site radio should able to endure harsh weather, heavy impacts (such as being dropped) and possible exposure to water, paint, adhesives and sawdust, without adversely affecting performance. That’s quite a tall order, but the radios are up to it.
David Ashfield is an experienced British I.T consultant who has worked on numerous sites throughout the country as a subcontractor. He very kindly spoke to us about his experiences with construction site radio systems.
“When I was on site, I usually had two walkie-talkies at any given time” he said, “the company I was working for had its own set and the site contractors had theirs. We used our own set to communicate with our own team, mainly to clear the traffic on the main network. However, our team needed access to the main network as well. While I was working on software, for example, I needed to stay in constant contact with the electricians.”
Mr. Ashfield said that, during his most recent site job, 5 different teams of subcontractors shared the same network. A main office switchboard connected the teams. Trained professionals operated the switchboard, filling yet another pivotal role in any major construction job.
Safety was of paramount importance at all times, he said. The secure channel was used for emergencies only. It was mainly employed to inform the teams of impending safety tests and fire drills.
Construction sites are put up swiftly and efficiently and, over time, buildings are born from them. These impressive efforts are achieved by the talented teams of engineers, architects, electricians, builders and, of course, people like Mr. Ashfield, who go in every day and work together to create new and interesting spaces.
However, these achievements would be far more difficult if it wasn’t for the two-way radios they constantly employ.