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August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


What a difference a month can make. Just a few weeks ago, we spoke about several newsworthy events that have shaped the year thus far: the nightmarish explosion of the British Petroleum-licensed Transocean drilling rig, and the swearing-in of Australia’s first female Prime Minister, lawyer Julia Gillard among them. In recent weeks, the entire planet has breathed a tentative sigh of relief when it was announced that the oil leak has been capped, and the worst of the BP gulf coast oil crisis seems to be behind us – at least, for the time being. The company’s Chief Executive, Tony Hayward, has been tossed overboard like so much jetsam, as the beleaguered company struggles to regain some measure of the public trust. Still, images of dead and dying birds, oil-slicked beaches, enraged fishermen, and clouds of oil filling the oceans are powerful and enduring ones, and even if BP’s seal holds and the leak is permanently stopped, the anger continues as the world ponders why inexpensive alternatives to oil aren’t yet readily available. While the world is slowly making inroads towards other forms of energy, such as solar and wind power, Australia is leading the way with a focus on environmentally-friendly construction methods, and the creation of sustainable buildings. The principles of The Green Building Council of Australia – an organization we have featured in an earlier issue – seem more relevant than ever in light of the BP oil leak, and our reliance on fossil fuels. More and more of the nation’s builders are taking up the challenge of creating “Green Star” structures, as they try to achieve the highest rating possible: six Green Stars. Research has shown that “green” buildings consume 26 per cent less energy than their average commercial counterparts, and generate 33 per cent fewer greenhouse gas emissions. These structures use less energy for cooling and heating, less water, and have shown themselves to be healthier for those who inhabit them, be they students in a classroom, employees in an office, or tenants in an apartment. Our worldwide dependence on oil and gas products is not yet over, but the BP crisis has made many of us rethink our energy consumption, and made us all much more aware of the need for alternative forms of energy today, and in the future.

Editor’s Pick In this issue of Australian Construction Focus, we take a closer look at an organisation that was founded for the betterment of builders, and a company that works to improve the lives of people living in the country’s more inaccessible regions. Formed in 1898, The Master Builders Association of Western Australia remains one of the country’s most respected organisations, representing the interests of the building and construction industry in Western Australia to this day. An often overlooked area of construction is the building of homes, schools, and other key structures in Australia’s Aboriginal communities. Murray River North Pty Ltd creates unique modular homes that are transported and erected in remote Aboriginal communities throughout Western Australia.

August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Robert Hoshowsky Managing Editor Kulvir Singh Creative Art Director Robert Chambers Director of Business Dev. Lorne Moffat Head of Research Rob Lenehan Research Manager Christian Cooper Director of IT Jen Hamilton Office Manager Contributing Writers Lynn Hamilton Jamie McKee Jeff Hocken Publisher 8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119

06 Events & News Industy Events & News

16 Master Builders Over a Century of Service to its Clients

22 Perkins Builders Strength from the Past, Vision for the Future

32 MP Group From Construction to Completion

38 Kulin Group Turning Problems into Triumphs

46 Biorefining Something from Nothing

53 Mainbrace Unparalleled Repeat Business

64 TRN Group Over 40 Years and Going Strong

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72 Moggill Constructions Up to The Challenge

80 mySmart CTI Energy Efficiency

88 CCTS Bringing People Together

98 ComGroup Stay in Touch

106 Murray River North Challenging Australia`s Remote Lands

114 History Melbourne Convention Exhibition Centre

124 Maci Constructions Building Now for the Future

130 Tasman Civil Building a Strong Foundation August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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The 5th Civil Australasian

August 9-12 at the Sy

Hosted by Engineers Austra Community Building,’ is exp include Dr Chern the Presid Professor Roger Plank - Vice will have the opportunity to For more information visit:

3rd Annual Urban Transport Planning Summit

August 17-18 at the Brisbane Marriott Hotel Planning and implementing productive and sustainable transportation infrastructure is essential for a city to grow and thrive. In order to aid the necessary expansion, speakers at the summit will examine infrastructure development challenges like managing congestion, maximizing rail infrastructure, dealing with urban growth, and developing a national Intelligent Transport Systems strategy. The conference will include contributions from Australian Government and Business as well as an international case study presented by Jarl Christian Zinn - Centre for Urban Development, Denmark. A ministerial address will be given by Hon. Rachel Nolan - MP, Minister for Transport, QLD. o

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August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Engineering Conference in the Asian Region and Structural Engineering Conference 2010

ydney Convention and Exhibition Centre

alia and The Asian Civil Engineering Coordinating Council, this year’s conference themed ‘Innovative ected to draw 600-800 delegates from civil and structural engineering professions. Keynote speakers dent of the Taiwan Concrete Institute (TCI), Mr Ian Firth - Chief Operating Officer of Flint & Neill, and e President of the Institution of Structural Engineers in the UK. Engineers attending the 3 day event o learn about and discuss new knowledge and current issues affecting the industry. o : www.cecar5.com

Managing Safety in Construction 2010

August 23-25 at the Sydney Harbour Marriott The always important matter of Occupational Health and Safety is focused toward the Construction Industry with emphasis on understanding risk management processes, defining regulations, and ensuring compliance to safety standards by everyone involved. Opening and closing remarks will be given by Matthew Lloyd, HSEQ Manager of the Australasia Hub of Laing O’Rourke. Case studies presented by managers of prominent building and engineering companies will highlight the benefits of a superior Health and Safety Model. Interactive workshops are scheduled each evening for a hands-on approach to learning and communicating the ideas presented. For more information visit: http://www.safetyinconstruction.com.au/Event. aspx?id=327838

August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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3rd Annual Urban Design Conference August 30-September 1 at the National Convention Centre in Canberra As populations increase and cities expand, existing urban design practices need to be reexamined and adapted to the changing needs of the world’s inhabitants and environments. The conference will examine challenges associated with this unprecedented growth which consist of housing diversity and affordability, transport system requirements, energy efficient building design, effective governance and leadership, and many others. Some of the key presenters include The Hon Anthony Albanese - Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Jeremy Harris - of Sustainable Cities Institute USA, and Mark Fuller - Managing Principal of AECOM Design + Planning. For more information visit: http://www.urbandesignaustralia.com.au/

August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Fine Tuning Sydney’s Opera House

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lmost immediately after it opened back in 1973, the Sydney Opera House became not only a representation of late modern architecture, but a world-class venue, and a symbol of the Australian nation. With its interlocking ‘shells’ set against the Sydney Harbour, it is instantly recognisable worldwide, and attracts in excess of seven million visitors every year. Like many popular tourist attractions, the Opera House has had its share of mishaps, many of them involving visitors being struck by vehicles in the building’s forecourt. Over a thousand vehicles pass over the forecourt every week – a popular location for picture-takers and a venue for outdoor concerts – with someone invariably being hit by cars or delivery vehicles

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almost daily. In an effort to improve pedestrian safety around the Sydney Opera House, the New South Wales Government has announced a $152 million project, which will entail the construction of a new tunnel to divert delivery vehicles from the northern end of Macquarie street to an underground loading dock, along with a new underground lift to move sets, and the building of other tunnels connected to the loading dock for food and beverage deliveries. Work is set to begin in early 2011, and be completed by 2013. The Opera House will remain open throughout construction, and the safety projects – expected to create 500 jobs – will be the biggest building works to take place at the Opera House since it opened 37 years ago.o


Making Access Easier for the Disabled

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any disabled persons face challenges every day with mobility issues, even in their own homes. In Australia, the Federal Government has just announced it will invest $1 million over four years to create a new set of disability-friendly housing designs, and building guidelines, a move welcomed by the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and Property Council of Australia.

The guidelines will be voluntary, with the hope that they will, in time, be accepted as standard. The initiatives will benefit not only the disabled, but those with other challenges, such as the elderly, and young families with small children. Some of the targets include entry-level access,

wider doorways, and ground level bathrooms for easier access. Reducing the number of steps into a home, and wider hallways, also make it easier for manoeuverability for individuals using wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, or canes. While the million dollar pledge is a great step forward, some groups, such as People With Disability, believe the voluntary guidelines don’t go far enough, and that these proposed building standards should be compulsory.

Water, Water Everywhere!

In Southern Tasmania, council has received $9 million for a new storm water recycling system. The funding, from the Federal government, will be used by the Glenorchy City Council to construct a four metre-deep catchment tank. The recycled water will be used for irrigation and sold to local industry, like a zinc works site to be used in their smelter, instead of potable water. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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South Australia Civil Construction to Receive $8.2 Million Boost

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n Thebarton, Adelaide, the Federal Government is supporting an $8.2 million project to construct a state-of-the art Civil Skills Centre, and new home to the Civil Contractors Federation of South Australia. The move will increase the number of skilled employees working in plant operations, and as excavators and loaders, along with enabling greater equity in civil construction training in rural and remote regions. Funds for the multi-million dollar project will come from the Federal Government’s Education Investment Fund, while other monies will be supported

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by co-contributions from the civil construction industry. The project’s three initiatives include: providing facilities through the $3.5 million Training Centre at Thebarton; a $1.2 million mobile training unit, which will be used wherever needed, including rural and regional areas; and $3.5 million to bring the latest technology of plant simulation to students and operators, using earthmoving simulators. With an increased need for skilled workers, the project will allow students from across South Australia, including those in rural areas, to have the same opportunities to training as students experience in the city.


Enough Jobs for Tasmania’s Workers?

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he Master Builders Association is concerned about the downward trend in housing finance this past year, and says the trend needs to be stopped, and soon, or jobs will be lost. The number of houses financed for owner occupiers dropped by almost a quarter this past year, and there are fears that there will not be enough work next year to keep Tasmania’s 20,000 builders employed. The worldwide financial crisis, along with the removal of the First Home Owners grant and rising interest rates, are to blame, according to the MBA. With construction being Tasmania’s fourth largest industry, a continuing downward trend could be disastrous for the state’s building industry. Some, however, are optimistic that the economy will improve next year, possibly by the second quarter, and home buyers will once again enter the market.

Adelaide’s New Office Tower: Too Tall? As soon as it was approved by the state’s Development Assessment Commission (DAC), a proposed 25 storey office building in Adelaide began drawing controversy. At 86 metres in height, the tower – expected to replace a three-storey building – is to be erected on King William Street near the Pirie Street tram stop. The project has already been criticized by Councillor Sandy Wilkinson for exceeding height rules, and should not proceed. “It makes a mockery of the whole planning process and provides no certainty for developers bidding on sites because developers don’t know now what to bid on sites because they don’t know what another developer might have in mind, to what extent another developer might have intent to exceed the development plans,” he said. Others, however, believe the building sets a target for residential and employment growth that is necessary for the future. The building is destined to be the sixth tallest in all of Adelaide. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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ack in 1851, when a man named Edward Hargraves discovered gold at Summer Hill Creek near Bathurst in New South Wales, few at the time could have imagined the rush that was soon to follow. Miners from all over the world, including England, Ireland, Germany, Italy, the United States and Canada flooded Australia by the thousands looking to make their fortunes. Within 40 years, the population exploded from 437,000 to 3.2 million, making it one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. Many of these men – labourers in their own countries – came looking for gold, and ushered in years of rapid expansion. Soon, over a third of Australians lived in the six capital cities, which were rapidly becoming as populated as the largest cities in Europe and America. With a booming population and increased urbanisation came the need for more housing and better, properly-built infrastructure. Despite the earlier gold rush, many houses were little more than shacks, quickly slapped together, poorly-built flimsy shanties constructed on poorly-drained land. There was an urgent need for some sort of order in the growing country’s construction industry. Formed in 1898, The Master Builders Association of Western Australia (also known simply as “Master Builders”) remains one of the country’s most respected organisations. For well over a century, August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Master Builders has represented the interests of the building and construction industry in Western Australia, helping to serve builders, subcontractors, suppliers, and consultants in the industry so they can run, operate and manage their businesses. “The Master Builders Association of Western Australia was formed back at a time when Western Australia was experiencing extraordinary growth, extraordinary population increases with people from the eastern states and from overseas to make their fortunes in WA due to the gold rushes,” explains Executive Director, Michael McLean. “At that time, you had the government battling with infrastructure. You had builders being subjected to some pretty hastily compiled contracts. You had the unions forming and creating industrial disputes. You had a shortage of labour, and certainly less than satisfactorily skilled labour. So a group of builders got together and thought, ‘We need to do something here, because we’re getting picked-off by the unions, by the government, by private sector people, our clients, so we need to form an organisation to help us respond to those emerging issues, and from there, The Master Builders Association of Western Australia was formed.”

has remained the same: to promote the views and interests of the building and construction industry. Active across the regions of Western Australia, they have offices in Geraldton, Kalgoorlie, Albany, and Bunbury.

