Australian Construction Focus - July Edition

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


e have just passed the midway point, and 2010 has already left an indelible mark as one of the most newsworthy years in decades. It is only July, yet the world has witnessed controversial events that will shape our future for generations. We continue to witness the tragic consequences of the April 20th explosion on the British Petroleum-licensed Transocean drilling rig in the Gulf of Mexico. Despite efforts to stem the flow – from underwater robots to a 100-tonne box – nothing has worked. Original estimates of the well leaking 1,000 barrels of crude oil per day jumped to 5,000, then 40,000 bpd. Criticism from environmental groups, world leaders, and daily images of dead and dying wildlife have made us all question the need for deepwater oil drilling. It is officially the worst oil spill in history. In Canada, the G20 Summit was met with outrage by anti-poverty groups. A billion dollars’ worth of security did not deter protestors from breaking bank windows, and setting police cars ablaze. The final cost of the G20 is not known, yet the number of arrests – over 900 – has made Toronto the site of the largest mass arrests in Canadian history. With so many landmark events taking place, one story has received less worldwide attention than it should: the swearing-in of Australia’s first female Prime Minister, 48-year-old lawyer Julia Gillard. She has said her government is committed to dealing with the global recession, job creation, and preparing the nation for the future. Just a week after she was sworn-in, a deal with the mining industry was secured. The “super profits” tax for mining will now be 30 per cent, instead of the proposed 40. What this controversial tax will mean for the country’s mining industry, and the future of Ms. Gillard’s government, will unfold in the months to come. Interesting times ahead.

Robert Hoshowsky (Managing Editor)

Editor’s Pick In this issue, we take a closer look at two unique companies. One has helped shape Australia’s history, while the other is renowned for their unique time and cost-saving methods. Created by blacksmith and mining industry provider Henry Troon back in 1870, H. Troon Pty Ltd is into its fifth generation as a family-owned business creating unique apartment complexes like The Parade, along with art galleries, aquatic centres, and industrial structures. The recent winner of a CCF Earth Award for excellence in civil construction, Haslin Constructions Pty Ltd is a Best Practice accredited contractor whose unique, alternative designs have saved clients like Eraring Energy millions of dollars.

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Robert Hoshowsky Managing Editor Kulvir Singh Creative Art Director Robert Chambers Director of Business Dev. Christian Cooper Director of IT Jen Hamilton Office Manager Contributing Writers Lynn Hamilton Jamie McKee

06 Events & News Industy Events & News


Know your Rights and Responsibilities

Jeff Hocken Publisher

24 Green Business

Grass is always Greener on the upper side 8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

30 Macmahon Holdings Aboriginal Culture and Communities Together

38 Maneto

Detailed, Driven and Dedicated

44 G & K Akers Planning for the Future


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

58 H. Troon

From the Past to the Future

68 The Rural Building Inspired home designs

78 Dam Safety in AU Keeping it Safe

84 Haslin Construction

Providing thoughtful Design Alternatives

92 History

Flinders Street Station

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Landscape Australia Expo - July 15-16 at th

This event is designed specifically for professiona Industry, including architects, contractors, distributer It is held every two years in Sydney and also has Melbourne. Exhibitors will display the latest product of the landscape industry. Attendees will leave with environmental knowledge to aid them in their future

For more information visit:

Low Rise Commercial Buildings Design & Construction - July 27-28, 2010,

Organised by the IQPC, this conference provides the most current information regarding the devel buildings. Through a combination of seminars, case studies and workshops, attendees will learn a profits, improving sustainability, and adapting to changing standards, just to name a few. Some of The Gauge, The Beijing Watercube, One Shelley Street, and ANZ Docklands. o For more information visit:


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

he Sydney Showgrounds

als involved in the Landscape rs, and maintenance operators. dates in Perth, Brisbane and ts and services from all aspects increased technical as well as e projects. o

Quay Grand Sydney

lopment of low rise commercial bout issues such as maximizing f the projects to be studied are

South Australian Major Projects Conference 2010

July 27-28 at the Adelaide Convention Centre Information about the development, construction and implementation of major projects taking place in, or planned for, South Australia will be provided by The Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure and Department for Planning and Local Government. Some of the topics to be covered include an overview of the SA infrastructure plan, the implementation of the 30 Year Plan for Greater Adelaide and a $300 million dollar Adelaide Airport Redevelopment Project. o For more information visit:

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

2nd Annual Victorian Infrastructure Summit July 29-30 at Rydges Melbourne Leaders in government and industry will discuss the challenges of planning and developing the infrastructure necessary to support a rapidly growing population. Featured speakers include Tim Pallas MP, Minister for Roads & Ports & Major Projects and Martin Pakula MP, Minister for Public Transport as well as many others. The IRR hosted conference will offer updates on major property, water, and transport infrastructure projects in the pipeline for the state of Victoria. o For more information visit:

The 7th Pacific Rim International Conference on Advanced Materials and Processing August 2-6 at the Cairns Convention Centre Held every three years, PRICM is a 5 day summit dedicated to the exchange of information related to advanced materials and processing. This year the event is organised by Materials Australia and sponsored by the Chinese Society for Metals (CSM), The Japan Institute of Metals (JIM), The Korean Institute of Metals and Materials (KIM), and The Minerals, Metals and Materials Society (TMS). Sample seminar topics include Light Metals and Alloys, Thin Films and Surface Engineering, Energy Generation, Harvesting and Storage Materials, and many more. o For more information visit:

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


A Bridge Too Far? No, Too Short


ometimes, bigger isn’t always better, at least when it comes to ships and bridges.

When it opened almost 80 years ago, no one at the time could have envisioned the majestic Sydney Harbour Bridge would ever be too short to accommodate cruise ships in future generations. Back when it was unveiled by Jack Lang, the Premier of New South Wales, in 1932, the bridge was nothing less than a marvel of engineering and artistry at its finest, and became a landmark virtually overnight. At the time, the bridge’s main span, at 303 metres, made it the longest single span steel arch bridge in the world. That was then. Today, the cruise ship industry


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

has become the fastest growing segment of the tourist industry, and a number of Australian ports cannot accommodate these larger vessels. It is an important issue, since many other businesses – from tour operators to taxi drivers, and restaurant owners to souvenir stands – benefit financially whenever a large cruise ship comes to their port. In peak cruise season, it is not unusual to see three cruise ships in Sydney Harbour at the same time, with all available berths occupied. One recent report states that ships are getting larger, and by 2023, about 85 per cent of large cruise ships will simply be too large to make it under the Sydney Harbour Bridge. A number of cruise ship operators are calling for new berths to be built in Sydney to accommodate their vessels, which would benefit an industry that regularly brings millions of dollars to the economy. The report goes on to state, “As the iconic gateway to Australia, if ships like the Queen Mary 2 cannot berth in Sydney Harbour, they will not come to Australia at all.” o


Actress Scales New Heights for the Environment

long with her husband, playwright Andrew Upton, Australian actress Cate Blanchett – looking every inch the construction worker in white hard hat, boots, and distinctive yellow reflective safety vest – took to the roof of the Sydney Theatre Company to celebrate

provide a whopping 70 per cent of the theatre’s electricity needs. “We could be well on our way to becoming the first green arts precinct in the world,” said Blanchett, 41, who also serves as the theatre’s artistic director. To date, it has taken three years of planning and fundraising to get the project off the ground. Partially funded by the Department of Climate Change, the new giant solar rooftop, when completed, will be the second largest rooftop solar installation in Australia.

Blanchett, who joined Members of Parliament at the launch of Cate Blanchett at Greening the Wharf media event in Sydney the roof, is a graduate of Australia’s National an innovative new method of powering Institute of Dramatic Art. Winning rave reviews the theatre: solar electricity. As part of the for her many parts on stage, television, and in Blanchett’s ‘Greening the Wharf’ initiative, feature films, Blanchett has appeared in many the rooftop solar installation will serve as an diverse roles in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The example of how all buildings can be made more Aviator, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, The Curious environmentally sustainable, and kinder to the Case of Benjamin Button, and Indiana Jones & earth. At a cost of $5.2 million, the goal is to the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. o install 1,906 solar panels, which will eventually July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Controversial Mining Tax Threaten


he Federal Government’s proposed Resource Super Profits Tax (RSPT) is threatening over 10,000 construction jobs, and more than $25 billion in new investment, according to a new survey.

