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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


It is with great pleasure that we welcome you to the premiere issue of Australian Construction Focus. Aimed at leaders in the country’s ever-expanding construction industry, our mandate is simple: to bring you stories about the companies leading the pack, keep you on top of the latest news affecting your industry, and bring you up to date with the newest technology, products, and construction-related events in Australia. For the first issue, we chose as our cover feature the Australian Constructors Association. The focus of the piece is a key issue affecting all of us: workplace safety. Formed in 1994, the ACA represents 19 of the nation’s leading construction contracting organisations, and leads the way in safety. Every month, the digital version of Australian Construction Focus will be distributed free of charge to 12,600 men and women involved in all areas of construction, including senior management, engineers, architects, developers, suppliers, law firms, government agencies, and other supporting industries. In the coming months, we will be publishing a quarterly expanded edition of Australian Construction Focus for you to read, enjoy, and share with your staff and clients. As you read through our magazine, you will discover stories on subjects you may be familiar with, and others that will be new. From road stabilistion to bridge building, you will learn about companies who specialise in construction of aged care centres, build some of the world’s largest shopping malls, and create complexes for poultry processing. No two construction projects are exactly alike, and we will continue to highlight the challenges and triumphs that come with construction in Australia. We look forward to having you along for the journey.

Robert Hoshowsky (Managing Editor)

Editor’s Pick In this issue, we shine our spotlight on G.E. Shaw & Associates (Pg. 38) and The Westfield Group (Pg. 24). From restoring fire-ravaged buildings at the famous Mount Stromlo observatory to installing a massive, fivetonne magnet at Canberra Hospital used for delicate brain surgery, G.E. Shaw’s projects are anything but commonplace. Working with almost 24,000 retailers across more than 10 million square metres, The Westfield Group is the world’s largest listed retail property group, and behind the massive Westfield Sydney redevelopment, which will be one of the world’s finest shopping destinations.

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Robert Hoshowsky Managing Editor Kulvir Singh 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 Jeff Hocken Publisher 8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

06 Events & News

Industy Events & News

16 Badge

Business through Integrity

24 Westfield

The Sydney Project

32 ACA

Safety First

38 G.E. Shaw

Security, Brain Surgery & The Stars

48 Green

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

The Greening of Australia


48

56 Hardy Bros

Moving Mountains

62 ACIF

32

Forecasting The Future

66 SPA group

On the Road with SPA Group

72 O’Donnell & Hanlon

Keeping it in the Family

78 History

His Majesty`s Theatre

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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This year’s annual BEMP takes place on June 15 and 16 at the Parliament House of Australia in Canberra An annual conversation between parliamentarians and industry leaders, BEMP showcases the strong relationship between Australian communities and their built environment, and offers attendees a valuable opportunity to explore the many economic, social, environmental, and governance issues that help shape national prosperity. Opening with the presentation of the Australian Award for Urban Design at the National Portrait Gallery, the following day (June 16) will see industry leaders discussing key issues such as urban planning issues and community needs with key members of parliament. Speakers include Professor Rob Adams (Director of City Design, City of Melbourne), Senator Simon Birmingham (Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for the Murray Darling Basin), Dr. Chris Caton (Chief Economist, BT Financial Group), and Mark Dreyfus QC, MP (Federal Member for Isaacs, Australian Labor Party). For more information and registration, visit the BEMP website at www.bemp. com.au, email events@raia.com.au, phone 02 6121 2000, fax at 02 6121 2001, or by standard mail at P.O. Box 3373 Manuka ACT 2603. ¨