“We are first and foremost a builders’ organisation, and our core values have not changed very much since those early days, but the way we transact our business has certainly changed, and the range of services has certainly grown,” says McLean. Eloquent and exceptionally well-versed in construction, he has been at Master Builders for 27 years, 14 of them as Executive Director. Prior to joining the organisation, McLean studied Today, Master Builders is part of Australia’s economics, worked in industrial relations, oldest industry association, Master Builders and worked for the state government. Australia. Over the many decades of its existence, the scope of Master Builders has While The Master Builders Association of expanded considerably, but its primary role Western Australia is a venerated organisation,

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“We cover the whole field,” says McLean. “What distinguishes us from others is that we cover the whole industry, not just housing, not just commercial, not just civil engineering. We are first and foremost a builders organisation, but we also comprise suppliers, professional organisations, kindred organisations, and students and apprentices.”

it is anything but complacent. With over 1,600 members, Master Builders is growing at the rate of about 30 new members every month. With about 12 departments and 28 staff members, the organisation is effectively managed, and able to cover the whole of WA. While each state and territory has its own autonomous body, the national federation represents more than 30,000 member companies through Australia, allowing for the free flow of information and state input into national matters and lobbying.

One of the many ways Master Builders promotes their organisation, informs the public and the media, and keeps their extensive membership up to date is through their website, at www.mbawa. com. Extremely extensive, it offers users the ability to conduct searches alphabetically, or search for members in various fields, such as builders, subcontractors and trades, suppliers, and consultants. There are numerous links for information on building information, new homes, home renovations, regulatory links, codes of practice, and much more. There are also sections of relevant construction and business-related links – such as taxation, regulation, commerce, energy, safety standards, and smart energy – along with contracts for sale, jobs and careers, an events calendar, and an exhaustive “A-Z Building Information” tab, a growing directory of over 150 subjects summarizing valuable information to help members with their building-related queries for commercial and residential construction and renovation.

Active in both commercial and residential sectors, Master Builders represents members from a diverse range of trades, professions, and backgrounds. Among the many services it provides to its members, Master Builders is active in contracts, training, legal services, industrial relations, building codes and “For a membership-based organisation, we really want to promote our knowledge in standards, industry economics, and safety. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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a twofold way,” says McLean. “One way, to our existing members, is through a range of communications, including weekly email updates, magazines, websites, and other newsletters including regional newsletters. In terms of prospective members, we have a database of builders, contractors, and suppliers that we’d like to become members, and we have staff that are dedicated to meet with them, and highlight the benefits, and encourage them to join.” Membership forms for The Master Builders Association of Western Australia are available for download at their website. Membership to Master Builders is open to all companies, partnerships, and businesses engaged in the building and construction industry. In addition, there are student memberships available to students and apprentices, and Often, members are not reticent about their status, and are able to take advantage social memberships for retired builders. of their membership status by including the Registered builders, trade contractors, and Master Builders’ logo on their advertising suppliers are able to apply for membership and company stationery. in the following categories: housing builders (registered), commercial builders “People clearly join for different reasons,” says (registered), housing subcontractors, com- McLean. “In the housing sector, having our mercial subcontractors, associates – logo attached to their documentation gives suppliers, manufacturers, project managers, them a status and a profile, and puts them professionals, government, and kindred above some of their competitors – and I think it gives the client a sense of confidence. In the associations. commercial sector, I think our organisation For members, the term “Master Builder” provides them with a sense of insurance or and stating your company is a member of backup, so that we can help them deal with the Master Builders are both held in high the issues that they deal with on a day to day esteem by the public and the industry. basis. We can keep them ahead of the game.

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We can open doors to government from a representational point of view. And we can go to bat for them if they have a problem. So that’s what membership means to our members.”

seminars, waste management, the Master Builders Home Show, and connections to special member rates from allied partners for legal advice, car rentals, telecommunications packages, and much more.

In addition to keeping its members connected through the MBA website, MBA Connect e-newsletter and circulars, The Master Builders Association of Western Australia offers a countless array of other services and benefits, ranging from telephone advice to training and events updates, representation and lobbying, submissions to reviews and inquiries, liaising with all political parties, employee benefit schemes, online Safety Awareness Training, MBA insurance services,

Above all else, the 112-year-old Master Builders Association of Western Australia continues to represent its over 1,600 members, to help them better serve the needs of their industry. “There are just so many issues confronting builders and contractors,” says MBA Executive Director Michael McLean. “They rely heavily on us to navigate them through the maze, and keep them out of the palms with crocodiles in them.” August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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t Perkins Builders, their motto, quite rightly, is “Strength from the past, vision for the future.” Back in 1965, the company was founded when two brothers – Jim and Neville Perkins – began trading in Bunbury, Western Australia under the company’s initial name, Perkins Bros Builders. It was a year of big changes for the brothers. Not only did the two tradesmen, start their own business, but Neville became father to a son named Dan who, decades later, would be at the helm of the company started by his dad and uncle. “They decided to contract in their own right,” says Rod Sproule, Business Development Manager for Perkins Builders. Time would prove that starting a business of their own would be the right decision. From their first project – an extension to the Main Roads WA Depot in Robertson Drive, Bunbury – Perkins Builders first three decades were spent contracting exclusively throughout the south west of Western Australia. Over those 30 years, the company established a solid reputation for their high quality work and professional, courteous staff as they successfully completed numerous commercial, industrial, and civil engineering projects and buildings. In 1995, the company was destined for even greater success when Neville’s son, Dan Perkins, was appointed Managing Director. Joining the company in 1983 as an apprentice carpenter, Dan worked his way up in the business as a carpenter, foreman, site manager, and contracts manager. With Dan at the helm, Perkins Builders has continued their earlier

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success, and began a prolonged period of significant expansion in many areas of the business. From 1995 to the present day, turnover has dramatically increased from $3 million to over $100 million. Staff numbers have jumped from 10 to 90 direct employees, and the company also has a large number of subcontractors, many of them working only for Perkins Builders. Along with increasing sales figures and staff, Perkins established a Perth office in 2001 to build upon its growing reputation and to gain exposure to the expanding city’s commercial building market. Just two years later, in 2003, Perkins Builders opened their Busselton office to serve the growing work load in Dunsborough, Yallingup, and Margaret River.

earned its enviable reputation in all areas of building and civil engineering construction. As the largest and finest regional builder in Western Australia, the company takes great pride in developing its employees, bringing them up through the ranks from trainees or apprentices into senior staff. They also hold onto the time-tested values of maintaining personalized service with their clients to make their projects a success. “Many modern-day contractors tend to be a post office box, or a project manager with a bunch of subcontractors, whereas we are more of a traditional builder,” says Sproule. “We employ a lot of people, and build things ourselves. We have the capacity across a wide range of projects to do the work ourselves in-house.”

In addition to its people, Perkins Builders Over the past 45 years, the company has has a solid Business Management System in August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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place to set out procedures for tendering, management of design and construct projects, plant and equipment management, and more, all supported by accounting and contract administration software. In this way, the company is better able to monitor project delivery, client satisfaction, safety and environmental management. At the company’s plant yard in Bunbury, they maintain an extensive fleet of equipment, including mobile and tower cranes, telehandlers, excavators, front end loaders, bobcats, and prime movers, making them able to take on any project that comes their way, from schools to major sports stadiums. One of the company’s most recent projects is

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the construction of schools for the Australian Government’s Building the Education Revolution program. The massive, multi-billion dollar project is designed to provide new and refurbished infrastructure to all eligible Australian schools. Perkins tendered for the contract, and is currently working on a $60 million contract, building new schools. Commissioned to construct 65 new buildings on 48 separate school sites , the expected completion date of the project is March of 2011. “We’re about halfway through them,” says Sproule. There are 48 different sites all throughout the southwest of Western Australia. We’ve commenced all of them,

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handed over about 20 of them, and we’re about 60 to 70 per cent through the job.” Perkins Builders is responsible for almost everything on the multiple sites, including the building works, earthworks, site works, design, building, and finishing. Designs and size vary from school to school. Some are classroom blocks. Others have assembly halls, canteens, and libraries. “There’s about 14 different types of buildings.” Another area of growth for the company is in the field of aquatic and recreational facilities. For over a decade, Perkins Builders has earned a reputation as Western Australia’s leading builder of these health and fitness facilities. Back in 2007, the company acquired

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a 50 per cent stake in one of the largest pool specialists in Australia, national contractor AVP Commercial Pools. “We used to build the buildings, and they’d do the pools in the building,” says Sproule. The move allowed Perkins and AVP to join forces, and offer their clients complete in-house design and construction services for commercial aquatic and aquatic related recreational facilities, from government contracts to pools specifically built for resorts. “AVP do the whole gamut of commercial pools,” says Sproule. “They do the structure of the pool, the tiling, the filtration, and more. There are not too many companies in Australia who do the whole thing and the

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design as well.� Since 1997, Perkins Builders has completed well over $200 million of aquatic and recreational projects. Many are major facilities, like the $16 million South West Sports Centre in Bunbury, the $10 million Narrogin Regional Sports complex, the $27 million Next Generation Health Fitness and Lifestyle Clubs at Bibra Lake and Kings Park in Perth, and works at the Manea College and Dalyellup College, at $22 million apiece. Recently, the company completed two new stadiums in Perth for the Department of Housing & Works. The WA Basketball Centre is a $50m, 8 court indoor facility and the adjacent WA Athletics Stadium a $30m

international standard athletics facility with a 3000 seat grandstand. The two projects which were carried out under a joint venture contract replaced aging facilities that had originally been built for the Commonwealth Games held back in 1962. The new buildings were built about half a kilometre from the original structures, which are currently being demolished under a Government plan to turn the area into inner city living. No matter the project – from multi-million dollar sports facilities to retail projects – Perkins Builders always maintains the same degree of customer service and pride in their work that they have held for the past 45 years.

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cross Australia, there are a number of companies creating fine architectural joinery, including display cabinets for boutiques, counter areas for bars and restaurants, and reception desks and other spaces for offices. While many of them do quality work, the problem remains: what if you want to deal with just one company that can take care of all the details from start to finish, including project management, design and drafting, all the way through to construction, architectural joinery, and even maintenance? For retail, hospitality, commercial, and construction and refurbishment projects, many businesses are choosing to deal with a company that can do all the work they require, with a high degree of quality and superior professionalism: MP Group Pty Ltd.

Until recently, the company was known as MP Constructions, but felt a name change to MP Group was in order to create awareness of the services they offer, including Shopfitting, Construction, Joinery, and Maintenance. “MP Const-ructions is the licensed entity with the building services authority,” says Mark Pidd, Managing Director. “Where MP Constructions didn’t describe what we do, MP Group brings our services together.” The history of the company goes back to 1986, when Pidd registered MP Constructions as a business name, and began contracting as a sole trader. Prior to that time, he completed his apprenticeship in the shopfitting industry at Lowes Joinery. From 1986 he then worked in a variety of areas over a decade from houses and construction,

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to ceramic tiling and bathroom renovations. In 1996 he decided to move back into shopfitting, and make it his primary focus, and MP Constructions was registered as a company. Working with a wide variety of clients, such as retail stores, hospitality spaces like restaurants, bars and nightclubs, commercial areas, and construction and refurbishment, the MP Group is able to offer many more services than would be found in a company specialising in design work and architectural joinery alone. “We offer project management, we have a joinery manufacturing facility, and we also run a maintenance division, so we maintain the work we do for our clients on an ongoing basis,” says Pidd. “With our experience in project management, we know the steps you have to take from the start, right through to

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the finish, from the early planning stages right through to closing the project off with councils, and those type of organisations.” Priding themselves on their high degree of skill and unwavering commitment to the needs of their clients, the MP Group, with a staff of over 60, is able to handle any challenge. With over 950 completed projects, and 90 per cent of their client base being repeat clients, the company’s stellar reputation speaks for itself. MP Group’s mission statement, “working together successfully,” serves as a reflection of their ongoing commitment to excellence, and fostering their successful relationships with their many clients, subcontractors, authorities, and staff. “Repeat customers are basically the main core of our business,” says Pidd. “It’s all through referral, and repeat customer base.


Although MP Group still tenders to remain competitive, many of our clients are repeat customers throughout Australia, who have been satisfied with the quality of the work, design, speed of construction, and customer service time and time again.” As a testament to the company’s professionalism and stability, they are registered with the Q400, an organisation of the top 400 privately-owned companies in Queensland. MP Constructions debuted at number 181 on the Q400 back in 2008, and in 2009, moved up to 176. Entrepreneurs featured in the latest Q400 boast a combined turnover of $14 billion, and employ some 40,000 employees. “As we’ve grown, we’ve gotten to a stage where we’ve gone out and gathered together a more diverse range of a client base,” says Pidd. The company’s client list reads like a who’s

who of successful Australian businesses, and MP Group has received numerous testimonials attesting to the high quality of their work from many of these companies. For retail clients like Supré, the company’s Shopfitting Division has completed over 400 store fitouts/re-fits over the past 12 years, at an average of 40 stores per year, ranging in size from 100 m2 through to 2000 m2 over 3 levels. In addition to managing the design, store planning, and all necessary applications, MP Group was responsible for the entire fitout and project management of these stores, including the initial budget, tendering, liaison with authorities, manufacturing of all joinery, and management of sub-trades through to completion and handover. In the hospitality sector, MP Group has completed numerous projects involving restaurants, bars, and nightclubs. For the August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Coolangatta Airport Refurb in Queensland, the seven week-long job required them to manage the design and construction of food kiosks including Hungry Jacks, NRG, Velocity and Zoom within the Airport. Many of these projects also required areas necessary for food preparation, such as commercial kitchens, refrigeration, and custom made counters. The turnaround time varies on the project, and is different from constructing a standalone building to a retail store or restaurant.

wall panels, along with creating numerous office spaces, work stations, kitchen and dining areas, reception areas, boardrooms, and more. In many cases, MP Group was the manufacturer of joinery serviced from their joinery division, mainly for larger building and construction companies on their projects. Likewise in many cases they also did the initial budget, tendering, liaising with authorities, site installation, and onsite management of all sub-trades from start to finish.