The recently-released survey results state that the proposed 40 per cent tax could be threatening over half of Queensland’s project expansions and Tony Abbott and Kevin Rudd are preparing to fight the next start-ups under consideration. As a election on the controversial resources tax. (AAP: Mark Graham) result, the Queensland Resources Council

Central Victorian Rail Trail Civic Building Sites Fai Gets $3.2 million Extension Although the bids were slow at first and gradua Over the next three years, The Victorian Government will commit funds to extend a Central Victorian rail trail between Bendigo and Heathcote, announced Minister for Regional and Rural Development, Jacinta Allan. Of the $3.2 million total, $1.9 million will be provided by the State Government, with the City of Greater Bendigo funding the remaining $1.3 million. One group, the Friends of the Bendigo-Kilmore rail trail, commented on how gratifying it is to see “state and local government get together on a project like this.” The track currently runs between Bendigo and Axedale, and the funds will be used to create 24 kilometres of track between Axedale and Heathcote. o


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

stop two prime buildings in Canberra from bei meet their reserve price.

Bidding on the sale of the government-owned l million and $8.6 million for the respective block and apartment developments. The amounts, amounts. Both sites were subject to 48-hour tightened lending conditions caused by the wo to secure financing – likely contributed to the b

There had been interest in the land from ou surprised and disappointed by the lack of nation inner city car park site set a record in 2007 befo Australian record price of $92 million. o

ns ‘$25 Billion in New Investment’ has suspended its statewide advertising against the tax, as a response to Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s offer of discussions with the resources sector over the proposed RSPT. Ms. Gillard says her government is open to discussions about the controversial tax, with a “truce” being reached between the two parties.

representatives from the Council are confident Ms. Gillard will re-examine the tax, and consider tariffs on separate commodities, instead of the 40 per cent RSPT tax on resources. o

If talks break down with the Federal Government, the Queensland Resources Council says it will resume its advertising campaign against the tax. Although any compromise has yet to be reached,

il to Meet Reserve Price

ally crept higher and higher, it wasn’t enough to ing withdrawn from auction after they failed to

land on London Circuit eventually reached $5.25 ks, areas zoned for a combination of hotel, retail, however, were far below the anticipated sale negotiation process with local developers, and orldwide financial downturn – making it harder blocks failing to meet their reserve sale price.

utside property developers, yet officials were nal interest in the sites. By comparison, a similar ore the economic downturn, when it sold for an

Repairing Hospital Not Enough, Says Staff At the Wagga Wagga Base Hospital, dozens of staff have voted unanimously against a $90 million upgrade of the hospital. A facelift to the facilities, argues the staff, is not nearly enough, and a full redevelopment of the hospital is the only option. There have also been suggestions that the city hospital should be rebuilt on a new site. The planning process has been in the works for a number of years, and there are fears that starting the plans anew would set the hospital development back a full decade. “None of us want to go back to the beginning again,” said Chairman of the WWBH medical staff council, Richard Harrison. o July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



lthough there are many honourable men and women working in Australia’s thriving construction industry, it is – like many other sectors – not exempt from individuals who are less than honest. Fortunately, there is The Office of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner (ABCC) that serves many functions for the betterment of the country’s construction industry, and is able to answer questions about contracts, unions, strikes, contractor responsibilities, guidelines, and much more. “Our purpose is to bring lawful conduct as respect for the law to an industry which has been notorious for having a very poor approach to lawful conduct,” says The Honourable John Lloyd, Commissioner. “There is, unfortunately, still unlawful conduct, but is has imporoved markedly.”


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


“The ABCC is serious about discharging responsibility. It is accessible, and every complaint is investigated thoroughly.� -The Honourable John Lloyd, Commissioner


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Appointed to the position of Commissioner in September of 2005, The Honourable Mr. Lloyd has spearheaded the office and its key objectives, primarily ensuring the enforcement of workplace relations laws in building and construction industry workplaces. Serving a number of functions, the ABCC acts as an active regulator, educates industry participants about appropriate conduct, investigates suspected contraventions of the law, federal agreements, awards and orders of Fair Work Australia. When the situation merits action, the ABCC will institute or intervene in proceedings relating to the building industry. The statistics for industrial action – measures taken by trade unions or other organised labour to reduce productivity in the workplace – once at 10 to 20 per cent, have decreased significantly, to about one to three per cent. “They have reduced markedly, which means that jobs are being completed on time and on budget more than they were previously, and that’s good for the economy,” says Mr. Lloyd.

Prior to his five-year appointment as ABC Commissioner in 2005, The Honourable John Lloyd held a number of senior roles in the field of workplace relations, and has been involved with the building and construction industry. From August 2004 to September of 2005, he served as Senior Deputy President of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission. In addition, he was CEO of the Department of Productivity and Labour Relations for the WA Government, Executive Director at the Department of Business and Employment for the Victorian Government, Commission member of the National Occupational Health and Safety Commission, Head of the Australian delegation at the International Labour Conference in Geneva, and Chairman of the Emergency Services Taskforce for the WA Government. He played a central role in establishing the Cole Royal Commission, and in advising the Howard Government about its response to the Cole Report. Many of his earlier senior roles helped prepare him for the position of Commissioner for The Office of Australian Building and Construction, he says. “They give

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


you an insight into some of the key policy issues around industrial relation, and experience about advising government about major disputes,” says Mr. Lloyd, 60. Being involved in a royal commission, and their response to it, was helpful in this role.” With their head office located in Melbourne, the ABCC employs over 150 staff nationally, and has other offices located in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide, and Hobart, and has an effective process in place for investigating claims. The office will often receive a complaint about a suspected contravention via telephone, or by email. Investigators are then sent to the jobsite to take statements, and conduct their investigation. If a reasonable breach is imminent, the matter is then referred to the legal office of the ABCC. The history of The Office of Australian Building and Construction Commissioner can be traced back to 2001, and the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry. Established in August of 2001 and tabling its final report in March of 2003, the Cole Royal Commission – named after the appointed Royal Commissioner, the Honourable Terence Rhoderic Hudson Cole – was established to make inquiries into matters relating to the building and construction industry. The findings revealed that the building and construction industry “was characterised by a widespread disregard for the law, cataloguing over 100 types of unlawful and inappropriate conduct.” It


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

was also revealed that the existing regulatory bodies at the time had insufficient powers and resources to enforce the law. Urgent changes needed to be made to the industry. By 2004, an Interim Taskforce became a permanent one, which operated for about a year, until The Office of the Australian Building and Construction Commissioner was established in 2005, and The Honourable John Lloyd was appointed Commissioner. Funding for the ABCC comes from the Federal Government. Averaging about $33 million per year, the most recent budget has increased, to

$34.7 million for the year. “The people here are public servants,” says Mr. Lloyd. “I’m appointed by the minister. The staff are predominantly engaged as public servants; we might have one or two contractors. Then we get at times external legal advice, and external council, to present the cases.” As the body investigating contraventions of the Building and Construction Industry Improvement Act 2005 (BCII Act), the Fair Work Act 2009, the Independent Contractors Act 2005 and other relevant workplace relations laws,

the ABCC prosecutes a range of contraventions. These include unlawful coercion, unlawful industrial action, contraventions of freedom of association, abuse of right of entry, and sham contracting arrangements. Since these are civil penalty matters, the fines are severe: contravening the BCII Act brings a maximum fine of $110,000 for a corporation, and $22,000 for an individual. The ABCC also monitors compliance with the National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry. The National Code sets minimum standards that must be met in order to undertake certain building and construction work funded by the Australian Government. The ABCC commenced operation on 1 October 2005 as an independent statutory authority. It absorbed the Building Industry Taskforce which operated from 1 October 2001. It was established in response to recommendations made by the Cole Royal Commission into the Building and Construction Industry. Since it was formed, the ABCC has undertaken more than 4,000 site visits, educational forums, and audits to assist industry with The National Code of Practice for the Construction Industry, which establishes minimum standards that businesses must meet to be eligible to undertake certain building and construction projects July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

attending an interview under the compliance powers are entitled to legal representation if they choose. “The ABCC is serious about discharging responsibility,” says Mr. Lloyd. “It is accessible, and every complaint is investigated thoroughly. And for people who don’t want their IDs known, we respect people’s right not to have to disclose who they are. We devote a lot of time and energy through our website to inform and people about their rights and obligation, and try to put that in as clear terms as possible, not complicated legal or bureaucratic language. And we’re always open to feedback on whether we’re getting our message through.” funded by the Australian Government. In the event of an investigation, the ABC Commissioner has the power to compel a witness who is believed to have information pertaining to an investigation to be present at an examination, answer questions, and/or provide relevant documents. In addition, there are strict protections and safeguards in place for witnesses. Answers given at an examination cannot later be used against a witness in court, and all persons

