Meet the Trench Grid - Amey Utilities’ 2020 Challenge winner

Patricia K K Mulenga, Press Officer
11 March 2020
A safety covering of a hole.
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Following an exhaustive judging process, Amey’s Utilities business, in partnership with Oxford Plastics, is pleased to introduce the TrenchGrid as the overall winner of its 2020 Challenge – to leave no street work excavations left uncovered overnight by 2020.

The design, submitted by Oxford Plastics, came at the top of all field tests and Amey’s extensive review process with its challenge taskforce which included specialists from parent company Ferrovial Services who also funded the research and development phase.

The grid’s trellis-style design comes in at just 7kg, which means it can be carried in Amey’s smallest commercial vehicles and also can link together to protect longer excavations up to 1metre wide.

Amey is in the process of rolling out 800 units across its contracts. Nearly 50 entries were put forward to Amey’s industry-wide call and the team has continued to develop several other products that showed promise in the taskforce review, including inflatables.

Gerry Mulholland, Director of Health, Safety, Environment and Quality for Amey Utilities, said: “With over 4 million holes dug every year in Utilities street works, this device has the potential to make an enormous difference to public safety.

“The response to our challenge has been phenomenal and we’re pleased to partner with Oxford Plastics to help us in our push to make street works safer.”

Paul Braddy, UK Sales Director for Oxford Plastics, said: “Working with Amey on their 2020 challenge was hugely beneficial. Having a client which is extremely focussed allows us to push what is achievable within our industry.

“The combination of teamwork and our joint understanding of what we wanted to achieve has resulted in a product that will improve safety for both the public and those working in and around the excavations”

A separate team of Amey specialists has been engaged in finding ‘no dig’ solutions, reviewing processes and tapping into some of the latest sensor and virtual reality technology to eliminate the need for excavation in the first place. Their solutions will be released across the business in conjunction with the TrenchGrid.

Gerry Mulholland added: “Our core aim has been to make excavations safer and more effective, but reducing the need for them will mean less disruption for the communities we work in. We’re excited by the innovation that is emerging in these discussions and what it means for our industry and will continue to develop further ideas and concept to improve protection for everyone.”


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