One of the challenges that we face on our project is the management of masonry material. We simply have tons and tons of stone rubble, bits of old brick and lumps of concrete that have been taken up from old floors and surfaces around the farm buildings.
We do spend a lot of time moving piles of very heavy stuff around the site; thinking about where it should be stored, questioning when and what it will be used for and trying to keep spaces clear for easy use and movement around the site.
No matter how hard we try, we inevitably get to the point where we have too much bulk masonry material! So, what to do with it…? One way is to skip it. This is a typical solution, which is gets rid of the problem and contributes to land fill somewhere else… not very sustainable. Skips would also mean shifting the material to the skip which is another set of tasks. A variation on the theme is to a truck with a grabber, which helps with moving the material to one location… but it all goes to landfill. One alternative is to get a crusher! You often see these machines on huge building sites. They are fed by bucket loads of material from huge earth moving diggers and chew up the rubble, spitting it out as hardcore for re-use on site. It is a simple, cost effective and environmentally responsible way of going about things, but could it work for us on a much smaller level?
After much research and with some trepidation, we hired a crusher for the weekend! It arrived on a lorry, had caterpillar tracks and was the size of a small van. It was easy to drive and very simple to use (once we had sorted out the sensors). The mechanism was simple and the hardcore was then neatly delivered to our muck-truck via a simple conveyor belt. It wasn’t even that noisy really!
It required a large amount of people power to feed the beast, but over a weekend we were able to turn over 10 tons of rubble in to useable hardcore for the base of our plant room floor! The cost of the hire of the crusher was easily off-set by the savings made on not buying in hardcore or paying for the skip! It was definitely a win-win!