At the end of September, Mr. Lloyd’s messages will be delivered by another, as his five-year term comes to an end. Having devoted much of his professional career to workplace relations, he has announced that he will not be seeking reappointment as Commissioner of The Office of Australian Building and Construction. “I will look at some other things to do, but I won’t rush into another job,” says Mr. Lloyd, who plans to take a brief break, spend some time with his wife, and consider his options for the future. o July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

-By Jaime McKee


s the globe grows ever warmer, and increasing numbers of people choose to set up home in urban areas, Australians are being faced with the twin problems of climate change and diminishing green space. At the same time, engineers, architects, designers, and contractors are devising high-performance solutions to these problems, utilizing green technology and sustainable building practices in unprecedented ways. When challenges and ingenuity collide, solutions often emerge which have the potential to benefit us all; in the realm of green building construction, one such solution has, in a manner of speaking, risen to the top. Green roofs are not a new concept. Traditional sod roofs, earth huts, and rooftop gardens have actually been used throughout the world for centuries, most notably in Northern Scandinavia, Scotland, Ireland, and ancient Mesopotamia. But the modern concept of a “green roof” – an integrated system which combines roof substrate, advanced waterproofing, irrigation and drainage, growing media, and plants – took root in Germany in the 1960s, and from there spread throughout Europe, to North America and beyond. Legislative and financial support from local governments has spurred green roof development in these areas, and while

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Australia has not been as quick as some to jump on board, a number of organisations and developers are beginning to see the many benefits green roofs have to offer, and to integrate them into buildings in creative and effective ways. As vegetated layers that sit atop conventional roof surfaces, green roofs can take a number of forms. Intensive roofs are those which feature

new developments due to the increased load demand, while extensive ones can often be retro-fitted onto existing structures. The benefits of green roofs are many and varied. Economically, it is estimated that green roofs may last up to twice as long as conventional roofs, due to increased protection of the roof membrane and greater human attention paid to the roof structure on a regular basis. Energy

Above: Australia’s Parliament House, Canberra deep layers and can support a range of plant types, from grasses to trees to edibles, even incorporating water features and purification systems. They require a greater investment of labour and maintenance, comparable to that which would be needed for a garden at grade level. Extensive roofs, on the other hand, are composed of lightweight layers and typically support low-profile vegetation with shallow root systems, such as grasses and succulents. Intensive green roofs may be best suited to


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Conservatorium of M

savings are also significant: an Environment Canada study has determined that a basic extensive grass roof can result in a reduction in building heat gains by 95%, heat losses by 26%, and a reduction in summer cooling costs by 25%, compared to a standard roof. Green roofs also serve as an ideal site for the installation of solar panels. According to Growing Up, a Melbourne-based initiative which advocates for green roofs, rooftop photovoltaic panels actually work more efficiently when installed

on a green roof rather than on a conventional surface. “Green roofs,” they say, “can reduce fluctuations of temperatures at the roof level and help maintain a more efficient climate around the photovoltaic panel, increasing the panel’s efficiency”. In terms of environmental savings, these facts don’t lie. Is it easy to see how a building’s carbon footprint could be drastically reduced through

Music, Sydney

the burden on sewer systems. It also filters and cools this runoff, preventing toxins, excessive nutrients, and heavy metals from entering streams and groundwater. Green roofs also provide heat mitigation to dense urban areas. Cities awash in building materials such as asphalt and concrete trap heat during the day and release it at night. This excess heat, combined with waste heat generated through

Wharf 11, Sydney: Water Sensitive Urban Design, Sydney

the application of a green roof?; if applied on a major scale throughout Australia’s urban centres, it is estimated that green roofs could capture over a half million tonnes of carbon dioxide from city air annually, contributing significantly to helping us meet our Kyoto targets. Environmental benefits of green roofs also extend beyond energy and carbon savings. A living roof reduces stormwater runoff, easing

energy usage, creates an “urban heat island”, a metropolitan area that is significantly – and artificially – warmer than surrounding rural areas. Green roofs, conversely, have a cooling effect on local ambient air temperatures, just as a natural forest canopy does. Overall temperature, dangerous heat waves, and unpredictable weather effects in cities could be effectively mitigated by the use of green roofs. Of course, a green roof’s vegetation also filters the air. Plants filter toxins, smog, carbon July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Charles Sturt University, Albury, by Water Sensitive Urban Design, Sydney dioxide, and pollutants, while foliage and water features also trap dust and airborne particulate, rendering the air below cleaner and purer. Is there a place for green roofs in Australia’s cities? It could be argued that with ongoing occurrences of drought, there is simply no water to spare for green roofs. Local research must also be conducted on the concept and design, as examples from the Northern hemisphere are not always relevant in Australia’s unique climate. To this end, Melbourne University is undertaking research into native plants and soil which can survive on minimal water, while Growing Up describes how green roofs may be watered using recycled grey water, or water from the occasional mandatory testing of fire sprinkler systems. And developments such as Crown

Casino, CH2, and Freshwater Place Residential Tower are proving that green roofs can work here. The city of Melbourne itself is presently undertaking a feasibility study on the installation of green roofs in key buildings, including CH1 and The Commonwealth Bank Building, while advocacy groups such as Growing Up and Green Roofs Australia work to promote the concept. Finally, pioneering companies such as Junglefy, Elmich, and Fytogreen are working to apply the concept in practical and innovative ways. In the coming years, green roofs are positioned to become a true boon to Australia’s cities. Green roofs allow us to plan and design with nature in mind, and to mitigate some of our most pressing urban development issues. As we aim to create healthier, more dynamic cities, green roofs offer us a chance to utilize every square inch of space, and to complete the “green envelope” of any truly sustainable building. o July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

n the fields of mining and construction, hiring the right people for the job is crucial. Over the ars, Macmahon Holdings Limited has grown to come one of Australia’s largest civil construction d mining operations, with offices in Perth, dney, Brisbane, Darwin, and Kuala Lumpur. With er 3,000 employees throughout Australia, New aland, and South East Asia, Macmahon remains pecially proud not only of their many successful ojects over the past 47 years, but of the many ople who work for the company.

unded by Adelaide civil engineer Brian Macmahon ck in 1963, Macmahon Holdings continues to luence Australian culture through its many ccessful business endeavours. A leader in diversity d respect for the country’s remote communities, acmahon has created and fostered a successful rporate Indigenous Affairs Policy, and continues build positive relationships with local traditional ners and groups.

