When undertaking large construction projects, the civil works phase can easily be considered one of the longest and most critical stages of your project. Civil works include activities such as site survey, clearing, excavations, protection against flooding, foundation laying, steel reinforcement, slope stabilization, and many other activities. It is easy for a project owner to assume that once a contractor has been identified, the roles reverse and everything squarely lies on the contractor. This is not true. The project owner has some of the most crucial roles to play during the civil works phase of their project. While you may not be required to have knowledge of all the excavation techniques, concrete mixing styles, or even soil stabilization processes, the following crucial responsibilities will definitely remain up your lane.
Civil earthworks always require proper authorization before commencement. Excavations will especially require paperwork from local jurisdictions and licenses from regulatory bodies, and sometimes even environmental bodies will be thrown in the mix. It is your responsibility as the project owner to ensure all these are acquired in time. Good civil works contractors will guide you through this process if needed. Remember, however, that failure at this stage could cripple your construction or lead to your future persecution and not the civil works engineers'. It is also important to schedule quality assurance inspections during the civil works process. Civil works mistakes prove to be some of the most costly ones to correct, especially if discovered way after the project passed this phase. Quality assurance not only protects the various people involved in the project but also the future of your project and, hence, your entire investment.
One key area of protection that most project owners regrettably look back at in hindsight is protection to the surroundings. Excavations, for instance, require that the project owner provides protection to all facilities nearby the excavation site prior to commencing. But what about civil works projects like construction of undercroft car parks, warehouses, or even marinas? What is the nearby facility you need to protect? The answer to such questions on projects that are fairly distant from endangered surroundings is the environment. Many project owners have been slapped with heavy penalties for failing to provide environmental protection for such projects. Irrespective of how aloof your project may be from civilization and populations, you should always have some environmental protection policy in place during any type of civil works activity.
Of course, it is a no-brainer that you should also provide protection for all workers within your project. The civil works contractors and their tools may not always necessarily cover workers' site protection. As a project owner, you are protecting their well being, as well as your pocket from future struggles with the law.
For the best results, work closely with your civil works company throughout the project to make sure all proper measures and authorizations are in place.