A retail shop is generally anywhere from two to four weeks,” says Pidd. “Bars, restaurants, and hospitality can run anywhere from four weeks to three months, depending on the size of the project.”

In the construction & refurbishment sector MP Group has completed a number of projects where they draw on their knowledge and experience within the construction industry. These types of projects generally involve months of preliminary planning and budgeting, liaising with authorities and gaining all the necessary approvals. Where the MP Group company structure supports and is more suited to the refurbishment

In the commercial sector, MP Group has done a number of office fitouts, hotel foyers and lift lobbies involving the manufacture and installation of veneer board and feature

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of buildings and commercial spaces, specifically leaning towards the retail and hospitality industries such as restaurants, clubs and hotels. Since they offer their clients such a wide range of services, MP Group is able to maintain direct staff at all levels, allowing them to take on all sizes of contracts without having to outsource work. Every project team consists of a Project Manager, Estimator, Project Co-ordinator, and Site Supervisor who have direct access and support from the company’s Operations, Commercial, and Production Managers at all times. These strengths are also backed by MP Group’s administration division, led by their Contracts Administration Manager, Office Manager and Accounts Manager. “We’re a very diverse company in that sense,” says Pidd. “You might find that a lot of shopfitting companies just specialise in shopfitting, and a lot of builders just specialise in building. We’ve got the facilities

and experience across the board in all areas, and we have people on staff here who have that experience.” As a registered and licensed domestic and commercial builder in all states of Australia, the company is able to provide fit-out services on all levels nationwide. Able to take on a wide range of projects in the commercial and residential fields, MP Group can offer services in construction, shopfitting, project management, design, estimating, joinery, and 24 hour, seven days a week maintenance. “We’re a company that’s high on our ethics and principles, and within our principles, we work hard for our clients to achieve the best outcome at a competitive price for them,” says Pidd. “Our objective is to work together successfully with our clients across the board, so it’s successful for both companies in their relationship going forward.” August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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ll across Australia, there are many contracting companies, yet some stand out from the others for a number of reasons, ranging from the high quality of their finished products to the dedication of their staff. Since forming in our Bicentennial year 1988 as an agent for protective coatings, specialist contracting company Kulin Group Pty Ltd has rapidly evolved into one of Australia’s best-known and most respected companies, serving the needs of construction, mining, resources, and marine industries in Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

“I’d have to say it’s our people who set us apart from other companies,” says Scott Warner-Gillon, Managing Director for Kulin Group. “We’ve got a very good mixture of experience and youth. The management team itself isn’t a particularly old one, and it is fairly young and vibrant.” At age 42, Warner-Gillon is an example of the company’s youthful combination of energy, enthusiasm, and experience. Working in the company formed by his parents, Scott – an accountant by profession who had managed various bars and restaurants in Perth before travelling August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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overseas – joined the Kulin Group in 1995 when he was offered a position to come on board from his mother and father to set up the business in contracting to complement the agency arrangement. “And that’s how it all started, with the three of us around the dining room table the day after I got off the plane after travelling for a year and a half” he says. Scott’s parents have now retired leaving Scott to expand the operations, but never forgetting that it is a family business that should always have that family feel to it.

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As the Kulin Group has steadily grown over the years, they have built a solid team of experienced and highly-skilled industry personnel who form the core of the company’s technical expertise. Many years of combined experience – along with ongoing staff training, the latest plant and equipment, the finest materials, and superior quality control procedures and methodologies – assure their clients that the job will be completed to exacting standards without compromising quality or safety, another key mandate of the


Kulin Group, and one they take very seriously. systems, and they need to know that we’re not going to jeopardise their reputation.” “Safety has to be your number one focus, and it can’t be lip service,” says Warner- At Kulin Group, the Board has a policy in place Gillon. “You can’t operate a business if your to promote health and safety standards, employees are in any sort of danger, and ensure compliance with the standards you can’t expose your clients to any of that, prescribed in relevant systems, procedures either.” At Kulin Group, their safety record is and statutory regulations, and establish and something they are extremely proud of, “and maintain a high degree of health and safety it also means that we can work with bigger awareness throughout the company. In players, the larger companies. And they need addition, employees are trained in matters to know that our systems can marry with their of health and safety, and the company audits

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and reviews its Safety Management Plan to maintain, and improve, its effectiveness. For the company, maintaining a safe work environment extends to all job sites, private or government. When working for major clients, such as the Fremantle Ports, maintaining safety is absolutely critical, especially under challenging conditions. In 2005, the company was awarded the contract to perform concrete repair and the design and installation of an Impressed Current Cathodic Protection system to the soffit and beams, to the KBT Wharf in Kwinana, Western Australia. The project is large, ongoing and the wharf is in service, which has required the Kulin Group to carry out the tasks without disrupting the operations of the wharf. Since the port is in operation, it was essential to implement and maintain a detailed safety management plan for onsite personnel. “It’s an ongoing project,” says Warner-Gillon, “and one of the most difficult things about it has been the exposure to weather. It is an active wharf, with active conveyors, which means that the transfer of materials to get to the work face is challenging, and also in winter with the storms, the weather the men have to deal with is challenging.” Some of the obstacles workers have faced include high winds, and scaffolding being pounded by waves. The men on site have rescued several small boats that have broken their moorings and even a horse that swam out to the scaffold and became fatigued. The men tied a rope to the bridle and towed it back to its anxious owners on shore. “The client is extremely happy to the point that we have been awarded another stage of the project. We hope to be the contractor of choice until it is completed.” On another large recent job, the Pluto LNG Project, Burrup Peninsula, in Western Australia, the Kulin Group was called upon to install epoxy coatings and waterproof membranes on 10 large sub-station roofs, using pre-made, massive sheets of EPDM rubber in excess of 6,000m2 over the 10 buildings. While the epoxy floor coatings had its own inherent issues to overcome such as working around other trades whom required access to the floors, the 6,000m 2 of roof membrane threw up some additional challenges. Despite strong August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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winds and changes in outdoor temperatures that made the membrane shrink at night in the cold, the company was able to install the membrane to ensure the water tight integrity of the roofs thus protecting the vital equipment inside.

with an office in Darwin, to provide services to those in the Northern Territory, which has enabled them to take on successful projects in the remote regions of Western Australia. Many of the works undertaken by Kulin helps to stop today’s potential structural problems from becoming much larger issues in the future. “At the construction stage, we’re providing the protective coatings, so we’re doing more preventative maintenance instead of remedial maintenance,” says WarnerGillon, “This is of particular importance in the Boom times where clients cannot afford downtime.”

Being one of Australia’s most respected specialist contractors, the Kulin Group’s core services include structural concrete repairs, cathodic protection (to reduce or eliminate corrosion of steel) , waterproof membranes, cementitious and epoxy grouting, concrete protective coatings, crack injection and jointing, and abrasive blasting and painting. No matter the size or requirements of the job, the company is constantly expanding, Another of the company’s strengths is the and has established a permanent presence in installation of AFS Logicwall Systems, which Karratha to better serve the resources, along consists of a lightweight bonded wall panel

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erected on site by Kulin’s trained installers. Once braced into position, reinforcement steel is installed into the hollow panel along with any necessary electrical and plumbing services, and the wall panel is then corefilled with concrete for structural integrity. It is a highly efficient system that can be painted or covered with texture coatings for exterior walls. This is a growth area of the Kulin business as its speed of erection ensures projects are completed quicker and it eliminates many of the wet trades.

growth is dictated by our projects and our clients,” says Warner-Gillon of the company, which has a solid reputation with their clients for delivering jobs on time, on budget, and solving problems.

No matter the job or the difficulty due to factors like weather and time constraints, the Kulin Group has a lengthy list of satisfied clients from across Western Australia and the Northern Territory, like Ausclad Group Companies (AGC), Fremantle Ports, Leighton Construction, Power & Water NT, Water 2 At present, the Kulin Group has about 80 Water Alliance, John Holland Group Fremantle employees, and will see those numbers City Council, the Voyager Estate Winery, increasing in the near future. “Most of our Water Corporation, and many others.

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- By Jaime McKee

W

ith rising global energy prices and the increasingly irrefutable correlation between climate change and fossil fuel emissions, we as a society must continue to seek out alternatives to petroleum. The primary ingredient not only in our fuels, but in many of our industrial and everyday products, petroleum is a finite resource, nonrenewable in human timeframes, and a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Many have argued that the era of Peak Oil has arrived, and with this threat looming, it is incumbent upon us to find other ways of meeting our needs. The alternatives are out there, and while global resource needs likely call for a diversified approach – a multi-faceted replacement scheme incorporating solar and wind energy, sustainable waste processing, and overall reduction in consumption – on a local or regional scale, biomass may represent one of the most accessible options in the near-term.

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This option seems to have been keenly recognized by researchers at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and the Australian Government, the latter of which provided funding support through the Innovation Building Fund for the newly opened Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant, located on the site of the Racecourse Mill in Mackay, Queensland. Industry partners in the endeavour include Syngenta, Farmacule, and Mackay Sugar. An integrated facility containing both a working biorefinery and a research and development structure, the plant opened on July 9th, 2010, and was heralded by Premier Anna Bligh, Federal Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr, State Primary Industries Minister Tim Mulherin, and QUT Vice-Chancellor Professor Peter Coaldrake. The pilot plant aims to convert cellulosic biomass into renewable bioproducts – fuels, plastics and chemicals made from plant matter instead of petroleum. At the


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same time, the facility aims to link research and innovation in the field with assessment of the technology’s commercial viability for application throughout Australia. The plant is a multi-faceted facility, and includes elements to support every step of the process: harvesting; transportation; storage; pretreatment of materials; saccharification (breaking down a complex carbohydrate such as starch or cellulose into its monosaccharide components); fermentation; distillation; product concentration and recovery; processing; research; and analytical expertise. Prospective users of the facility can access the plant and its various elements; two fulltime employees are available to assist users with operation and with analysis of samples generated.

a biofuel capable of powering vehicles. In addition to sugarcane bagasse, the facility is also capable of processing a wide range of biomass feedstocks, including forest and garden waste, sweet sorghum, cassava, and algae, which collectively could be sourced from a number of partners throughout Australia. Waste products left over from the biofuel refining process can then be used to make further bio-products, including sustainable building materials, plastics, paints, waxes, resins, and adhesives. Senator Carr said the “cutting-edge” work that would occur at the Mackay plant could lead to a new, productive and profitable biorefining industry for Australia, while Mackay Canegrowers chairman Paul Schembri said the opening of the plant was a very positive move for the sugar industry, helping to shield producers from the volatility of the global sugar market.

One of the plant’s inaugural projects will focus on turning bagasse – the waste product from sugar cane production – into ethanol, Historically, one of the primary problems

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with large-scale biofuel production has been that planting crops directly for biofuel production takes precious arable land and resources away from food production. But by utilizing agricultural waste and by-products, biomass feedstock can be contributed to the industry without impacting negatively upon the global food supply. Professor James Dale, who heads QUT’s Centre for Tropical Crops and Biocommodities, says that, “these new low greenhouse gas industries have the potential to future-proof Australia from what is becoming a carbon-constrained world by using the plant-based waste that does not take from food production.” The technology being demonstrated at the Mackay plant is also scalable, and as such could be implemented at the neighbourhood or community level, or to biofuel production has the potential even in-house at agricultural sites. to replace up to 35 per cent of the state’s The plant’s potential benefits to the region unleaded petrol requirements. This would are many. Sugarcane is Queensland’s largest significantly reduce our need to import agricultural crop, and as such its contribution foreign oil, as well as reduce greenhouse August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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gas emissions, as “cleaner and greener” biofuels replace traditional petrol; bio-based products require less energy to manufacture and produce fewer greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants than do petroleumderived fuels and chemicals. Making use of a crop in its entirety also diverts waste from the landfill. The plant also represents a significant addition to the regional economy, not only to sugarcane farmers who will now have access to a second revenue stream for their crop, but also to researchers, developers, and investors within both the public and private sectors. Professor Dale believes the project will “bridge the gap between laboratory

research and commercial reality”, and could serve as an incubator facility where new biofuels and bioproducts are test-driven. As the technologies are proven, refined, and ultimately applied, the region could stand to gain thousands of new green jobs at every link in the chain, from crop production, to research and development, to production and distribution of the final product. As the global interest in – and market for – innovative bioproducts takes off, Mackay Renewable Biocommodities Pilot Plant has the potential to place the region at the forefront of an exciting new field that will impact significantly on energy security, climate change, and regional development. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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a project through to completion is crucial, as is following up once the work is done. At Mainbrace Constructions (NSW) Pty Limited, their motto is, “We Manage. We Build. We Deliver.” For over 20 years, Mainbrace Constructions has remained one of Australia’s building leaders, providing Construction Management services to retail, commercial and industrial developments. Making every project a priority, along with the company’s high quality work, attention to detail, and ontime delivery are just a few of the reasons Tried and true methods to keep your Mainbrace Constructions has an unparalleled customers coming back are simple and 85 per cent of new business – from repeat straightforward. Understanding and customers. appreciating the needs of your customers, keeping in touch with them, and showing “The company is a relationship and them the respect they deserve is a solid reputation-based business,” says Greg Scott, start. Maintaining an exceptional degree Managing Director and senior member of quality work from the planning stages of of the management team at Mainbrace sk anyone who owns a company, ‘What’s the best kind of business?,’ and they’ll invariably tell you, ‘repeat business.’ The reasons are simple from a successful business perspective. When you combine the overall costs involved with trying to attract new customers – such as sales, marketing, and various forms of advertising – it is much more expensive trying to gain new customers, as opposed to keeping the ones you already have.