Macmahon Holdings – like the man who founded the company bearing his name – continues to influence Australian culture through their many successful business endeavours In Newman, Western Australia, a town about 1,200 km north of Perth, Macmahon is behind ongoing Cultural Awareness Training specific to the region. As the southern gateway to the Karijini National Park, and home to many Aboriginal rock

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

carvings, the area was originally developed for mining iron ore. All employees of Macmahon working in the Newman area are required to attend awareness training classes. In addition, Macmahon provides donations and sponsorship for specific Indigenous projects. It is one of many ways the company is fostering respect among their employees. In addition, Macmahon supports local communities through donations benefitting at-risk youth, and the Martumili Artists Indigenous Arts Enterprise. With a focus on training and employment, Macmahon Holdings encourages Indigenous Australians to work for their company, and has developed a tiered approach using direct employment through various levels, from entry level positions to hiring skilled applicants with experience in mining or construction. They offer training for Indigenous persons on key projects at Newman, WA, and pre-employment training in partnership with BHP Billiton Iron Ore and Pilbara TAFE (Indigenous Mining Skills Program), with a focus on overcoming barriers such as inadequate numeracy, literacy, lack of work experience, and self-esteem. The employment outcomes have been excellent, and made The Indigenous Mining Skills Program a finalist in the 2007 Western Australia State Training Awards Access and Equity category. Continuing their success with Aboriginal employment, Macmahon Holdings announced the formation of Doorn-Djil Yoordaning Mining

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


and Construction in mid-2008. With a name taken from the Noongar Balladong language of Western Australia, the company represents a unique bond between industry and communities to create a new, dynamic entity in the country’s contracting industry. Drawing on Macmahon’s many years of successful partnerships with Australia’s Aboriginal peoples, the new company is targeting mining and construction contracts for private clients and government agencies. Community involvement plays a large role in Doorn-Djil’s training and employment, and represents the dawn of a new age for Macmahon, a company with a solid record of Aboriginal


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

ranged from road works on the Stuart Highway and National Highway One in South Australia, and mining and excavation at the Nobles Nob Gold Mine at Tennant Creek in the Northern Territory, back in 1967. Success came quickly, as the company was listed on the Australian Stock Exchange in 1983, with expansions into contract mining when Macmahon acquired F K Kanny and Sons in 1987. Just a few years later, in 1994, Macmahon commenced construction of the North Dandalup Dam in Western Australia, and won three awards for the massive project. training and employment since 1963. Over the years, Macmahon Holdings have prided themselves on their people, and their many successful projects. Early contracts

Since then, the company has continued to expand, taking on many of Australia’s large multidisciplinary construction and mining projects. These include vital infrastructure projects

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

like roads, bridges, railroads, ports and dams, and mining operations for major clients in Australia, New Zealand, and Malaysia. One recent project is $348 million Wyaralong Dam, located on the Teviot Brook in the Logan River Catchement. Started in late 2009, the massive project is expected to be completed in mid-2011, and will benefit over 300,000 people each day in South East Queensland, providing them with water. Expected to create over 400 jobs, and opportunities for another 400 suppliers, the Wyaralong Dam is a challenging project for Macmahon. Located on a sandstone foundation, stability is an issue. Built across the river channel, the roller compacted concrete dam will be 500 metres long, and designed to withstand full flood and earthquake loading in accordance with the Queensland Dam Safety Management Guidelines and the Australian National Committee on Large Dams (ANCOLD) Guidelines. Another large recent project for Macmahon was the $350 million Jilalan Rail Yard for Queensland Rail. Over two years in duration, the Jilalan Rail Yard – a crucial link in the Goonyella coal supply chain – required increased capacity from 29 trains per day to 42 trains daily, with the ability to carry massive loads of 129 million tonnes per annum. The project required not only an additional 40 kilometers of new track, but the construction of two bypass roads with provision for a third, and two new provisioning roads both with bi-directional signaling. Surrounding public roads needed to be rebuilt, along with new facilities for locomotive maintenance and other structures. In addition, several million metres of earth needed to be moved, including rock that had to be blasted. For Macmahon, however, large projects like the Wyaralong Dam and Jilalan Rail Yard are all in a day’s work. Even way back when Macmahon was founded in 1963, Brian Macmahon was regarded as “a quiet achiever,” a man whose work spoke for itself on its own merits. Almost 50 years later, Macmahon Holdings continues to carry on his legacy, creating dams, railways, and other large-scale construction and mining projects that will continue to benefit Aboriginal employees and all Australians for generations to come.

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


n the world of construction, renovation, and interior design, you can never tell what your next job will be – a business, bank, hospital, showroom, display area, or someone’s private residence. For Maneto Pty Ltd, an Australianbased architectural joinery company, their many clients range from nuns committed to social justice for the less fortunate to the home of one of the world’s most beautiful and

respected Australian actresses. Specialising in all aspects of architectural joinery, Maneto has seen many clients over the past 13 years, including the Sisters of Charity – a Catholic order serving Australia’s poor and disadvantaged for over 170 years – to the home of legendary actress Nicole Kidman, star of films like Moulin Rouge, Eyes Wide Shut, Australia,

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


and the first and only Australian actress to win the Best Actress Oscar award. For the Kidman residence, and the Sisters of Charity, Maneto crafted and installed custom-built vanities, wardrobes, and a kitchen, among other items. Respected across the country for the fine quality of their work, Maneto have taken on projects for many clients, ranging from the creation of a Volkswagen showroom to a clothing store for children, hair salons to commercial offices, banks, hospitals, hotels, private residences, and much more. The reasons for their many clients is simple, says Maneto’s Director, Rocco Pellegrino. “We do a very high-quality job, on time, and to specifications. We don’t cut corners.” With almost 20 years of industry experience, Pellegrino, a qualified shopfitter, established Maneto with one goal: to provide his clients with the best shopfitting products and service available. As Director of the company, Pellegrino manages Maneto’s operations and projects, and acts as liaison with the company’s discerning clientele. From a staff of three in 1997, Maneto has grown to 37 employees in Sydney, and has plans to expand their offices to Queensland and Victoria. With an emphasis on high quality finishes and surfaces – such as wood, leather, glass, mirror, and stone, to name a few – Maneto takes pride not only in their superior work, but sourcing and crafting their materials locally. “Everything is made in our warehouse in Liverpool,” says Pellegrino. “The advantages


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

include quality control, and everything is built to the client’s requirements. Of course, you can get anything built overseas, but there is a longer lead time to it, and the quality is never 100 per cent.” To satisfy the tastes, needs, and desires of all their clients, Maneto has invested heavily in leading manufacturing technologies, including a fully automated computing system that provides customised products and solutions. And since their staff does all of the installation of their products, quality is ensured from start to finish. “Everything we do is custommade,” says Pellegrino, who works with precise measurements and detailed drawings to create outstanding works of architectural joinery. Among the company’s recent large projects was the work they did for MBF Group’s head office in Sydney, one of Australia’s largest private health insurers. The project included a new reception desk, wall paneling, kitchen, and breakout rooms. They were able to complete the projects in just 12 weeks, and incorporated many unique elements into the design and final result. The Level One reception area consists of an elongated rectangular stone desk with mirror and polyurethane panels. Break out areas, places where staff can go to relax during their breaks, were completed with unique golf and basketball themes incorporated into the overall design. Working on a large office space or a small residential job, Maneto takes pride in ensuring quality every step of the way, using unique, July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


durable finishes that are meant to last for years to come. Whether the job is commercial, retail, or residential, Maneto is able to build and install a wide range of products that marry form, function, and design. They have constructed and installed many displays for bookshops, florists, pharmacies, and other retailers, including display areas made of timber, bamboo, and medium-density fibreboard (MDF). They can construct modernlooking display counters out of materials such as stone, stainless steel, glass, and bamboo, for natural added warmth and durability. Their work for the Westpac Bank in Sydney utilized white furniture with red seating to create a design that manages to be almost


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

futuristic, yet warm and inviting at the same time. For many of their private clients, Maneto will create kitchens, bathroom vanities, living areas, and home offices with unique designs rivaling styles and quality produced anywhere else in the world. Many feature dramatic yet tasteful contrasts between materials and colours, such as kitchens with white cabinetry, black glass countertops, and large, stainless steel range hoods. As their business grows, one thing remains: Maneto’s commitment to quality will never change, and all clients – from kind-hearted nuns to Oscar-winning actresses – will continue to receive quality products that come from years of skill and dedication. o

