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60 seconds with...Jemma Quin, Kier Infrastructure

Institution News Team

Jemma Quin
Jemma Quin

Jemma Quin from Kier Infrastructure and the Temporary Works Forum shares key considerations and best practice for lifting projects.

Read on to find out more ahead of her presentation at Crane Safety 2022.

Please could you briefly explain your role, involvement and experience with regards to Crane Safety.

Jemma Quin (JQ): I am a Chartered Civil Engineer with over 15 years of experience working in Construction. I have performed the role of Temporary Works Coordinator on a number of projects and have planned crane lifts and coordinated the ground bearing checks, working platform designs or crane matt designs. I am also an Appointed Person for cranes and review lift plans in my Temporary Works Advisor role at Kier Ltd.

Temporary works is my passion and I volunteer as Director for the Temporary Works forum (TWf) – a Specialist Knowledge Society of the Institution of Civil Engineers. My goal/ our goal is to make the industry safer by raising awareness of temporary works issues and providing guidance documents and presentations. Last year I identified there was a problem with some Kier site teams not being able to identify what outrigger mats to use with cranes on site. I took part in a New Civil Engineer (NCE) ‘roundtable’ discussion on lifting and, identified that there is an industry wide lack of knowledge on how to choose outrigger matts for cranes. So, I decided to do something about it. I used my contacts in the meeting and those through the TWf to create a working group to look into it, identify knowledge gaps within industry and produce a guidance document to plug those gaps. It’s being reviewed and will be ready to publish in the next few weeks (hopefully in time for the seminar).

What are the main challenges facing the industry at the moment?

JQ: Having the right people - Making sure we have the right people with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to design, plan and carry out lifts.

Understanding the ground – some lifts are in places where there hasn’t been any ground investigation available, so assumptions are made about the ground the cranes are sat on.

There is a discrepancy on how some matt suppliers calculate capacity of their matts (only assessing compressible strength) and how Temporary Works Designers check the matts (calculate how the matt will bend and interact with ground). This can lead to difference of opinion on capacity figures as they are derived differently. The Temporary Works forum has produced a guide to help all parties calculate the capacity of the matt in a standard manner to make it quicker and easier to choose the correct matt arrangement.

What are your top tips when tackling a new lifting challenge?

JQ: Have someone competent help you plan the lift, assess the ground conditions and design suitable outrigger supports such as working platforms or crane matts.

What are your top tips for everyday lifts?

JQ: Review the ground conditions you are working with through out your site or works area. Then if you are using cranes or Hiab’s in that area you only need to get an assessment done once to see what the effective ground bearing capacity is.

What developments in the crane industry either technology or techniques, are you most interested in for the future and why?

JQ: Reusable crane matts are interesting. In theory they could be more sustainable because you can reuse them, and it reduces the amount of stone you need for a working platform. Currently matt suppliers calculate their rated capacity differently to how a temporary works designer would assess the matt sitting on the ground. The Temporary Works forum (TWf) have produced an interesting guidance document TW22.023 Assessment and Management of Outrigger Loading, that outlines a method for the matt suppliers and designers to use so they check the equipment in the same way. Therefor, reducing the misunderstanding and having a clear set of criteria which will help people pick the right size of matt more easily.

Why is it important for engineers to join this year’s Crane Safety seminar?

JQ: There is clear distinction of responsibility between the AP (who is responsible for the crane and the lift activity) and the TWC/ design engineer (who is responsible for the ground/ what the crane is sitting on). I have some experience where these people have different opinions on how to assess what matts or working platform is needed for each crane lift activity. Which can lead to confrontations onsite or sometimes the wrong solution being implemented because of a misunderstanding. So, by having engineers here we can discuss how to bridge the gap between the two parties and provide a common way forward for all parties.

Also, engineers are those designing and installing things that need to be lifted by cranes and Hiab’s, therefore they need to know their capabilities. This will allow them to design, plan and implement solutions more efficiently.

Crane Safety 2022 will take place on 13 September in London

Join us at the Institution's London Headquarters in September to address the key challenges involved carrying out with safe crane operations. Presentations will cover recent lifting projects across a wide variety of projects and industries, together with technical insights and industry best practice to reduce the risk of incidents, maintain compliance with standards and make the most of new and novel technologies: full details and registration at


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