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Constructions. “We actually place the project as the goal in order to make sure everybody’s performing for the project – whether it be consultants, subcontractors, or our own people – to make the project a success for the client.” Since the company was established in Sydney back in 1989 by Founding Directors Peter McKinnon and Greg Millson, many things have changed. Starting small, the company had only one or two clients in the first year, but quickly began building significant and longlasting relationships with some of Australia’s best-known retailers. From just one office and a staff of two, Mainbrace Constructions today employs over 100 people across 10 business units, and manages projects in three states.

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In just over two decades, the company has successfully completed over 500 projects, including design and construction, of everything from office space to cemeteries, and warehouses to shopping centres, with values from $500,000 to almost $40 million. Their commitment to detail, dedication to completing projects on time and on budget, and unwavering respect for their customers have seen them become a preferred contractor to a number of major Australian developers and retailers. “Woolworths is our number one client, and we do a lot of work for them, and we’re a preferred tender for Woolworths,� says Scott of the company, which also works with many other retail sector clients such as Aldi, IGA,

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and Coles. Mainbrace Constructions also deals closely with property developers, and negotiates their work with the company. “It means that we do get a lot of repeat business, and we don’t have to go out there and do a whole bunch of sales and watch to get on tender lists – we usually have enough in the opportunities we get through from our reputation and our repeat work, and still maintain a steady growth over the last 20 years of about twelve and a half per cent annual growth based on that policy.” Another reason so many clients keep coming back to Mainbrace for their projects is the company’s ability to manage every aspect of

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every project, from feasibility costing through to design, construction, and interior fit-out. Led by an experienced management team, the company has a solid corps of project managers, estimators, contract administrators, site managers, business support specialists, and trainees. Management is led by a team of young and dynamic professionals, combined with seasoned veterans in the field of construction, many with decades of training and experience. Some, like Scott, have been with the company for over a decade, and possess over 30 years of experience in the construction industry. “Our only asset is our people,” says Scott of the privately-owned firm. We don’t have a

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lot of equipment. It’s our expertise and our people that are our asset.” Since many of the company’s jobs are project-driven, staff are given a fair degree of autonomy over their work, which has helped to keep Mainbrace employees motivated, and feeling like they’re an integral part of a successful, team-driven group. “Even though it’s not a family-owned company, it does feel like a family.” Employees often socialize with one another outside of the workplace, and once a year, staff are given awards for excellence in teamwork, safety, individual performance, and other initiatives. At Mainbrace Constructions, strength in teamwork is not limited to personnel alone. The company has a wide range of software solutions to ensure predictability for every one of their projects. By utilizing a number of tools and platforms for forecasting and contract management, business intelligence, and performance management, the company is able to manage risk, ensure the availability of critical information, spot where

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improvements need to be made, and prevent unnecessary and time-consuming pitfalls and potential problems. For the past 21 years, the company has adopted a disciplined attitude, focused on doing the job right the first time, and avoiding unnecessary and costly rework. It comes as no surprise that Mainbrace remains the preferred contractor to many of Australia’s major developers and retailers, and their professional approach has earned the company over 100 projects with the same client. “Timing is a big part of what we deal with,” says Scott. “We have a reputation for completing our projects on time, and in the retail side of things, where we do a lot of our work, that is an important factor.” The company’s client list includes many well-known leaders in retail and commercial endeavours, such as BMW, the Gateway Shopping Centre, Park Beach Plaza, Ikea, 55 Market Street, Reef Casino, the Harrington


and crematorium where they’re developing their site,” says Scott. “It’s like subdivisions, they subdivide the land into burial plots, which requires roadworks and services and gravesites, which are just generally concrete grid pattern, to allow the tombstones to be erected on each plot.” On the retail side, the company has done a number of jobs on large stores, including a Big W Inverell discount department store. At a cost of $13.2 million, the project saw Grove Country Club, the Imax Cinema at Mainbrace Constructions create a new store Darling Harbour NSW, and a negotiated complete with a back of house and mezzanine contract for the Macquarie Park Cemetery. level, specialty stores, and car parks. Another recent large project was the creation “We’ve been working with the cemetery of a large new retail store for Woolworths

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Limited. At a cost of $37.2 million, Lane Cove Market Square in NSW features, among other amenities, three levels of basement parking, Woolworths, specialty stores, a library, and two levels of a Fitness First gym. The project, located in a difficult to access suburban area next to a primary school, was challenging. “It has tied together a lot of ad hoc retail areas in that particular suburb, and made it a very peoplefriendly place,” says Scott. “It turned out to be very successful all around.”

Centre in NSW was a staged redevelopment of an older, existing shopping centre. An extensive job, it required much more than an aesthetic upgrade, including mechanical, electrical, and fire services refurbishment, For the company, many projects bring their and the removal of hazardous materials. “It’s own obstacles that have to be conquered. At the main shopping centre in Woolongong that $20 million, the Wollongong Central Shopping we’ve refurbished over a five-month period,”

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asbestos material inside that had to be carefully removed. “That had to be controlled, monitored, and isolated while the work was being done.�

says Scott of the extensive renovations, which included all the malls, specialty shops, public areas, and relocated entrances. There were a number of challenges. First, the shopping centre remained open during the renovations, and safety for mall patrons was a priority. Second, the building, originally constructed in the Sixties, had a lot of old

Across all levels of the company, safety and environmental issues remain priorities. Utilizing a safety management system, all Mainbrace employees, and their suppliers and subcontractors, are expected to employ safe work practices and operate a safe workplace. On job sites, regular consultation with workers is mandatory, and weekly safety reviews and monthly audits provide all employees with regular feedback. When it comes to environmental and

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sustainability issues, Mainbrace constantly monitors and reviews their operations to ensure their projects minimize harm to the environment. This includes using protective measures to reduce harm to flora and fauna, limiting water use through efficient service installations, reusing storm and waste water when possible, controlling surface run-off, reducing energy use, recovering and recycling materials during construction, and safely disposing of hazardous materials. Although there are no government regulations at present governing commercial buildings and Green Star ratings for energy efficiency, Mainbrace is encountering more and more clients who want their buildings to be more

sustainable, and environmentally friendly. Some of the projects they have constructed include insulation in walls and roofs to reduce air conditioning costs, energy efficient light fittings, and using water recycling and rainwater harvesting for irrigation and flushing toilets. It is all part of the company’s approach to teamwork, getting the job done right, and building lasting relationships with their clients. “We’re a construction company that’s in it for the long term,” says Scott. “We base our work ethic on our values, on our integrity, teamwork, leadership, and excellence. We’re relationship and reputation-builders who work with our clients. That produces a result that means they want to come and work with us again.”

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W

hen a company has been in business for decades, it is often astonishing to reminisce about its humble beginnings, going back many years to a time when a handful of people got together, bought some equipment, and started out building a dream that would change not only their lives but the lives of future generations forever.

TRN was formed in 1966, with just two trucks. At that time, the business hauled road-building materials. Within a short time, the company won a tenyear contract with a local earthmoving company.

Back in 1966, one of these companies began with determination, plenty of hard work, and a goal. Working as operators for a local earthmoving business that had been sold, three brothers – Terry, Ron, and Neil Fordham – acquired two trucks, and began their own business: hauling roadbuilding materials. In a short time the company grew, and they won a ten-year contract with a local earthmoving company. The business kept expanding, more equipment was purchased, and new employees were hired. Over 40 years later, the company built by brothers Terry, Ron, and Neil is going strong, and other relatives, including their own children and cousins, are part of the company bearing the first initials of their names: The TRN Group. “All three brothers are still involved with the company,” says Glenn Fordham, the Director/ Construction Manager for TRN Group, and one of the son’s of original founder Ron Fordham. “They essentially started in coal cartage in their area, and then eventually diversified into plain hauling, and then got involved in contracting works, which is 90 to 95 per cent of our business now.”

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Over the decades, progress for this Australian company has been steady and successful. Back in the 1970s, TRN became a prominent coal-hauling sub-contractor after purchasing three local cartage contractors, and expanded its fleet with a scraper, dozer, loader, and a Traxcavator, a type of tractor/excavator. By 1989, TRN – along with two other companies – formed Bulkhaul Limited, winning the coal cartage rights in the Burragorang Valley. Over time, Bulkhaul Limited became Heggies Bulkhaul Pty Ltd, and by 2000 The TRN Group, outgrowing their original location in Camden,

moved into larger premises at Glenlee, near Narellan in New South Wales. With the next generation already involved in the company and its operations, the familyowned TRN Group has grown considerably over the years, and now employs 170 people, a tremendous expansion from the original three brothers over 40 years ago. One of the largest contractors in the area, they are widely known for the quality and consistency of their work, and their personalized, friendly service. With a large fleet of over 80 high-

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The company has a long tradition of personalised service and maintains a large fleet of high-specification vehicles. The fleet is made up of over eighty items of plant, including semi-tippers and earthmoving equipment.

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Harrington Grove Type of Work: Residential development – 300 lots, major signalled intersection, distributor roads. Location: Harrington Park Consent Authority: Camden Council Client: Harpak Pty Ltd

specification vehicles, including semi-tippers We’re pretty much on the ground, on the coal and earthmoving equipment, The TRN Group face ourselves, every day, so we know what’s is able to handle projects with skill and ease. going on.” The many repeat clients acquired by The TRN Group come from private-public developers and government bodies, and the company cites a number of reasons for their success. “Being local helps,” says Fordham, “and gives us an advantage. “We are also very hands-on. As a family-owned and operated business, we haven’t got a large managerial hierarchy.

For The TRN Group, being “on the ground” literally means having hands-on involvement in many aspects of bulk earthworks, roadworks, and a wide range of other construction services. TRN and staff are able to take on many jobs, including pavement construction, stormwater drainage, building retaining walls, soil remediation works,

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lot preparation (including segmental block retaining walls for immediate possession by builders), road and accessway construction, water quality improvement structures, and sewer, water, electrical, gas, and communications installations throughout entire subdivisions.

A member of the NSW branch of the Australian Trucking Association, TRN is committed to using the equipment in transport technology, like Iveco, Mack, and Kenworth, to move over 650,000 tonnes of material a year. Associated with a large number of quarries in New South Wales, TRN also has updated equipment and staff available for long or short term hire, including bulldozers, graders, water carts, low loaders and more, offering competitive rates and dependable service to their many customers.

With the Civil Contracting division remaining TRN’s largest business unit, the company is able to handle many major construction projects in South Western Sydney, from bulk earthworks to the complete construction of large industrial, commercial, and residential The company is putting their many services developments for government departments to work on a number of large, ongoing and well-known contractors and developers. projects, such as Oran Park, a massive new

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development which will be the geographical Park will combine modern-day shopping with centre of the Camden local government area, the civic amenities of a traditional town. and serve the needs of its growing population. Schools will be close to the town centre, with the full intention of the centre growing into “One of the largest projects we’ve got running an educational campus town. The area will be at the moment is Oran Park,” says Fordham. easily accessible to pedestrians and cyclists, The site of a former raceway in the Camden and 85 per cent of automobile parking will be area, The TRN Group is responsible for all underground. In addition, Oran Park will be the civil works, such as bulk earthworks, adjacent to the prestigious Harrington Park roadworks, and services. The project got and Harrington Grove, two of several other underway in December of 2008, is being built long-term projects TRN is working on. in stages, and will continue for years to come. The site of a former farm, Harrington Grove Working with a master plan approach, Oran is blossoming into a residential development Park will have a number of features that of 300 lots. The TRN Group is behind the differentiate it from other developments. project’s bulk earthworks (in excess With a tremendous focus on education, Oran of 300,000 m3), pavement

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construction (in excess of 80,000 m2), and storm water drainage. In addition, they are behind retaining wall construction, and sewer, water, electrical, gas, and communications installation throughout the entire subdivision.

180-lot residential development, required bulk earthworks, segmental block retaining walls, the construction of a sale village, road and accessway construction, water quality improvement structures, and more.

Despite the size of the company, Glenn “Harrington Grove is one of a number of Fordham says it is their personalised service long-term projects we’re working on,” says that has helped make The TRN Group a Fordham. “There are a lot of projects all running success. in this area that we’re involved with.” Others include Harrington Park, and Macarthur “We’re a very proud, family-owned business Gardens, to name a few. A residential that supports a lot of local people in this development of 600 lots, Harrington Park area,” he says. “We have a long history, also called upon TRN’s services for bulk and hopefully will have an even longer earthworks, pavement construction, and future supporting the development of this other infrastructure. Macarthur Gardens, a Macarthur area.”