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


or construction, mining and earthmoving companies, hiring the right people for the job is essential. Some industries go a step further, retaining not only the most skilled staff, but helping the local economy at the same time. Based in Australia’s Northern Territory, G & K Akers Contracting Pty Ltd is one of the area’s foremost mining and earthmoving contractors. Capable of handling large projects throughout the Northern Territory, Western Australia, and Queensland, G & K Akers believes in not only seeking out the most skilled people to add to their team, but employing locals to work on their many projects. “We certainly encourage indigenous persons to apply to work for us,” says Gary Hill Manager of Operations for the company. “We have an

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus




TRUCKS SKID STEERS COMPACTORS 2010ROLLERS | Australian Construction Focus 46 DUMPJuly


indigenous policy, and some projects – one in particular that we’ve been shortlisted for – we’re going to run an indigenous training program. It will be like a school for training the local indigenous population of that area.” By employing Territorians from remote communities and places like Darwin, Palmerston, Katherine, Alice Springs, Jabiru, Tenant Creek as well as several remote communities, G & K Akers have devoted a significant financial commitment to these, and other regions. It is an extension of the company’s dedication to their existing staff, and the hiring of new recruits to their team. Through the development of positive working relationships with local people and organisations, the company has helped to

benefit Indigenous peoples living in remote areas, where access to training opportunities and full-time employment is limited. With over 10 per cent of their employees being of Indigenous descent, G & K Akers is making a positive difference to local communities in many ways, by providing employment and training opportunities, utilising local businesses and suppliers, and supporting local charitable and sporting groups through sponsorships and donations, including the NT Indigenous Cricket Team at the Imparja Cup, the Cancer Council’s Relay For Life, and the Variety Club. Established by Managing Director Geoff Akers in 2002, the company bearing his name provides civil construction, excavation, and mining services to many clients throughout northern July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Dam wall Foundation Preparation

dam wall extension


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

gary hill(centre

) with client

truck on lower level-dam construction

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Australia. Privately-owned, G & K Akers has several advantages over other companies providing similar services. “We’re not as topheavy,” says Hill. “What sets us apart would be the fact that we’re a local and a family-owned business. We don’t have the overheads that the larger companies carry, and we’re able to give a much more competitive and better product.” Prior to founding G & K Akers Pty Ltd, Mr. Akers gained considerable experience through many years in the field, and was Managing Director of Howard Springs Earthmoving. Like many contracting companies, G & K Akers started out fairly small, with just a few employees, an excavator, and a couple of trucks. In just eight years, the company expanded rapidly, hiring


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

dozens of new staffers, and operating a fleet of excavators, Caterpillar haul trucks, and many other pieces of rollers, loaders, water trucks, and other equipment. Along with a solid team of experienced project managers, G & K Akers continues to build ongoing partnerships with major mining companies in the Territory. They are ready, able, and equipped to handle the most challenging projects, including contract mining and excavation, waste dump and landfill rehabilitation, demolition, civil construction, project management, and constructing mine infrastructure. Just as the company has a great deal of respect for their employees, so do they understand

and appreciate the beauty, and the fragility, of their natural surroundings. By its very nature, mining is destructive, yet the damage to the environment can be greatly reduced through sensible mining practices. At G & K Akers, staff are committed to minimising the impact of mining and earthmoving, and work within strict environmental agreements and legislative requirements to help preserve the land for future generations. “When we tender, we have to show environmental policies, and the way we do it, and why we do it that way,” says Hill. “That is part of the tender package. We have to supply the information, and can’t just say, ‘Here, we’ll

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


build this dam for X amount of dollars.’ We have to show exactly how we’re going to minimize the impact to the environment.� Sometimes, certain trees around a site must remain intact and undisturbed. Shrubs are sometimes mulched, with the result that the mulch is mixed with topsoil, and replaced once the job is finished. With its environmental management system firmly in place, G & K Akers identifies, assesses, and manages environmental risk while at the same time ensuring mining and earthmoving operations are done as efficiently as possible. The system is designed around the requirements of the international standard ISO 14001 Environmental Management. In addition to solid environmental practices, G & K Akers prides themselves on their many safety initiatives. Through safety co-coordinators


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

workshop & go-line

and training officers, new employees at G & K Akers are provided with extensive company and site inductions before they get down to work. Qualified trainers access their knowledge, and if there are any deficiencies, they are addressed, and a detailed training plan is put in place to bring the new employee up to the high safety standards demanded by the company. At G & K Akers, the goal is to achieve zero workplace injuries through the implementation and ongoing maintenance of safety systems. In fact, G & K Akers produces Safety Management Plans specific to each site, beginning with a full project risk assessment that completely addresses specific risks associated with a particular project. The safety plans are then reviewed throughout the project, and the July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

company uses a database to track safe work procedures, safety meeting minutes, workplace inspection reports, and much more. Just like safety measures for their staff, the vast amount of equipment used by G & K Akers for mining and earthmoving – like excavators, haul trucks, compactors, graders, and trucks – are optimized to operate at peak efficiency, resulting in fewer unplanned delays for their many clients. Since 2002, the company has completed numerous large earthmoving, mining, and construction projects, including waste dump rehabilitation, mine tailings dams, car park upgrades, and more for a wide range of clients on projects ranging from small civil constructions to large full scale mining contracts. o July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


ack in the mid-1800s, many countries experienced unprecedented growth, and Australia’s was no exception. From 1851 to 1891, Australia became one of the most urbanized regions in the world. In just 40 years, the population grew from 437,000 to 3.2 million. Cities like Melbourne and Sydney were beginning to rival large European centres, as many moved to cities to take advantage of job opportunities. Many companies were born. Over the decades many closed their doors, yet one continues to flourish to this very day. In 1870 – the same year legendary author Charles Dickens died, and the Franco Prussian War began – one of these fledgling companies was founded by a man named Henry Troon, in Ballarat, Victoria. Journeying from Cornwall, England as a free man, Troon originally followed the gold rush out to Australia, where he worked as a service provider to the mining industry, and as a blacksmith. One hundred and forty years later, the company bearing his name – H. Troon Pty Ltd – is not only in existence, but thriving. “From that time, the generations have been able to sustain the business right through to today,” says Steve Troon, Managing Director for the company. “I’m not aware of any companies that have stayed in the same family for that long.” Along with his brothers Michael and Ross – who recently retired from the business – they are the forth generation to lead the company, which still remains a family-owned operation decades after it was founded.

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Naturally, there have been many changes over the years, with one of the most significant coming in 1920. Following Henry Troon’s death his son, Harold, took the reigns, and soon changed the focus of the business founded by his late father from general forging to structural and builders of steelwork. Subsequent years saw further changes to the company. In time, Harold’s two sons moved H. Troon to larger premises in Creswick Road, Ballarat to accommodate growing trends in aluminium products and larger structural steel products. The mid-Seventies saw the start of The Troon Building Division. The company has been involved in numerous building and development projects throughout Australia since expanding into construction in 1974. In addition, Design and Project Management are also key aspects of the company’s day to day activities. “Up until 1974, we were primarily structural steel engineers and aluminium fabricators, and a decision was made then to encompass all the building principles on a building site, and become principal builders. From that point on, growth has become quite strong and quick,” says Troon, who credits his father with the expansion. His dad grew frustrated at how he was being treated by builders, and knew it was time for a change. “Structural steel is such a difficult component of the project,” says Troon. “My father was doing all the work, and not getting the respect for it. He was determined to do the whole lot, July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


not be a sub-contractor, and have control of the whole project. He wore out all the other building companies. A lot of them have gone by the wayside, and his company became the largest regional building firm in our state.� Today, H. Troon Pty Ltd directly employ 84 people, and has a subcontractor workforce of about 500. Working in all states in Australia, the company has various divisions in structural steel, engineering, aluminium fabricating, and joinery. With a turnover of about $90 million a year, they are working on 12 to 15 projects at any one time, with each one having an average value of $10 to $12 million. For H. Troon Pty Ltd, the projects they create are just as varied and unique as the company’s


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

stellar history. They include bridges, art galleries, buildings that conform to environmentallyfriendly Green Star ratings, large resorts, hospitals, warehouses, and even war memorials and rings constructed to commemorate the 1956 Olympics. Many pieces are fabricated by the company at their facilities located in Ballarat, and have been applied to countless projects, such as sports centres, corporate offices, and retail facilities. Today, the company is working on a number of interesting projects for their clients, including an aquatic centre, an industrial complex, schools, and an equine centre. Some, like the $14 million building of a new four storey office building in the centre of Geelong, are built to be five-star Green Star rated, one of the highest ratings available

