Safety Innovations in Construction: Doka Systems

If you have driven through the heart of Midtown Atlanta lately, you may have seen bright yellow panels wrapping the sides of one of the high-rise buildings currently under construction at West Peachtree and 8th Street. Though it has functioned as a great branding tool for Balfour Beatty Construction and our client, Wood Partners, it serves an even greater purpose – enhanced safety.

Our safety team was first introduced to this system several years ago through work in cities like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. No contractor had yet brought it to Georgia, and it was a new endeavor for Balfour Beatty in the U.S. as well.

Seeking a solution to operate even more safely in a downtown environment and improve upon lessons learned during the construction of Buckhead Atlanta, Balfour Beatty’s field team and safety directors worked together to research and understand the benefit to implementing a similar system on Alta Midtown, a 21 story high-rise residential tower.

After reviewing several options, our team chose to install the Doka system. You see, innovation doesn’t just apply to preconstruction, construction techniques and scheduling. In our world, it also applies to safety.

Our team noted several benefits of the Doka system on our Alta Midtown project:

  • Provides protection to stop all sizes of debris, tools equipment or material that could be dropped, blown or knocked off the working deck and floors below
  • Controls small concrete debris or splatter from falling or being blown off the building onto cars below or neighboring buildings
  • Screen wall systems also serve as perimeter fall protection for the 3- 1/2 floors it covers, eliminating the need to install wood hand rails, cables and netting, or other types of perimeter protection where it is installed
  • Once installed, the panels can be lifted by a hydraulic powered jack verses the use of a tower crane
  • The ability to lift screen wall panels in tandem with concrete formwork tables provides another layer of protection from material that could fall from the table as it is flown in

This system has proven effective to date and has most recently eliminated two separate incidents of plywood falling while wrecking tables, as well as a blow-out of a concrete pump, which potentially saved tens of thousands of dollars, property damage and other potential damages. Who knows if it will prove to be the most cost effective and best solution for every job going forward, but one thing is for sure, we want to improve upon our lessons learned on each job and stay abreast of the latest safety trends in the industry.