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I

n today’s b is everyth of client rela deliver quali the top. In t safety require budgets, Mog to weave tog value into a n

Founded in Moggill Cons in southeast Q deeply invol company wit line. Moggill

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bustling construction industry, reputation hing. Companies rise and fall on the basis ationships, and those who consistently ity workmanship will inevitably rise to this competitive field, subject to strict ements, tight deadlines and often tighter ggill Constructions Pty Ltd has managed gether excellence, safety, innovation, and name its clients can rely on.

1973 by civil engineer Keith Bedford, structions is a family-run business based Queensland. Mr. Bedford himself remains lved to this day and has infused the th key values that go beyond the bottom believes that building good relationships

with its clients is the key to success, a success that shows in the company’s strong reputation as a leader in the region. The company places a similar value on relationships with its own members; Moggill has built a strong team of dedicated, qualified engineers, and has enjoyed long-term employee retention seldom seen in other modern companies. Marc Kuypers, Moggill’s General Manager, emphasizes the importance of these values. He speaks fondly of a labourer who recently retired after 35 years with the company and describes the importance of building solid relationships, working closely with the client from a project’s inception all the way through to its completion. “The company”, says Mr. Kuypers, “takes pride in being able to deliver on all fronts, including

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communication with the client, meeting safety, environmental, budgetary, and time constraints, and of course, producing a top-quality finished product. These priorities, combined with Moggill’s ability to think outside the box, have made Moggill Constructions the go-to company for the most challenging projects in the area”. Rather than shying away from the tougher jobs, Moggill is known for taking on challenging and technically innovative tasks. Railway and bridge projects in particular often pose unique construction challenges which must be overcome, and Moggill has extensive experience in both of these areas. 2007’s Mitchelton to Keperra Rail Duplication

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Project for Queensland Rail represents an ideal example of Moggill’s commitment to quality, critical timelines, and cost effectiveness. A multi-faceted project which included bulk earthworks, micro excavation, precision steelwork, station upgrades and enhancements, and the installation of a pedestrian bridge over the operational track, shade structures, and lift towers, the work was completed under strict procedural and safety guidelines, in a timely manner, on budget, and to a very high technical standard. The station remained fully operational throughout the construction period, signifying Moggill’s commitment not only to its customer, but to public stakeholders – rail commuters, in this case – within the community at large. Coffey Information is a Coffey International Limited company and part of a multi-specialist organisation that is connected to a global network of specialists beyond ground engineering and testing. Our services add value to projects around the world from our offices in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and Canada.

Extraordinary People Extraordinary Projects Extraordinary Outcomes

We are looking for base laboratory and project geotechnicians to join our specialist teams. To register your interest for future employment opportunities with Coffey Information or to view current positions available, please visit: coffey.com. Join our team to work on interesting technical challenges and pioneer new solutions and new approaches for our world.

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1997’s Indooroopilly Bikeway and Pedestrian Bridge represents a similar achievement of ingenuity in construction. Constructed alongside the Walter Taylor Bridge and the Heritage Listed Albert Bridge, the bikeway spans the Brisbane River and blends seamlessly into its surroundings, augmenting, rather than supplanting the adjacent 1890s rail bridge. Construction of this bridge included a three span cable stay structure – including one 167m span which completely crossed the river – a multi strand cable support system, two 41m high towers, two support trusses, precast concrete slabs, hand railing and lighting. Moggill’s design experience shone through in this project, as its alternative single span design eliminated the original requirement for two piers in the

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Brisbane River, while simultaneously reducing costs by 15%. Part of what enables Moggill to tackle such demanding projects is its own large fleet of heavy equipment and machinery. Owning and maintaining such a fleet allows Moggill to perform the bulk of its work in-house, ensuring a high capacity to handle projects from start to finish, even during boom times in the industry when competitors may be scrambling for equipment. It also gives the company and its clients the assurance that all plant is up-to-date, low-hour, and maintained to the highest safety and environmental standards. Moggill holds itself to these high standards,


setting itself apart from the crowd. Since its inception, the company has set high, institution-wide protocols for its quality, health and safety, and environmental practices. In recent years, these practices have received third-party accreditation, and Moggill now sees its practices certified to the highest international standards. The company has also been listed in the Queensland Government Register of Quality Assured Suppliers. Moggill views these accreditations as more than just pieces of paper; they represent the philosophy of quality and workmanship which underpins everything Moggill does. Committed to performing top-quality work safely, on budget, and on time, Moggill August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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is equally committed to acting in an environmentally responsible manner. Not only do many of its projects involve either working directly in the natural environment – riverbank protection and creek improvement projects, for example – or bringing nature into the cities, through streetscaping and footpath projects, but even Moggill’s large construction works view the protection of the natural environment as a priority. The company works to minimize waste and vehicle emissions, performs monitoring throughout projects to ensure its environmental compliance, and has undertaken a number of projects in support of environmental stewardship, such as the Browns Plains Smart Tip and Nambour landfill projects, wherein Moggill installed Geosynthetic Clay Liners to prevent chemical and heavy metal leakage into soil and groundwater. Equally strong is Moggill’s commitment to its community. Marc Kuypers emphasizes the company’s care and concern for the Brisbane area and its citizens and its respect for natural and cultural heritage sites can be seen in many of Moggill’s projects. 2002’s rehabilitation works on the Old Walton Bridge involved the careful removal of old walkways and bridge surfaces, and the construction of a new walkway, new stormwater drainage and new stone pitched abutments, all while protecting an environmentally-sensitive and Heritage Listed 100-year-old site. Moggill performed similar due diligence when executing the Vic Olsen Bridge Replacement within a Cultural

Heritage Site. In an industry which demands innovation and diversity of expertise, Moggill Constructions Pty Ltd has proven itself a true leader. Able to tackle projects large and small, straightforward and challenging, Moggill’s versatility and commitment to quality shines through. If reputation is everything, it is clear that Moggill Constructions’ is well-earned. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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ncreasingly in recent years, energy efficiency has come to be considered an important step in undertaking sustainability programmes to reduce our impact on climate change through carbon emissions. As consumers are becoming more aware of sustainability issues and the need for society to act accordingly, businesses and property owners are being forced to increase their corporate social responsibility strategies to include energy efficiency and sustainability. Following the increased awareness among businesses and property owners, carbon emissions have moved further up the political agenda. Buildings account for just under a quarter (23%) of all carbon emissions with ten per cent coming from commercial buildings. Under new legislation, rolling out through the second half of this year, commercial building owners who sell or lease office space of more than 2000m 2 are August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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required to disclose their energy-efficiency information. This mandatory disclosure includes providing a purchaser or potential tenant with a greenhouse rating from the National Australian Built Environmental Rating Scheme (NABERS), which benchmarks a building’s greenhouse impact using a one to five star rating. The introduction of the Building Energy Efficiency Disclosure Act 2010 paves the way for a sea of change in the way commercial building owners operate. The scheme places responsibility for reporting squarely on the shoulders of building owners by requiring them to disclose the transparency of buildings’ sustainability credentials through registering for a Building Energy Efficiency Certificate, which discloses the sustainable qualities of the property, or face fines of up to $110,000. This in turn means owners and developers will be compelled to implement energy efficiency initiatives in their buildings. Long before energy efficiency became a fashionable buzz word, the team at mySmart CTI set out to position themselves as leaders in the energy efficiency solution industry. Established, originally as CTI (Complete

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Technology Integrations), in Sydney in 2001, mySmart CTI remains wholly Australian owned. The company now has five offices across Australia and employs more than 45 staff. The company uses the latest technology, and highly-trained consultants and technicians, to optimise buildings and outdoor environments to ensure the use of less energy and resources while simultaneously driving down ongoing operational costs.

across the country and across a variety of markets including hospitality, education, health services, retail, residential, defence and industrial as well as for decisionmakers within the building, academic and government sectors. Its customers include Sydney Opera House, NRMA, Taronga Zoo, Qantas, AXA, Crowne Plaza Hotels and Ikea, as well as Australia’s largest DALI project at Westpac’s headquarters.

mySmart CTI provides consulting, engineering, installation, post-installation service and ongoing management for a range of public, private and residential projects

Crowne Plaza Melbourne – enGauge Behavioural Change Display Crowne Plaza Melbourne is one of the first businesses to install enGauge, a

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Crowne Plaza Terrigal ‘sustainability indicator’ that allows the hotel to visually share its sustainability strategy with employees and guests through visibility into energy-usage data, both real-time and historical. Animated slides allow the portable enGauge screen to display statistical data on a building’s use of energy, gas, water; its generation of waste; and its carbon emissions. Robin Power, Area Chief Engineer, Crowne Plaza Melbourne, said: “As we live in an era when caring for the environment is important to most people, customers are pleased to see hard evidence that Crowne Plaza Melbourne and our own staff are serious about reducing the impact that a building and business such as ours can have on our surroundings. Our employees also find it rewarding to see the

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results of all their sustainability efforts.” Crowne Plaza Melbourne’s environmental policy demonstrates a strong corporate social responsibility by addressing all aspects of the hotel’s operations. It engages supply chain, employees and management as well as guest and visitor participation in environmental initiatives. Crowne Plaza Terrigal – In Room Control Solutions Following the success at Crowne Plaza Melbourne, mySmart CTI was given the opportunity to develop an energy saving solution for the Terrigal hotel, as part of Chief Engineer, Grant Slater’s ambitious plan to use smart technologies to reduce impact on the


environment and improve the level of service to guests. Crowne Plaza Terrigal installed the Hotel Room Control System, which intelligently controls the air conditioning in each of its 199 guest rooms. The integrated room management system for each room includes a Smart Digital Thermostat. Using motion sensors and door switches, the system knows when the room is in use, controlling the temperature and lighting accordingly. As a whole, the energy savings have reduced carbon emissions substantially, over 100 tonnes each month or 1,200 tonnes each year which is equivalent to removing over 400 cars from our roads for one year. In rooms

where the system is in place, the saving from reduction in guest use of air conditioning and lighting in December 2009 compared with December 2008 was 49%. 99 Macquarie Street, Sydney – Retrogreening The need for modern sustainability solutions in heritage-listed properties is creating new types of considerations in the building industry. With growing social concerns around sustainability and increased utility costs, 99 Macquarie Street engaged mySmart CTI to put forward an energy-saving solution that could be incorporated into the existing structure of the building. As a heritage listed building, the challenge was to ensure no damage occurred to the existing surface during the installation. Installing Frenger August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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It became apparent the transformer on the street lacked enough capacity for the Club’s power supply if it ran over 400amps. Replacing the transformer would cost over $250,000 so it was deemed installing live metering equipment to monitor the electricity consumption of the Club was the best solution. Using mySmart CTI technologies, a system of live load monitoring of electricity Randwick Labor Club – Power Management consumption was developed. In 2007, Randwick Labor Club rebuilt the second level gaming area, upgraded fire Bill Clegg, Randwick Labor Club manager safety, including sprinklers and installed a new says, “The programme has not only saved us electricity switchboard with a single supply a significant amount of initial financial outlay and a new foyer. It subsequently became [the project only cost the Club $33,000] but evident that the Club was under supplied has also been able to provide us with a better with power, resulting in regularly overloaded understanding of how we’re using our power. fuses and power drop outs. Systems integral to the Club’s business and service to its This has also helped us save money on energy members were affected, including lighting, bills. Most important, however, is the fact air conditioning and refrigeration, meaning that our members know they can rely on us the Club had to close until the fuses were again to provide a quality service and always have our doors open when they should be.” replaced, resulting in a loss of trade. chilled beam units, incorporating light fittings, a fire sprinkler system as well as the primary air conditioning, and reducing the impact of services on the buildings internal structure were a unique feature of the refurbishment. Careful strategic integration with all services, the heritage architect and the heritage office were required to complete the project.

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F

rom humble beginnings, great companies are serve as a sales and service company of Key born. Telephone Systems and PABX’s on NSW’s the east coast. Soon, Central Coast Telephone Back in 1989, soon after the deregulation of Systems became the Number One regional telecommunications in Australia, a company telecommunication company in NSW for called Central Coast Telephone Systems the supply of Panasonic, NEC, and fixed line (CCTS) Pty Ltd was formed. Starting out in services. As with many operations that start a small office and shopfront in Gosford, off small, the company outgrew its rented New South Wales, it was initially created to space, and realised several changes were

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Introducing Sika Technology Limited Sika Technology Limited was established in Auckland, New Zealand in 1989 as a privately owned, limited liability company. Sika manufacture innovative die cast aluminium solutions for underground service networks, producing lightweight aluminium Security Access Cover Sets and Kitset Aluminium Jointing Chambers for both roadway and pathway situations, offering a faster, safer and cheaper solution to the traditional concrete and cast iron. Sika has gained the reputation as a market leader in the development and production of aluminium die cast solutions for the telecommunications and municipal utility sectors. State of the art programmable tilt die casting technology allows Sika to produce standards compliant Security Access Cover Sets twice the size of the comparable cast iron product and weighing 70% less.

From this.....