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

from the Green Building Council of Australia, a not-for-profit organization committed to developing a sustainable property industry for Australia by encouraging the adoption of green building practices. At H. Troon Pty Ltd, all projects big or small take on the same importance and high standards of quality as those set down by the company’s founder back in 1870. The materials may have changed considerably over the decades, but the workmanship still prevails, as seen in structures like the Ballarat Fine Art Gallery. The $8.3 million project, developed with Peddle Thorpe Architects, is a unique, seamless integration of the gallery space, and blends the ageless detailed façade with zinc cladding, making the

final result both classic and modern at the same time. Less glamorous than a gallery but certainly no less important is the Matrix, a massive industrial complex being constructed by H. Troon for Matrix Composites and Engineering. A leader in the development of offshore, offsea, subsea, military and manufacturing products, the $22 million project for Matrix is located at the Australian Maritime Complex. The project is large, and in two stages. Stage one will see over 16,000 metres square of total floor space, spread out over five warehouses. Other works are complex, and include the development of text chambers, which are designed and built to recreate underwater pressure levels over a

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


staggering 10,000 pounds per square inch (psi). One of H. Troon’s largest current projects is The Parade on Lake Wendouree. An exclusive apartment complex designed by the awardwinning architectural firm of Fender Katsalidis, The Parade is the embodiment of fine design and exclusivity for discerning buyers. With only 32 luxury apartments planned and set over three levels, the complex offers stunning views of Lake Wendouree. In addition, all residents will be able to use and enjoy a planned, state of the art wellness centre. The $40 million Parade development is situated around the famous Lake View hotel, and the Troon family have lived within a kilometre of the hotel for 100 years, which they purchased. “We


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

saw the benefits of developing it,” says Troon. “The hotel actually has a historical significance, and cannot be changed itself. The surrounding land that we purchased will allow us to do a very high-quality boutique development.” They plan to start marketing the Parade this October, and anticipate completion in 2011. The apartments themselves will be stunning, multi-level modern units with clean, sleek lines, and a tremendous usage of glass to allow for maximum light and stellar visibility. Buyers can choose from one, two, or three-bedroom apartments to suit their needs. All include secure undercover parking and storage, and all are protected by a sophisticated security system for total peace of mind. The price for apartment will range from $850,000 to $1.5 million.

of all, required that all existing patient care services continue without disruption. We will never know if Henry Troon could have envisioned the great success – or the tremendous longevity – of H. Troon Pty Ltd when he established the company 140 years ago. The company is now in its fifth generation, with Steve’s 27-year-old son, James, managing a major project for H. Troon. “The fifth generation should take the business through the next 25 years easily,” says Steve of the company bearing his name. “We’re very proud of our history. To have been in business that period of time. We respect relationships within our industry, and that’s helped us over 140 years. We’re a handson company, and we’re very respectful of our reputation at all times.”o

H. Troon have completed countless projects over the past 140 years, and one of their showcases remains the St John of God Hospital. Located in Ballarat, the company was responsible for the $40 million contract, which saw the construction of a new, 162 bed ward, four-storey block. “That was a very complex project that went for two years,” says Troon. “Hospitals are very difficult projects to start and finish, because of what has to go in them.” Incorporating other elements, like a new pharmacy, front entrance, café, emergency department and physiotherapy ward, the St John of God Hospital project was planned over five stages, and most challenging July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


round the world, there are countless numbers of home builders. Some construct new homes based on function over design, while there are others who create homes that are beautiful to look at, a joy to live in, and suit their surroundings perfectly. In Australia, few companies blend form, function and aesthetics better than The Rural Building Company. A privately-owned, family-run business, The Rural Building Company started off as a relatively small enterprise back in the late 1990s, and has grown to 650 full-time staff serving the housing needs of Australians. Building an average of 60 to 100 homes every year, they specialize in spacious, single-storey homes that are perfectly suited to Australia’s climate, and blend in seamlessly with their stunning natural environment. “It is often more practical to build a large, single-storey home, as opposed to double-storey homes, and there’s a costeffectiveness in that,” says Jay Walter, General Manager for The July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus




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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Rural Building Company. As a youngster, Walter always had an interest in the building industry. After obtaining a double degree of Commerce and Behavioral Science at Notre Dame, Jay worked at Midland Brick, then Plunkett Homes in a Business Development role before taking on the role at the Rural Building Company. Like many of the staff at The Rural Building Company, he is young, energetic, and eager to offer clients well-constructed homes in a variety of unique and attractive styles. There are, according to Walter, a number of reasons for the popularity of the single-level homes, including fewer stairs to contend with, and the wraparound verandahs on some styles that serve to protect much of the house from

the sun. “It’s also one of those things where the ranch style is a traditional Australian-type home, and a lot of the people love it, so we just keep doing them.” Homes designed and built by The Rural Building Company come in a wide range of styles, including Tudor, Loft, Views, Country, Farmhouse, and Retreat. In addition to also creating custom-designed residences of distinction, the company offers many other kinds of homes; there are 11 specific types of structures under Country Range, for example, with names like The Abbeyview Resort, and The Carnegie Special Edition. Tudor Range styles remain enormously popular, July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


and a number are available, including the Tudor Durack, Homestead, and Shannon. It is a style known and loved throughout the world, from the overcast skies of London England to the warm regions of Perth. With large, free-form living spaces, Tudor style homes created by The Rural Building Company maintain the ideals of traditional Tudor floor plans, yet incorporate materials suited for the climate and lifestyle of many Australians, with practical, attractive designs that respect tradition, yet don’t conform to the mainstream. “We know that in a couple of areas we are building in, there are quite a few Tudor style


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

homes,” says Walter. “We haven’t had them available very long, and we’ve had quite a good reaction. A number of people growing up have always loved Tudor style homes, and have looked for a builder to build this style of home. It’s almost like we’ve carved out another niche in the market.” The inspiration for many of their house designs comes from a variety of sources, including architectural books, and the natural areas in which The Rural Building Company are building new homes. “We spend a lot of time there driving around, and see how the people are living in rural areas,” says Walter. The design often varies, depending on location. Rural homes near ranches often utilize mud

the house, it can be finished in about 37 weeks. The homes have large bedrooms, and are generous in size, averaging 230 to 300 square metres. The majority do not have basements in the standard design, but they can be added if necessary. As a relatively new builder in the industry, Walter says The Rural Building Company has a number of advantages over other builders when it comes to creating homes for their clients. Always on the lookout for new ideas, Walter and his staff are sometimes approached by suppliers with new products, and they have been involved in the development of a number of these innovative products. In addition to incorporating new ideas, the company uses

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rooms, which are functional and necessary, while houses constructed in costal areas often have the living space opening up onto a balcony, so owners can enjoy the spectacular view. Inspiration for the company’s designers also comes from talking to locals, and asking them what they’d like to see in a new home. Although their clients vary from blue-collar workers to doctors and lawyers, all are treated to spacious, well-designed homes constructed with the same degree of quality from floor to ceiling. The time it takes to build a home from the foundation to completion varies with the style and size of the structure; depending on

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


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a number of products that are practical for the country’s climate, and beneficial to the environment, such as solar hot water systems, which are standard in the homes they build. Some structures have a focus on passive solar energy, taking advantage of natural light and roof overhangs to regulate the amount of sunlight entering the home. Windows are often positioned to maximize ventilation as well, allowing air to circulate better in the home than it would with conventional designs. Almost all Rural Building Company homes have steel roofs as well. “We do a lot of our homes with steel, partially because the areas where we build, it is just more practical to build with steel like that, because of the climate, the areas, it’s easier to get trades out, and steel is a lot quicker.” Regardless of the style – be it a high-ceilinged Loft Range to capture a larger panorama of nature, a Views Range nestled into a hillside with plenty of large windows, a Farmhouse

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


have their own design ideas, The Rural Building Company is also able to create custom designs to suit the lifestyle and budgetary needs of their clients. If your ideal home is located on a rural ranch or on the coast, the company has the designers and highly-skilled tradesmen who will make it a reality. To make homebuying decisions easier, the company also has a number of its award-winning designed display houses available to be viewed by potential clients, which remain on display for a year or two before they are themselves sold. The reasons for their success, says Walter, comes from the company’s unique designs and solid workmanship. “We are always offering something different to the market,” says Walter.

