German-inspired eco wash bay makes a splash

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
Email Jackson Lavell-Lee
Big Ben Director Ben Heah, Construction manager Ciaran Rothkamm, St John Ambulance State manager Mike Thomson and Modus Design Architect Colin Gardiner inspect the eco wash bay.
Camera IconBig Ben Director Ben Heah, Construction manager Ciaran Rothkamm, St John Ambulance State manager Mike Thomson and Modus Design Architect Colin Gardiner inspect the eco wash bay. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee

A challenging worksite next to the Lower Vasse River has resulted in Big Ben Builders experimenting with an “eco wash bay”.

The environmentally sensitive area presented several problems for plasterers, painters and other construction workers.

Usually at residential building sites, equipment such as paint buckets, rollers, plaster or concrete mixers are washed down and their contents spilled on a certain area of the property. This makeshift wash site would be covered or filled, and in future, the owner of the property would struggle to grow a natural garden in this area.

The eco wash bay consists of a pit that is dug and covered with an industrial-strength tarp sheet, refilled and marked out on the surface with wood.

Once the wash area reaches the wood, the full tarp is disposed of in a construction bin.

Big Ben Builders construction manager Ciaran Rothkamm said the eco wash bay had been in planning for several years but the new site for St John Ambulance in Busselton was the first commercial building where it had been implemented.

Mr Rothkamm said the system was a legislated necessity in Germany, where worksites had a lesser environmental footprint. Although wash bays can be bought online, Rothkman estimated this as the first uniquely designed eco wash bay in the South West.

“We’ve talked about these wash bays primarily on residential sites with clients concerned about environmental impacts,” he said. “We did an environmental study on this project, which took two years for approval, and we’re very aware that people are now building close to the wetlands.

“Even though it’s not a requirement, we thought this would be the perfect test pilot project.”

Rothkamm said Big Ben Builders would implement the wash bays at all worksites if the trial was successful.

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