â??Faster, Safer, Cost Effective by Design â?ž

Sika Technology Limited has a commitment to product development and the production of quality product. Our Engineering Department, Design Office and Research and Development staff work to ensure constant improvement of our product and to the efficiency of our processes. Sika are ISO 9001:2000 certified by Lloyds Register Quality Assurance for the design and manufacture of sand and die cast aluminium alloy products.

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To this.....

In only eight minutes!


Aluminum Optic Fibre Jointing Chambers The New Sika Solution is made up of a Kitset Aluminium Jointing Chamber and a Pathway Security Access Cover Set with a new Channel Frame (Patent Pending). This innovative Cover Set Channel Frame integrates with Sika’s Aluminium Jointing Chamber and was developed to eliminate the need for a reinforced concrete support collar. The New Sika Solution dramatically reduces the cost of installation and removes the need for contractors to return to the site for de-shuttering and finishing details.

No concrete support collar required for the new Cover Set Channel Frame.

No next day return to de-shutter.

Height adjustability.

Rigid maintenance free materials allowing full ground compaction. “Faster, Cheaper, One Stop Installation”

Lightweight and OSH compliant.

Stainless steel security locking system.

Packaged for simplified procurement.

Low freight and handling costs.

200mm Chamber Extension now available for a 900mm deep chamber.

Four chambers can be installed per day by a four man gang.

Semi-skilled labour required.

Easy installation in confined spaces, especially if using the new 400 wide Chamber series.

Easy ground level adjustment.

Can be easily installed over existing cables or ducts.

Enclosures and cable management accessories bolted to chamber walls

PVC duct entry panels require only hand tools.

Corrosion resistant castings.

Installation instructions and product specifications are available on www.sikatech.co.nz

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in order. In 1995, they relocated operations to larger premises at Wyoming, NSW, and the company began trading under the name, CCTS Telecommunications. Early on, CCTS established a solid reputation as an approachable, solution-based company to their clients, a reputation that continues to this day. “We give clients peace of mind in the products they have delivered to them,” says Ian Richter. “We offer turnkey solutions, which takes all the worry out of the clients’ hands. We will look after everything, and will meet their expectations.” A Non Executive Director of Central Coast Telephone Systems Pty. Ltd., an associated company, and executive director of CCTS Telecommunications Construction Pty Ltd, Richter has been working in the

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telecommunications industry for 23 years, starting as an apprentice, and rapidly working his way up, earning qualifications in communications, electrical engineering, and management over the years. To further develop and expand the success and scope of the company, CCTS Telecommunications Construction Pty Ltd was formed in 1999. Created to take advantage of the continuing leveraging-off of telecommunications deregulation – and the many emerging opportunities in the telecommunications market – the move also served to expand CCTS’ business in Australia. In addition to the expansion into construction, the company established a greater presence through an office and workforce at Strathfield, in Sydney, to service a contract with Telstra, and expand their client base.


“CCTS Telecommunications Construction all Australian carriers,” says Richter, “from offers network construction and main- your main carriers in Australia to your secondtenance, including design commissioning for tier carriers.” TELECOMMUNICATIONS AND ELECTRICAL PRODUCTS BVCI has supplied Australia’s major telecommunications and electrical carriers for over 30 years, and is instrumental in the design and implementation of products for Australia’s telecommunications and electrical networks.

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NSW Head Office Ph: 02 9395 1400 Alexandria (NSW) Ph: 02 9304 4555 Queensland Ph: 07 3890 5888 Victorian Ph: 03 9646 4166 Western Australian Ph: 08 9361 7000 ACT Ph: 02 6162 4600

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NEW SOUTH WALES Wetherill Park NSW 2164 T 0447 000 279

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In the coming years, CCTS continued its rapid expansion in telecommunications across the country. In 2002, they further developed their capabilities in telecommunication survey and design when they acquired the resources of a telecommunications design group. That same year, CCTS formed a telecommunications electronics group with a focus on telephone exchange builds and telecommunications multiplexing equipment, helping to achieve national contracts with Australia’s major telco carriers. Soon, CCTS furthered its expansion by purchasing its premises. Located in Lasarow, NSW, the company’s head office is positioned between two of the major cities in New South

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Wales – Sydney and Newcastle – enabling CCTS to better serve its customers throughout the area. “We work on a national basis,” says the company’s Executive Director, Kerry White. A veteran of the telecommunications industry for the past 30 years, White started out as a cable line serviceman, and quickly worked his way through to supervisor, technical instructor, professional in the design and installation of optic fibre networks and techniques, and operational manager to a staff of 220 before becoming the driving force behind CCTS Telecommunications, and their establishment of the CCTS construction division. “We work from Queensland right


down through to Tasmania. We also work Western Australia, Tasmania and New South with Australian northern territory, and south Wales. Australia.” Combined with decades of hands-on From 2007 to the present day, CCTS has experience, training, and state of the art continued to grow its operations. The company equipment, CCTS can install and maintain a achieved ISO 9001 quality accreditation, wide range of telecommunications-based and soon achieved accreditation for AS4801 technologies and services, including optic Health and Safety and ISO 14001. CCTS fibre networks, Can electronics, design and Telecommunications Construction received construct, aerial construction, copper cable contracts with VicTrack (Victorian Rail Track), networks, civil construction, and design and and soon established an office and warehouse survey, risk reduction, exchange equipment facility around Melbourne to service the builds, direct fibre and copper ploughing, VicTrack contract, and to establish further multiplexing electronics, tele power, and relationships with area clients. In 2008, remote cabinet and housing installations. after being awarded a national contract with Optus for the installation of their Broadband “We design and construct networks, inclusive networks, CCTS has a solid presence in all of everything from the cable installation to the underground to the aerial cable installation, states of Australia. including all the exchange electronics that Today, the company continues to grow, go in line with the cable to make everything building upon their past reputation for quality work,” says the company’s Ian Richter. We service and solutions. By managing clients in look at a customer’s brief, what they want to Queensland, they continue to successfully achieve, and then we work on the feasibility build business opportunities, and with 120 as to how we can design and construct options employees in three states, they have the for them. Our designs include all things, experience, technology, and dedication to from where we are going to put the cable to all other issues that are involved, and the serve the needs of all of their clients. engineering requirements to get the cable in CCTS Construction is able to fulfill any the ground, to enable the constructability of and all construction and maintenance of the network the client is after.” telecommunication infrastructure networks for their clients. Working on a national level, Known for completing jobs reliably, on they have successfully completed projects in time, and with the highest degree of all states and territories, and are presently professionalism, CCTS has earned the trust working on projects in Victoria, Queensland, and respect of countless clients across August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Australia. The company has undertaken jobs for a wide variety of clients. For AARNet, the Australian Academic Research Network, they were instrumental in the creation of a network of backbone cable stretching from Perth to Brisbane, with two geographically diverse POP sites in six capital cities. CCTS has been instrumental in the design and construction of numerous sites in NSW, Victoria, Western Australia and Queensland, and continues to assist AARNet in the delivery of highspeed optical fibre across Australia.

racts with Telstra, CCTS is providing design and build services in their optic fibre network, including project management, design, installation, commissioning and network integration and maintenance.

Despite their success, CCTS is a company that believes in caring not only for their clients, but children, and for many years has been a proud supporter of Cure Our Kids, a nonprofit charity dedicated to the cancer unit at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, to improve the quality of life for children with cancer, Through several ongoing projects and cont- and their families. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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n today’s fast-paced world, getting in touch quickly and easily with reliable connections is more important than ever before. From construction crews at job sites to mine workers, and essential safety and security services like police, ambulance, and fire departments, all require reliable, efficient, and secure means of reaching one another, and staying in contact. As one of the country’s foremost radio communications integrator providers, ComGroup Australia Pty Ltd leads the way in linking

customers in a wide variety of sectors, such as emergency services, transportation, utility, and mining sectors. By offering the latest in two-way radio communication solutions, ComGroup has earned a stellar reputation for quality, innovation, and reliability – essential factors when you’re dealing with emergency situations, where seconds can make all the difference in the world. “Our core business is two-way radio,” says Ross Evill, State Manager for Western Australia of ComGroup, who also has a design arm, and perform service, August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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maintenance, installation, and engineering. Priding themselves on their well-earned reputation for quality products, innovation, and performance, ComGroup Australia is dedicated to the optimum level of customer service. The company has a long and rich history of expertise in Radio Communications, dating all the way back to 1939, and Pye radio. During the Second World War, Pye designed and manufactured wireless radios for the military, and later for police cars. By 1952, the company began to manufacture radios in Australia. “Then it evolved from that into the Philips Mobile Communications,” says Evill, “and from there it evolved from Philips into a group called Simoco, and then into ComGroup.” The presentday ComGroup Australia was created in 2001, when a management buyout team acquired the

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systems and service arm of Simoco Pacific. Today, with over seven decades of experience, ComGroup Australia is set to embrace the future of communications across the country, and work with their many customers in a variety of areas, including public safety. Police departments – such as the Royal Papua New Guinea Police Constabulary and the New South Wales Police – count on ComGroup for reliability, critical in police work. In New Guinea, the Police Constabulary’s two-way radio system was upgraded by ComGroup, with a project that involved the supply of hand-held, mobile, and portable radios with an extensive network of fixed, mobile, and portable repeater stations. In NSW, ComGroup provided police in urban and rural areas with mobiles with August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Royal Papua New Guinea Police Constabulary Two-way radio system has been upgraded by ComGroup. The technology is used to support command and control operations for the national elections.

Queensland Fire & Rescue Queensland Fire & Rescue use Simoco radios to communicate to all fire-fighting personnel. Cross band repeaters enables communication between Queensland Fire & Rescue and the Rural Fire.

Yellow Cabs and Black & White Cabs - Brisbane

NSW Police has addressed both their metropolitan and rural requirements with Simoco products supplied by ComGroup.

Rural Ambulance Service

Rural Ambulances have been fitted with Simoco SRM9000 VHF & UHF radios. The latest technology with mobile repeaters in the field allows drivers to have improved radio coverage for reliable communications.

NSW Transit Authority

ComGroup provides base site infrastructure, maintains both voice and data repeaters for Yellow Cabs and Black & White Cabs in Brisbane and surrounding areas.

The State Transit Authority has a fleet of 1800 buses in the Sydney and Newcastle area, every time a new bus is added to its fleet it is fitted with a Simoco SRM9030 radio.

Comalco - Weipa

Mining - Western Australia

ComGroup has designed, supplied and installed a five site MPT trunked radio system solution, including mobile and portables for Comalco and continually expands the radio system.

ComGroup has been successful in providing a flexible communication solution to mining industries such as Alcoa, Hamersley Iron, Rio Tinto, BHP Mines and Dampier Salt Mines.

City West Water and Barwon Water

Quickskips

Vehicle location has become an important resource management tool as well as an occupational health and safety issue.

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An Automatic Vehicle Location System assists Quickskips in tracking vehicles for improved resource management and customer service.


digital encryption, and radios with multimode capabilities that ensure maximum flexibility for interagency operations. The company is also a provider of communication services and solutions to many other essential services, like Queensland Fire and Rescue, and the Rural Ambulance Service, which has been outfitted with Simoco SRM9000 VHF and UHF radios. Using the latest technology along with mobile repeaters in the field allows ambulance drivers to have reliable communications at all times. ComGroup Australia’s clients are a mix of private and government work. “We do contracts with government departments across Australia,” says Evill. “It depends on the state. Some states are more government-focused than others; some are more mining-focused than others. For example, Western Australia and Queensland are more mining-focused, rather than stategovernment focused. However, New South Wales and Victoria have less a mining bent, and have more of a corporate industry and government bent.”

capacity from the mine site through to the port, wherever it is, and all the associated communication requirements that go with that,” says Evill, “so that could be a couple of hundred to a thousand kilometers of railway line communications, as well as satellite mines, safety management, and operational groups.” In addition to serving mining and construction, ComGroup Australia’s services are used by taxi cabs in Brisbane, and over 1,800 buses used by the New South Wales Transit Authority – in fact, every new bus added to the fleet is equipped with a Simoco SRM9030 radio. Water services, natural resources sectors, Pacific National locomotives, and the City of Victor Harbour all use ComGroup to serve