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July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

“We’re not shying away from the extremes, and exploring the construction method. We are affordable, we are competitive, and we keep pushing different limits, and exploring different ideas as well.” The success of The Rural Building Company, says Walter, comes not just from the houses they create, but the people they employ. “We are unique, and an individual company,” says the General Manager. “We offer a lot of warmth and care in what we do, and above all, we build with passion. Our people love building, design, and the lifestyle. The feedback we often get is that people come into our office, and it is a company where people are excited, and care about what they are doing.”

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Although Australia may not have as many dams as countries such as China, they remain at the forefront of the critical issue of dam safety, thanks to organisations such as The Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated (ANCOLD). Formed in 1937 as the Australian national committee of the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD), it is an incorporated voluntary association of organisations and individual professionals with an interest in dams in Australia. Worldwide, dams have existed for thousands of years. Over 5,000 years ago, dams were created in parts of the Middle East to divert water to irrigate crops in arid areas. Today, there are more than half a million dams worldwide, with about 40,000 of them being considered “large dams,” measuring in at 15 metres and higher. Their purpose is to block the flow of a waterway – such as a river or stream – divert the flow of water into a channel, pipeline, July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


or canal. Many are used to contain water for consumption or irrigation, while others are used to generate electric power, or provide floor control. Regardless of the dam’s size or function, all have one thing in common: they need to be safe, properly maintained, and have emergency procedures in place, or the consequences can be disastrous. Over the years, there have been many tragic examples of dams literally bursting and flooding, causing a great deal of devastation and loss of life. One of the worst took place in June of 1889, when the Johnstown flood killed hundreds after the South Fork Dam burst after several days of heavy rainfall, in Jonestown, Pa, in the United States. Two-thirds of the town was under water, as many residents, and their homes, were literally swept away. Also known as The Great Flood of 1889, the disaster brought about significant changes in American laws, as they moved from a fault-based regime to strict liability. Since that time, there have been a number of well-known dam failures. One of the most recent took place this year, near the Kazakh financial hub Almaty. The failure flooded a village and claimed 37 lives when the nearby dam ruptured. There have been dam failures worldwide in the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy, China, Spain, Croatia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Brazil, Indonesia, and other countries. In Australia, groups like the Independent Dam Safety Monitors (ISDM) exist to seek


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

public accessibility, and transparency in risk assessment and the reporting of dam risk, along with dam infrastructure and safety standards. The ISDM mission statement considers a number of areas, including publicly available inundation mapping – showing the affect of flood and gate failure, for example – which must be made before the approval of and installation of Dam Infrastructure. Before dams can be approved, stakeholders upstream and downstream are offered the opportunity to participate in the provision of local and historical flood knowledge, and any evidence that may enhance the mapping for critical incidents and events. Another consideration is that at-risk residents have been offered the possibility of relocation.

Bendora Dam

Scrivener Dam

Across the country and worldwide, organisations like ANCOLD, ICOLD (International Commission on Large Dams), and ISDM have played a great role in increasing awareness and the need for dam safety, including training and emergency measure preparedness. One example used by the ISDM is The Lenthalls Dam Gate Failure (Hervey Bay, Queensland). Although the dam’s gates were installed in 2007, they failed to operate as designed from January of 2008. Dam gate failure can be catastrophic for populations living downstream. In February 2008, high levels of rainfall led to a “moderate flood event.” However, with the gates inoperable, they failed to lower to release flood water. With the operating authority failing to implement the Emergency Action Plan and evacuate upstream sites affected by the July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

management, and the need for dam gate reliability, and organizations like the Independent Dam Safety Monitors, The Australian National Committee on Large Dams Incorporated, and the International Commission on Large Dams (ICOLD).

flooding, the lives of a number of people were put at risk; had the situation escalated and the flooding been more severe, there would have been a much greater likelihood of injury or human death. The Lenthalls Dam Gate Failure, however, was not so kind to nature. The failure of the dam gates adversely affected endangered Wongi Waterholes in the Wongi State Forest and Forest Reserve, located in the Lake Lenthalls catchment. Although the dam’s gates were in place to ensure that there was no flooding upstream, they did flood, and the Wongi Waterholes – which were meant to be protected – were instead inundated with water. While Australia has a strong reputation with regard to dam safety and incident management, The Lenthalls Dam Gate Failure serves as a reminder of the enormous potential risks associated with dam gates, and provided an example to others of the need to review and amend dam safety requirements, risk

A non-governmental international organization, ICOLD was formed in 1928, and provides a forum for the exchange of knowledge and experience in dam engineering, and leads the way in ensuring dams are built to be as safe, strong, and efficiently as possible. With approximately 10,000 individual members – many of them engineers, scientists, and geologists from construction firms, governmental, private organisations, labs, consulting firms, and universities – ICOLD has national committees from 90 countries, In the past 40 years, a great emphasis has been place on dam safety, performance, aging, spillways, and more. Today, ICOLD has learned a great deal from dam failures of the past, and ways to prevent problems for the future. Dam safety is the first concern when designing and constructing a new dam. All elements are important, from surveys of the area to construction. Depending on the building materials used, dams can be classified as embankment – the oldest and most widelymade type of dam – or concrete dams. No matter the style, size, or location, safety should always remain the first priority in dam construction, in Australia and other countries around the world. July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


hen a government agency or private firm needs to retain the services of a contractor, it is crucial to look at more than just the bottom line. While price is a factor, going with the lowest bid for a job is not necessarily the best choice, since there are many other factors to consider, such as the contractor’s reputation, experience, skill, and ability to deliver a quality job on time, and on budget. In Australia, one of the finest combinations of a company producing skillfully planned, and exceptionally high-quality work is Haslin Constructions Pty Ltd. As one of the country’s most highly respected contractors in the civil engineering and construction industry, the Haslin name assures clients the job will be done properly, and on time. Over the past 19 years, the company’s reputation not only speaks for itself, but has earned Haslin numerous awards and a great deal of industry recognition. The company was recently nominated in the Newcastle Engineers Awards, and in June was a winner at The New South Wales CCF Earth Awards for excellence in civil construction in Category 4 (project value between $20 and $75 million) for the Main cooling water system, attemperating reservoir & transfer pumping stations (at Lake Macquarie).

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

“The recognition for the project is great,” says Phil Glohe, Business Development Manager at Haslin Constructions Pty Ltd. In many ways, the company, founded in 1991, has been created to be as strong as the structures they build. Haslin is still owned by its two founders, civil engineers John Hastings and Colin Woods, who serve as Directors to Haslin, and bring over 70 years of combined experience to the field. At Haslin, their approach to client satisfaction is about quality service, and much more. A member of the Civil Contractors Federation of Australia and the Master Builders Association of New South Wales, Haslin Constructions have completed over 140 civil and commercial building projects ranging in value from $25 million to $60 million. They are a Best Practice accredited contractor for Civil & Building with the Department of Services, Technology and Administration (DSTA). “Being Best Practice accredited with the Department of Commerce is a positive thing,” says Glohe. “It gives us some advantages to the jobs we get to tender on.” As infrastructure specialists, Haslin Constructions are involved in a number of areas, including water treatment and sewage treatment plant construction.” They are pre-selected for some of their projects, like the recently awarded $20 million Griffith Water Reclamation Contract. “That was a pre-selected tender process that we had to go through,” says Glohe. “There were only three tenders. We were certainly smaller than the other two.”