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


June 28 to July 1st Held in Sydney from June 28 to July 1, ConnectED 2010 brings together design professionals and educators from around the world to discuss a variety of topics including design research and technology, multidisciplinary education in design, global agendas for design, E-learning and technology in design education, and postgraduate design research. ConnectED 2010 will feature a number of prominent keynote speakers from around the world, presenting papers on design disciplines including engineering, multimedia, industrial design, architecture, and fine arts. This year’s speakers include Amanda Breytenbach (Vice Dean, Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture, University of Johannesburg), Gráinne Conole (Professor of E-Learning in the Institute of Educational Technology at the Open University in the UK), and Kees Dorst (Professor of Design and Associate Dean Research, University of Technology Sydney). In addition, prizes will be awarded for Best Paper, Best Poster, and Best Paper by a Young Author at ConnectED2010. For more information and registration, please visit www.connected2010.com.au or contact the ConnectED2010 Conference Secretariat at CLEMS (Conference Links & Event Management Services), Suite 5, 250 Gore Street, Fitzroy, Victoria, Australia, 3065. They can also be reached by phone at 61 3 9416 3833, by Fax at 61 3 9416 4344, or by email at connected2010@clems.com.au. ¨

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


June 23 to 25, Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre Held at the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, June 23 to 25, DesignBUILD is a showcase for literally hundreds of the latest innovative product designs and applications. With thousands of products on display, DesignBUILD is Australia’s largest and most comprehensive building and construction exhibition, a place where you can meet and connect with industry professionals seeking to specify your products in their next major residential or commercial project. Designed for trade-industry professionals, the event is expected to attract between 10,000 and 12,000 visitors over three days. At DesignBUILD, visitors will see over 450 companies in Melbourne, and an almost endless number of exhibits showcasing the latest building and construction products, tools, and equipment. In addition, there will be training programmes, Green Building Seminars, Apprentice programmes, interactive features, and a free Business-Matching Service, where you can nominate and contact the companies you want to see to maximize your business activity when you attend the show. For contact and registration information, including the latest free show updates, see the DesignBUILD 2010 website, www.designbuildexpo.com.au ¨

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Ararat Priso

L

ocated 200 km west of Melbou Victoria, the medium-security p opened in 1967 as a replacement fo old Ballarat Gaol, and construction begin later this year, and be comple

Celebrating the new Gateway Bridge… on foot

A

n unprecedented number of people turned out for the opportunity to walk on Brisbane’s new second Gateway Bridge. Duplicating the Gateway crossing built 24 years ago, the new six-lane bridge officially opened on Sunday May 16, a week ahead of the opening of the bridge to vehicles. Over 175,000 walked along the 1.6 km route, many of them parents carrying their children on their shoulders for the historic event. Sir Leo Hielscher, a Queensland public servant involved in both construction projects, had the twin bridges named in his honour at the opening ceremony by Premier Anna Bligh. “I’ll be paying tolls like everyone else,” said the 83-year-old. For drivers, the second Gateway Bridge will save them almost half an hour in traffic, and a toll of $2.95 will be charged. ¨

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

The much-needed expansion will s Prison becomes an open or “campus with prisoners being allowed m of movement than with the prese present, the prison is operating capacity, and the expansion will incr considerably, with almost double

New


n expansion will see up to 450 new jobs

urne in Ararat, prison originally or the centuryis expected to eted in 2012.

see the Ararat s-style� prison, more freedom ent design. At almost at full rease the space e the current

number of beds being added, from 382 beds to 732. The expansion will be built around the existing prison, and will integrate all the facilities from the existing structure into the new facilities. It will feature accommodation blocks similar to those found on many university campuses, which will help with prisoner control and movement. Other services, like a dining room and recreation area, will also be incorporated. It is also believed that, once completed, the number of prison staff will increase considerably. ¨

tunnel to create 5,000 jobs

I

n Bisbane, City Council has received three tenders for construction of the Northern Link tunnel. A toll road connecting the Western Freeway at Toowong with the Kelvin Grove Inner-City Bypass, it is believed the project could benefit the Brisbane and south-east Queensland communities by $10.5 billion, and generate 5,000 jobs. The decision on the winning bid will be made in September, and construction on the $1.8 billion project is expected to start at the end of this year. The tunnel is estimated to significantly reduce traveling times, and take about 24,000 cars per day. ¨