A key player in providing communications to the country’s construction and mining sectors, ComGroup often supplies on-site, person-toperson and equipment-to-person two-way radio communications to all construction workers on the a site. In mining, being able to keep in touch is just as crucial. “The major part of that business is everything that is required to get a radio communications August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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their essential communication needs. In addition, ComGroup Australia was awarded a major contract with the Victorian Sate Emergency Service, and will supply twoway radio equipment and vehicle location technology to over 750 mobile and fixed sites in Victoria. The contract is another major accomplishment for the company, and a strong vote of confidence for their Australiandesigned technology, which is available across the country. “We’re in mainland Australia, and there is an office in every major capital city,” says Evill. “That includes assistance, integration, supply, and also service and maintenance in all of the major cities. We serve the entire country of Australia, plus Tasmania. We have offshore distributors and integrators, and we also have an office in Taiwan.” With about 100 employees at ComGroup Australia, the company remains one of the largest and best-known providers in the country. As manufacturers of their own brand, Simoco, they are able to offer their customers a wide variety of well-made products at competitive rates. All the research and development is based in Victoria, and the actual manufacturing is carried out in Taiwan, where there is a great deal of highly skilled, specialist engineering. “We offer product support, full warranty and maintenance, along with lifetime maintenance offers, onsite system maintenance, and preventative maintenance systems,” says Evill.” We also provide engineering development for specific applications, and have a product support arm

which is quite unique in Australia.” At ComGroup Australia, they realize that communications is a serious business, for construction and mine workers, police, firemen, ambulance drivers, environmental workers, and many others. Technology must not only be reliable, but durable, and companies need to offer state of the art equipment, service, training, and support that customers expect, including drive-in and onsite repairs, technical support, vehicle installation, site maintenance, and more. “We believe ComGroup is the best company in performance, capability, and product,” says Evill. And few can disagree with a company that has been in business for over 70 years. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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hen many people think of housing projects, often the first things to come to mind are sprawling new developments consisting of several hundred homes, surrounded by manicured lawns, fountains, bicycle and jogging paths, and other structures such as recreation centres, schools, churches, libraries, and even shopping malls. In remote, isolated areas of Australia, there is a great need for housing of another kind: well-built structures specifically constructed to accommodate the country’s Aboriginal communities. In remote Aboriginal communities throughout Western Australia, including the Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankuntyjatjara Lands in northern South Australia, and the Northern Territory, one company is behind the creation of these much-needed structures, creating everything from single residential housing units to duplexes, multi-unit dwellings, police stations,

health clinics, aged care facilities, single classrooms, and even complete schools. Formed in Western Australia in 1987, Murray River North Pty Ltd was established by Bryan Howells and Ian McLarty to take on construction projects in remote areas of the country. Often, the roads are practically inaccessible, especially in the colder months. Some communities can only be reached by water. Despite the challenges that come with building in isolated areas, the work itself greatly benefits Aboriginal communities, and is rewarding. “There was a need for the government to start servicing some of the remote communities, and we had all the machinery, and thought, why not get involved in doing it?� says Murray River North General Manager, Roger Piggott. The company initially started out doing onsite construction, but soon realized that it was August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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stations, child care facilities, arts centres, even pool buildings. Before construction in isolated areas can commence, all work starts at the company’s manufacturing facilities at its head office in Pinjarra WA, and Alice Springs and Darwin in the Northern Territory. In Pinjarra, the company has its own steel manufacturing and cabinet making facilities. Murray River North uses steel for a number of reasons: it is extremely strong, it doesn’t absorb moisture Through planning and working on hundreds like wood products, and is lighter than wood. of sites over the years, the company has Termites are also a major issue to deal with developed and established capabilities to when building in remote areas. build and deliver housing and other buildings to remote areas of the country that remain “We manufacture everything,” says Piggott of unrivalled. Along with housing, Murray River the company and its 45 employees. “We do all North is able to construct and deliver power the steel framing, so that’s the walls and the better to construct houses at their facilities, and then transport them to remote areas, where they could be completed. “There are a lot of very remote communities throughout Kimberly, and one thing led to another,” says Piggott. “The government couldn’t actually find anybody to do these projects. There were no mainstream builders or anybody who could do these works, because they were so remote.”

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roof, and all the structural steel, so we have a them in and out” says Piggott. “Managing steel manufacturing facility for that. And we those people out there is important, and also have a cabinet shop where we do all our built-in cabinets for kitchens and bathrooms.” For the privately-owned company, there are a number of other differences between building houses in remote areas, and constructing suburbs. Getting to the areas themselves can be difficult, as some of them are, literally, shut off from the rest of the world anywhere from three to six months of the year. Weather is not always on the side of CSR is proud to have a close association with the builder. Finding trades people and other Murray River North workers who are willing to travel to a remote and congratulates them for their contribution in housing and public facilities construction site and live there for a period of time can in remote communities in WA, SA and NT. also be challenging. “Compared to a local We look forward to seeing them continue builder in downtown Perth, you’ve got to be to grow and further serve remote communities in the future. able to feed them, accommodate them, get

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having the experience to know where to put concrete house pads seen in normal homes, except they are modular, poured in molds them, and how to access accommodation.” within the company’s manufacturing facility. Over the years, Murray River North has earned Steel wires run lengthwise and across the a reputation for their quality, reliability, slab to put on tension, and the MPa (strength and consistency of service. Constructing of the concrete) is much higher than that communities for State and federal used in conventional house slabs. The result? government departments, the company has A pre-stressed concrete slab that is more devised innovative construction and logistics rigid than a normal house slab, and able to solutions that have made them a leader in the withstand being trucked long distances to field of remote construction. Structures are remote areas, often over uneven terrain. modular, steel-framed, and use pre-stressed concrete floors, a technology pioneered by “They get poured in the yard, they set in the Murray River North. The company makes yard, and we build the whole house on top hundreds of pre-stressed slabs per year at its of it. Then a truck comes in, picks up the Alice Springs facility, which operates seven whole house, and takes it up to the site,” days a week with staff and subcontractors. says Piggott. “Eighty per cent of the house is The pre-stressed concrete floors are similar to complete. It’s already tiled, it’s got lights in

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it, it’s all air conditioned, everything, before very difficult to construct homes and other it goes up to the site.” Once the structure buildings in remote areas. The houses arrives at its remote location, it is set in place, and the remaining 20 per cent of the work is done, resulting in a finished house, school, or wide range of other buildings. “They’re a completed product. Some of the larger health clinics have up to 20-odd slabs in them. Once the products are finished, they all get taken apart bit by bit, taken to the site, and reassembled on site. It’s a brilliant method, because you’re so remote, and so far out.” The method allows Murray River North the ability to deliver about 300 residences to Aboriginal locations per year, and manufacturing the structures in their facilities allows them great quality control. Prior to the company’s innovative construction methods, it was

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were built much as they would be in a new suburban development, where specialists in concrete, steel and other areas had to travel and live in these locations until the project was completed. In addition to manufacturing facilities, Murray River North has all their own earthmoving equipment, and are able to do all their own civil works. The company sets up their own work camps in remote communities, including accommodation units, modules, and kitchens. Depending on the size of the project, it can take anywhere from three to eight weeks to complete, a fraction of the time it would take if all the work was done on site. Another advantage of building homes using modular construction is that the company can hire local Aboriginal people wherever possible, in workshops, plumbing, carpentry, and other areas. In addition, working offsite also allows

for training opportunities for locals. The projects are government-funded, and buildings constructed by Murray River North comply with standards from the State and Territory Buildings Acts and Regulations, The Building Code of Australia, Australian Standards, State and Territory housing and environmental health standards and guidelines, and The National Indigenous Housing Guide. At present, the company is in the process of finishing 28 houses for the WA government. “It’s one of those areas where a lot of this work – and it is absolutely fantastic what we do out there – never gets seen by the public, which is a bit of a shame,” says Piggott of the company whose work will continue to benefit hundreds of Australia’s Aboriginal communities. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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By Lynn Hamilton

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very issue, Australian Construction Focus profiles a structure of unique historical, cultural, or environmental significance. This month, we take a closer look at The Melbourne Convention Centre.

features such as energy efficient heating and cooling systems, a black water treatment plant, and renewable and low emissions building materials. Not only is The Melbourne Convention Centre built with a focus on sustainability, but it also includes state of the art technology and architectural ingenuity to As the first convention centre in the world to make it a fully functional, visually impressive, be granted a ‘6 Star Green Star’ environmental and environmentally friendly event space. rating, The Melbourne Convention Centre may only be just over a year old but it is At first glance, a notable feature of the certainly a significant part of history. The building is a vast, 18 metre high glass façade. centre contains innovative sustainable design It offers a lovely view of the Yarra River and it

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also provides a great amount of natural light to the foyer, reducing the need for artificial light fixtures and reducing winter heating requirements. Throughout the summer months cooling needs are reduced by the angular roof which protects the foyer from direct solar heat. Where artificial lighting is needed, fixtures are energy efficient and equipped with daylight and motion detectors, decreasing the energy use and radiant heat that would be associated less efficient light bulbs.

system. In this type of system, heated or cooled water is circulated through the floor, conditioning the space. This heat is more efficient because it is transferred directly to the people and objects in the room and no energy is lost in duct work. Water is also heated efficiently in The Melbourne Convention Centre. A solar hot water system is installed to provide all of the public amenity hot water required.

Water use is a concern across the globe but it is of special concern in Australia’s warm Efficient temperature control is also supplied dry climate. The centre uses a black water through a radiant slab heating and cooling treatment system to limit the massive water August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Green Design Only 56 Spotted Gum trees from a sustainable Australian plantation were used to cover 8500 square metres of veneer panelling in the plenary, foyer and grand banquet room. The convention centre has a unique air conditioning system that uses low level air delivery and high level air exhaust in the plenary and foyer areas to provide effective air flow with low energy consumption. The 18 metre glass faรงade provides high levels of natural light to the foyer and pre-function spaces reducing the need for artificial light. The convention centre has a black water treatment plant which treats wastewater, rainwater and stormwater to Grade A quality for re-use in the building.

Ground Floor Foyer The maritime history of the area is represented by the colour orange featured throughout the centre. This colour was used to paint the hulls of ships. The floor pattern uses six different colour tiles to represent the tidal flow of the Yarra River. The staircase screens are made from perforated aluminium sheets. Boasts an 18 metre high glass faรงade fronting the Yarra River with views all the way to Federation Square. Accommodates 8400 guests. Ground Floor YA R

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Compounds (VOCs). VOCs are gases emitted by a wide range of materials and can contribute to air pollution and contaminate soil and ground water. Also, many recent studies show that the production of PVC plastic releases large volumes of toxins into the environment and PVC is not typically recycled due to the high cost associated, so the use of PVC in the building is limited and alternatives were used where possible. The architects also know that forests are important for more than just wood products; they provide food, clean water, fresh air, habitat for thousands of animal species and the list goes on. That is why when choosing timber to cover surfaces equalling 8500m 2 in veneer panelling they chose wood that was certified by the Forest Stewardship Council to be responsibly forested. The FSC was established as a not-for-profit organisation to promote responsible management of forests worldwide. Like the wood products, furnishings and floor coverings were chosen for their sustainability and contain a high amount of recycled content.

use typically associated with a building of its size. The system collects wastewater, rainwater and stormwater and treats it so that it can be reused in toilets, irrigation, and cooling towers. Efficient water fixtures have also been installed throughout the building. These include sensor taps and urinals which, rather than flush water, use a chemical In addition to green design The Melbourne system. Convention Centre contains a number of features dedicated to making it a premier The previous green initiatives mentioned event location. affect the long term operations of the centre, but the architects had sustainability in mind It boasts a plenary hall with seating for 5000 even when choosing building materials. delegates. The hall is fan-shaped and columnAll carpets, paints, and adhesives used in free to provide an unobstructed view of the construction are low in Volatile Organic main stage from any location. Depending August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Levels 1 and 2 Meeting Rooms The centre has 32 meeting rooms of various sizes and configurations. All rooms feature state-of-the-art in-built technology and audio visual equipment. The floor and ceiling design features an indigenous plant pattern to symbolise the native flora of Melbourne, and evokes the root systems of our bush and grasslands. Grand Banquet Room The entry wall colour is Sun Yellow, a vibrant and welcoming colour representing the rising sun over the Yarra River. The rose pattern on the carpet represents Melbourne’s public gardens and the roses in full bloom during the Spring Racing Carnival. Seats 1500 guests for gala events. Can be divided into two smaller rooms.

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on event needs, the plenary can be divided into three acoustically separate theatres and the front 1500 seats are reconfigurable to automatically convert between flat and tiered seating. The Plenary Hall is not the only impressive room in the building. There is a 2500m 2 banquet hall, a 2400m 2 modern kitchen and the main foyer surrounding the plenary hall is 6500m2 with views of the city and the Yarra River and links to the existing Melbourne

Exhibition Centre. Also, there are 32 meeting rooms which have a range of built-in state of the art audio visual and technical capabilities. Superior air quality is another benefit The Melbourne Convention Centre has to offer. A displacement ventilation system is used to deliver air near floor level and exhaust air near ceiling level. This system results in a better indoor air quality because air in the occupied region of the room becomes heated and polluted by occupants and appliances August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Plenary Gala seating

Plenary Seats 5553 people with unobstructed views for

There are two tiers of fixed seating and a lower

everyone – a world first for a theatre this size.

section of 42 rows, 1525 seats, in an arc shape

Two operable walls divide the plenary into three self contained acoustically separate theatres. Five different seat fabric colours represent the colours of the blades of grass at the MCG.

around the central stage area. These rows can be raised, in less than 10 minutes, to be tiered, in line with the rest of the seating, or lowered with the seats stowing directly underneath the floor, transforming the plenary into a flat-floor space.

For further information please contact Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre 1 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf, Victoria, Australia 3006. Telephone +61 3 9235 8000 Facsimile +61 3 9235 8001 customerservice@mcec.com.au www.mcec.com.au

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and, due to natural convection, rises to the exhaust at ceiling height. Other fresh air safe guards are the carbon monoxide controls and monitors installed with the air conditioning system and, as mention earlier, the low amount of VOCs found in building materials which ensures a reduced number of airborne toxins. All of these amazing features and The Melbourne Convention Centre was completed within budget and 6 weeks ahead of schedule. This development has received a long list of awards for design, sustainability, use of local suppliers, and many other attributes.