The pre-selection process requires a significant amount of time and effort. They are up against other leading Australian companies, and created a 60-page document. Over the years, Haslin’s reputation has built-up, and their many attributes – such as the company’s ability to work within budget, and create projects on time, on budget, and to the satisfaction of the client have helped them secure a number of contracts. Among Haslin’s many strengths is the ability to bring a new way of looking at projects that are often not only more effective, but can save their clients a considerable amount of money. By examining plans at the tender stage, the company’s skilled staff bring their experience


design . manufacture . installation (07) 3816 1660

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


in innovation and redesign, and can often incorporate cost-saving areas into the project. One prime example of ‘thinking outside the box is the $65 million Eraring Energy Project, a power station on Lake Macquarie. “Eraring Energy is the biggest project that we’ve completed in the company’s history, so that was very much a feather in our cap, not just for the size of it, but the significance of what we were able to offer to our client,” says Glohe. Begun in July of 2008 and completed in February of this year, Haslin Constructions was one of several companies who tendered on the project. Initially, they submitted both a confirming and nonconforming tender to Eraring Energy for the design and construction of the attemperating reservoir and transfer pumping station. Haslin’s


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

alternative design paid off, both for the company and the client, by offering them significant savings over the initial plan. “We saved the client something like $7 million with our alternate design, for which they were obviously grateful,” says Glohe. “Their original documentation said, ‘do it this way,’ and we came up with some nice little alternatives. I think the client was very happy with what was achieved, and was pretty much instrumental in us winning the job at the end of the day.” Some of Haslin’s key innovations included changing the original inlet/outlet connecting the reservoir to the pump station with a tunnel under the completed embankment, and replacing it with a “cut and cover” option. Along with many other cost-saving changes,

two synchronized butterfly valves were used to control the reservoir discharge, and the reservoir intake structure was changed from the original, making it far less complex, and therefore cheaper to construct. It was not the first time Haslin has devised carefully-panned options to existing designs resulting in tremendous benefit to their clients. “Eraring Energy was purely an alternate design to the tendered documents that they put out,� says Glohe. We examined the documents, and came up with another way of doing it. Taking a different approach certainly resulted in the customer saving some significant dollars from the original design.� Being recognized for their hard work and innovation is a tremendous honour for Haslin, one that acknowledges the many innovative approaches they take to July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



the construction of their projects, and their ability to suggest more cost-effective means of construction to their clients.

STP. They were recently awarded the $20 million Griffith Water Reclamation Contract, and have been pre-selected for the Ballina STP Upgrade.

With such a solid reputation, Haslin has been permitted to be included as a pre-qualified contractor with many Australian authorities, such as the Department of Services, Technology and Administration; Sydney Water; Eraring Energy, and State Water, to name a few. As one of the country’s more dependable infrastructure specialists, Haslin has completed a number of works recently, such as the Clarence Valley STP – 3 sites Clarenza, North Grafton & Woodford Island at Maclean, and the Bundanoon STP. In addition, they are in current construction at Lithgow STP, and recently tendered Shoalhaven STP upgrade, Wallerawang STP, and Bungendore

Along with these projects, Haslin have worked on many rail infrastructure projects, including the Campbelltown Bus/Rail Interchange, the Endeavour Rail Centre and the Auburn Railway Station Upgrade. Their government and commercial works projects include the Caringbah High School Library, the Menai and the Fairfield Pedestrian Bridges, and Arnott’s Biscuit Factory. In the field of sports and recreation, Haslin’s projects include the Drummoyne & Muswellbrook Swimming Pools, the Menai Basketball Stadium, the Energy Australia Football Stadium Works, and the Taronga Park Zoo Amphitheatre &

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Raptor Enclosure. With so many projects under their belt, it comes as no surprise that Haslin Constructions have been busy with construction, and coming up with cost-saving options for their many clients. Working all over New South Wales, Haslin’s approach is to take on the jobs they are best qualified for, and can handle. Earlier this year, they were awarded work to commence on an upgrade to the Lithgow Sewage Treatment Plant, an important project that is necessary to bring the plant into line with modern environmental performance. The project, expected to cost in excess of $18 million, will significantly upgrade the plant, which is located within the Sydney Drinking Water Catchment. o

“This was an open tender process, open to one and all,” says Glohe. “It was our alternate design on some of the structures that was significant in us winning it. Sometimes, it’s not all about cost. It’s the other things that clients look at, such as the quality, and our experience, and that sort of thing. You can win jobs when you’re not necessarily the lowest tenderer, depending on what qualifications and what design you make.”

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Every issue, Australian Construction Focus profiles a structure of unique historical, cultural, or environmental significance. This month, we take a closer look at Flinders Street Station in Melbourne. As the oldest railway station in Australia, Flinders Street Station celebrated its 100th anniversary in January of 2010. Over the past century this station has become more than just a place of transit, it has become a prominent and cherished Melbourne landmark. Whether they consider it exceptional, unique, eclectic, or even tacky anyone in Melbourne could point you to the clocks.


July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

The current Flinders Street Station initially opened its doors in 1910 but the original building on the corner of Flinders and Swanston Streets, called the Melbourne Terminus, first opened in 1954 and was the first steam rail station in Australia. In time, it was decided that the Melbourne Terminus was inadequate and needed to be expanded due to increased passenger traffic. In 1899, a design competition for the new station was announced by the Railway Commissioners and 17 entries were received.The first prize of ÂŁ500 was awarded to JW Fawcett and HPC Ashworth of the Railways Department. The winning design was for a

3 storey building, spanning more than a city block. As seen today, a wide archway entrance, several domes, and a large clock towerat the intersection of Elizabeth and Flinders Streets, were included in the plans. The architectural style of the station is most often described as Edwardian Baroque but inspiration of the French Renaissance can also be seen. Preliminary construction and groundwork began in 1901, but work on the main building itself did not start until 1905 when Peter Rodger was awarded the contract to build the station. Coloured cement render, contrasted by red brick

was used on the exterior, as well as extensive pressed metal wall cladding. In 1904, the design evolved to include a fourth floor and basement, and dome construction was underway by 1906. A major change occurred in 1908 when Peter Rodger’s contract was ended and the Railway Commission took control of construction. Finally, after over 9 years of construction, the grand opening was held in 1910. As any building that has stood for a century or more, Flinders Street Station has required a great deal of maintenance and upgrades. Throughout the 1980s, many changes were July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

made at the historic site. The public toilets were replaced, escalators were installed, the main concourse was tiled, skylights were put in, and several new shops opened. Accessibility was also something that needed to be addressed at Flinders Street Station. As part of a multi-million dollar project during the 1990s, escalators and lifts were installed linking platforms 10, 12, and 13 to the main concourse. Also, in order to guide the visually impaired to lifts and exits, tactile tiles were applied in several areas. In addition, the exterior surface of the station was cleaned; the V/line booking office was relocated with a new commercial area replacing it, and better lighting and a closed circuit television monitoring system were installed to increase security. Adronas Conservation Architecture, a Melbourne-based practice, was called in when restoration of the stained glass windows and ‘Flinders Street Station’ sign was required. This firm was also responsible for a toilet upgrade. Between 2005 and 2006, Eptec Pty. Ltd, a national engineering firm, was the principal contractor involved in upgrading the station. The company was responsible for a list of works: repairing concrete, reinforcing concrete slabs, waterproofing drains, and strengthening steel beams, among others.Unidirectional carbon fibre sheets were applied underneath the concourse deck in order to reinforce its strength under increased loads and ensure longevity. Connex and Eptec managed scheduling together to minimize disruption to traffic going to and from the station. Despite all of the renovations and enhancements that have been made, the station is still in need of repair. A large, unoccupied section of the building has been neglected and left to deteriorate. Numerous open areas, including a great ballroom that was once ornately decorated, are now in poor shape. Various community groups have appealed to the government to fix up these spaces and turn Flinders Street Station back into the social meeting place it once was. After 100 years, Flinders Street Station is still one of the busiest stops on the Melbourne railway line. Over 100,000 people pass through on an average weekday and countless tourists make this station a must see on their trip through Melbourne. With the support of the Melbourne community and the Victorian government it will surely remain an iconic landmark and a vital part of Melbourne’s rail system for years to come.o July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus



July 2010 | Australian Construction Focus