Most recently it was honoured with the 2010 Victorian Architecture Medal for successfully crossing design boundaries and a 2010 Australian Construction Achievement Award from the Australian Constructors Association and Engineers Australia. “We wanted to achieve a world first in a whole range of areas, to take the bar up another level in terms of convention centres,� said Leigh Harry – Chief Executive of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. With its unique architectural styles, advanced functional features, and leading environmental initiatives, the bar has certainly been raised. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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ome construction companies have been in the family for generations, owned and operated by parents, grandparents, even great-grandparents. Others are offshoots of larger corporations. Some, like Mead Holdings Pty Ltd, are born and grow out of the desire to create a company that will be in existence for generations and generations to come.

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Established back in 1988 by husband and wife team Brett and Cheryl Mead, Tasmaniabased Maci Constructions operated for many years, providing labour and site management for commercial building projects. By 1995, the growing Mead family had four young boys, and the family purchased a 163 acre rural property at Melrose, extensively


refurbishing the rural homestead. Their first goal met, the couple set about establishing Meadson Constructions in 2002, a building and construction arm of the company. With another goal under their collective belt, the Meads formed the Maci Group in 2009, consisting of Maci Constructions, Maci Joinery, and Maci Investments Pty Ltd.

“We had a plan very early on in our lives, to build a family and to get a farm,” says Cheryl Mead, Managing Director/Business Manager. “When we purchased the farm in 1995, that was what we thought actually was our dream. And since that time, lots of things have changed, and our four boys are now part of our business, and they’re actually the reason August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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everything the Mead family stands for in the building, construction, and agricultural industries. The “M” in the name stands for Mead, while the “A” is from Agriculture, the “C” from Construction, and the “I” stands for Initiatives. All four of the Mead sons are involved in the family business. At 26, Luke is the eldest, and does the majority of the estimating for the company. Grant, with experience in agriculture and carpentry, studied civil engineering. Toby, 22, is into construction and joinery, while the youngest, Geordie, is in his second year of apprenticeship. Over recent years, the company has grown from five employees to over 60, and has undertaken a number of notable projects in Tasmania, including primary and high schools, libraries, affordable homes for the elderly, that we’ve continued to grow.” child care centres, and many upgrades to existing structures. Some, says Cheryl Mead, The philosophy behind the Maci Group is bring more challenges than others.

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“In the time that we’ve been building as principal contractors, we’ve done a wide variety of projects. One of them was quite out of the ordinary,” says Mead. The project she refers to was the creation of Windy Ridge Huts on the overland track between Cradle Mountain and Lake St. Clair. A project for the Park and Wildlife Services, the site – on the side of a steep hill – was challenging. Mead was required to build one public and one staff hut. All the materials had to be accurately weighed, placed into bags, and brought in by a helicopter, which was only able to carry specific amounts of weight. With no electricity, the construction crews had to rely on portable generators, and much of the construction had to be done by hand. Crews of eight were there working seven days a week, around the clock. “You’d bring four in, and you’d take four out, so you always had people who were consistently on site, and knew what was happening,” says Mead. To make matters more challenging, the area is a World Heritage site, and a risk management

plan was set in place. The project, which lasted about four months, had to stop at some points because of the incessant snow and wind. Today, the privately-owned company is able to take on projects of practically any size. With a team of civil workers, their annual turnover has grown to almost $10 million a year. Increasing their tendering with the state government has enabled the Maci Group to operate on bigger and bigger levels than ever before. August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Workers had to be housed near the site of the project, which took about 10 months to complete, and was signed-off earlier this year. “The actual works included a shed that housed the treatment plant, and there also was a lot of site works,” says Mead. As the company has grown, the company has not only maintained its commitment to quality for its clients, but its dedication to training, and safety. An annual sponsor of the Tasmanian Skills Institute Apprentice Awards, Maci remains committed to training, and currently has 20 apprentices ranging from 17 to 35 years of age. A major sponsor at several schools, Maci also provides work placements for students from the Latrobe High School, Scottsdale High School, Vocational Education and Training College, and many other High School Colleges throughout Northern Tasmania.

“It started off with projects worth a few hundred thousand dollars,” says Cheryl Mead. “The biggest project we’ve done so far is a $5 million contract at Cradle Mountain.”

“Our high building standards are brought about by doing a lot of training,” says Mead. “We have, I believe, one of the most comprehensive training plans I’ve ever come across. The majority of our people, if they start out from an apprenticeship, or they come from somewhere else, actually have a plan which is built on providing ongoing training, whether it be a management level, or at a skills level. So that’s been our focus from the start, and it seems to be working very well for us.”

The Park and Wildlife department called upon the Maci Group for the construction of their new wastewater treatment plant at Cradle Mountain. It was an extremely challenging project for the company, because much of the construction was done over the winter. Just as there is a great deal of focus on training

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of young people, Maci is committed to safety throughout its entire workforce. The company has an Occupational Health and Safety Management Program in place to ensure the safety not only of its employees, but clients, visitors, and the public. Combined with their Quality and Environmental Management Systems to provide an integrated system to make a healthy and happy work environment. The company, like the family that built it, remains very goal-driven to this day. The Meads are great believers in taking control over your own destiny, and big believers in building relationships with their clients on a solid foundation of respect, trust, and integrity, all the while supporting one another, and maintaining a positive attitude or, as they like to say, “The way life should be built.”

machinery operation, and steel fabrication. Despite their success over the years, for husband and wife team Brett and Cheryl Mead, much of it comes from their sons. “The thing that drives us most is that the boys have a vision,” says Cheryl. “Toby is a fairly significant motivator. He wants to see us grow, and continue. It’s not just a Mead family thing now. We’ve got other people who have come in with us, like a project manager. There’s probably not that many families that have been able to work together. We’ve been able to achieve that, and feel very privileged to be able to plan moving from one thing to another. We like to keep re-setting our goals.”

“We’re looking at doing other things down the track, like subdivisions and building developments,” says Mead. “We have a plan to expand what we do.” The company is planning to launch Maci Homes, keeping in touch with their goals for the future, by constructing sustainable, energy-efficient, and environmentally-friendly buildings. Whether they are working on schools, refurbishing private residences, aged care facilities, or government projects, Maci is able to take on projects throughout Tasmania, and has expertise in carpentry, joinery, roof plumbing, electrical works, civil engineering, August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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n the field of civil engineering, some large companies spend a fortune on advertising to get the word out about who they are, and the services they offer. Others, like Tasman Civil, prefer to let their stellar reputation speak for itself through repeat business with existing clients, and acquiring new customers. A highly respected civil engineering firm operating throughout Western Australia, Tasman was founded in 2005, and rapidly earned a solid standing in the industry for the quality of their work. Along with three other shareholders, Managing Director Snow Smolenski founded Tasman Civil, which remains a private company operating in infrastructure, commercial, industrial, and rural projects. “We have lots of repeat clients,� says Smolenski, “and good relationships with the clients we negotiate works

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WesTrac

Proud to support Tasman Civil

WesTrac are honoured to continue their involvement with Tasman Civil utilising the support of Cat® Products and Technologies. WesTrac have been supporting Tasman Civil since their establishment 5 years ago. During our partnership, WesTrac provide value-adding services as well as supplying a range of Cat equipment including Wheel Loaders, Scrapers, Soil Compactors, Motor Graders and Multi Terrain Loader. WesTrac aim to provide tailored options to all our customers and strive to offer the best service and advice, every step of the way. That means total support from selecting the right equipment for the job, to finance, servicing, maintenance and even through to the resale of used equipment. westrac.com.au WesTrac WA 128 -136 Great Eastern Highway South Guildford WA 6055 (08) 9377 9444

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WesTrac China Sky Centre Tower A No.22 Wanyuan Street Beijing 100176 +8610 5902 1666

© 2010 Caterpillar. All Rights Reserved. CAT, CATERPILLAR, their respective logos, “Caterpillar Yellow” and the POWER EDGE trade dress, as well as corporate and product identity used herein, are trademarks of Caterpillar and may not be used without permission.


with.” The company’s Managing Director says that Tasman Civil is often able to negotiate work projects with their repeat customers about 40 per cent of the time, with the remaining 60 per cent being tendered work. “Our clients enjoy working with us.” Originally from New Zealand, Smolenski was involved with another company for about 20 years prior to the creation of Tasman. “It was just something that I always wanted to do, and I thought it was a good opportunity,” he says. “The timing was good, and I could see the growth potential of Perth. It was time to go out, and do my own thing.” Today, Tasman has grown to a company with 40 employees, and about 50 subcontractors. The company is tightly-run, and their office handles all of Tasman’s tendering and administration. Their workshop handles all mechanical needs,

and there are work crews at the 12 to 15 projects the company is involved in at any one time. As with many civil contracting jobs, some are larger and more challenging than others. The company recently completed work on a 40-lot subdivision in Exmouth that required trucking in approximately 50,000 cubic metres of sand to level the ground for building, along with accommodating pipes for sewage, water, and power, amongst environmentally sensitive sand dunes. Bletchley Park, an enormous, ongoing project for Tasman, has kept the company busy for over four years. A 1,600 lot subdivision planned community, Bletchley Park – in Perth’s southeast corridor – is a flourishing area located in the heart of the Southern River, just 17 kilometres south of Perth. Unlike many suburbs, it is being built as a solid community, with schools, childcare centres, parklands, and a shopping August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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centre set against the picturesque backdrop of natural waterways and bushland. Scheduled for completion in 2015, Bletchley Park will be home to 5,000 residents. In consultation with the land’s private owners, the plan is to create a unique community for all, one that combines the best aspects of urban living with the laidback, intimate feel of a country village. In the process of becoming a community, Tasman has been responsible for creating the land the homes are being built on, literally. Since the existing area is low-lying, it is necessary to raise it before construction, and that is where Tasman comes into the picture. In order to bring the levels up to the point where housing can be developed, Tasman has trucked

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in about three and a half million tonnes of sand to the site, with another six and a half million to still be imported into the site. “It’s quite major,” says Smolenski of the land. “We go out there, and clear the bush, then we fill it with approximately two metres of clean fill over the site, and then we develop it to the stage where it’s sellable housing lots for the developer and owner. We don’t do the building. We get it to the stage where we put the roads in, the sewers, the storm water, the power, water, and gas, and virtually, they sell the lots from there, and the builders move in, and do their own thing.” In many ways, the Bletchley Park community represents a “back to grassroots” movement not just in Australia, but in many other countries

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the Canning Vale Cougars Junior Football Club, Canning Vale Scout Group, Canning Vale Junior Cricket Club, the Armadale Aquatic Centre, Armadale Arena, and the Gosnells Junior Football Club.

as well, a more laid-back lifestyle, where it is possible to have public transportation, primary schools, playgrounds and shopping areas close to homes and parks, where residents are able to enjoy a relaxed and balanced lifestyle and appreciate nature and outdoor activities like walking, cycling, soccer, and cricket. For golf aficionados, the Gosnells Golf Club is practically next door to the development, and the nearby Champion Lakes Recreation Park serves the needs of every sports and recreation enthusiast. In fact, many more clubs are nearby, including

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Largely because of the local amenities and harmonious blend of urban needs meets country living, sales of residential lots at Bletchley Park have exceeded expectations. With a focus on children – and valuable amenities like a private daycare centre with a newly-built state primary school to facilitate drop off, pick up and after school care – have become a positive selling feature for many young families in the 35 to 45-year-old age group. The community serves as a prime example of the positive benefits that comes from an innovative, well thoughtout project that is beneficial to the present generation, and future generations to come. Just as Bletchley Park is a forward-looking community, Tasman Civil is a company with a keen eye on the future, not only for the company, but the people they hire. Remaining


good working relationship with our clients, and I think that we’re a company people enjoy working with.” When Snow Smolenski started Tasman Civil back in 2005, it was with the goal of creating a company with a reputation for integrity, ingenuity, and performance, and establish and maintain longterm relationships with their clients. If the many repeat customers This is a photo of the Menzies school basketball team in the Shire of Menzies, Tasman has is any indication, out in the Goldfields of Western Australia. Tasman Civil were working on a the company is well on their way. highway construction out there, and sponsored the local school team. true to their community roots, Tasman Civil is an enthusiastic employer of local youth. A coach at the Kalamunda rugby club, Smolenski is a great believer in recruiting and training today’s youth for tomorrow’s jobs with Tasman. Some are recruited from the Kalamunda rugby club. “We train them as labourers, and eventually move them onto rollers and watercarts,” says Smolenski. “The ones that show aptitude for machines move on to scrapers or loaders, and the really good ones rise up to grader operations. We virtually train them all the way through.” By training young employees, Tasman has built a workforce of employees who are not only highskilled, but local to the company. “We have an enjoyable workplace,” says Smolenski. “Tasman is a place of opportunity for young guys with potential, to start from the very basics and work their way up through the company. We have a August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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entals

SHERRIN R

DUMP TRUCKS ROLLERS SKID STEERS COMPACTORS WHEEL LOADERS EXCAVATORS ACCESS EQUIPMENT WATER TRUCKS GRADERS

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Australian Construction Focus - August Edition  

August 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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