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Controversial wind

A

lthough it faced conside wind farm project has bee

The Parkesbourne-Mummel La try and stop the Gullen Range w Goulburn in New South Wales one of the largest wind farms for construction, but it is estim to $500 million, take 12 to 18

A

New film studio at Broken Hill

fortress-like structure, the former Central Power Station on Eyre Street in New South Wales, will be the site of a new film studio. The NSW government recently announced the provision of $1 million towards the construction of the studio, where, it is hoped, the new Mad Max film will be made. It is believed the studio could create over 120 jobs in five years, and inject up to $40 million into the state economy. Mad Max 4: Fury Road, is expected to start shooting this August. Members of the Broken Hill community have suggested additional uses for the site, including a film school, exhibition hall, art space, and a Mad Max museum, in honour of the George Millerdirected film series that catapulted a young Mel Gibson to international stardom. ¨

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


d farm gets approval

erable opposition, a controversial en given the green light.

andscape Guardians took action to wind farm, between Crookwell and . With 73 turbines, it will become in Australia. No date has been set mated the wind farm could cost up months to complete, and use the

services of up to 150 people for construction. Protesters against the wind farm argue that the objective of the developers’ is not saving the earth, but money. Many fear the towers are unsightly, and in 25 years – the average life span of a wind tower – the countryside will be covered with these decaying steel structures. Other concerns include “shadow flicker” – causing shadows that flicker on and off in sunny conditions – noise, the effect on birds, magnetic fields, and the overall impact appearance of these structures will have on the landscape. ¨

Six million dollar hospital expansion planned

A

$6 million expansion of the Warners Bay Private Hospital will soon be underway. Located in the suburb of Warners Bay, the hospital’s surgical focus is in the areas of Orthopaedics, Urology, General, Plastic and Maxillofacial. A 64 bed facility at present, the plans call for the construction of an additional 26 beds to be allocated for mental health care, and the conversion of a 10-bed ward into a rehabilitation ward. In addition, a number of intensive care beds will be converted to in-patient beds, and the hospital’s gymnasium and pool areas will be upgraded. Serving the community of Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region for over 30 years, Warners Bay Private Hospital also provides patients with a range of day surgery procedures, features a Sleep Disorder Unit on site, and is the only hospital in the Hunter region to provide Lithotripsy – a medical procedure using shock waves – to break kidney stones into smaller pieces, so they can more easily pass out of the body. ¨

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


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s the largest privately-owned commercial and industrial building company in South Australia, Badge Constructions Pty Ltd has an impressive annual turnover of $200 million, and has worked on many massive construction projects, yet one thing has remained constant over the years: their integrity. “Our strength is our integrity,” says Badge’s Managing Director, Jim Whiting. “What integrity ends up getting you is a whole lot of repeat business, and when you think about the building industry, most of the people you deal with are repeat offenders, in the sense that they build more than once, be it a school or a food processing or an aged care provider or a hospital, or government structure.” Over the past 27 years, Badge has successfully completed an endless number of projects, ranging in value from $1 million to $60 million, taking pride in every single structure they have created. “Location is just geography to us, nothing more,” is a saying at Badge, who has undertaken projects in locations such as New Zealand and Kangaroo Island. Badge has expanded considerably since the early Eighties, and with offices in Adelaide, Brisbane, and Perth, they have created projects worth over a billion dollars. June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


Like many other companies, Badge started out relatively small. Along with five others at the time, Whiting was working for a prominent Adelaide building supplies company when it was taken over by an appliance manufacturer. That was in 1982. Not pleased with these new developments, a five-year plan was created for

so it’s been just me and my family ever since.”

a new firm, and Badge Constructions Pty. Ltd. was born in 1983. The name “Badge,” explains Whiting, is an acronym of sorts from the names of the original partners: Barry, Alan, David, Graham, Brian, and Jim. “The “J” just didn’t fit, so we didn’t worry about that,” says Whiting, laughing. “The other guys got out around 1988,

thing about having a whole lot of brothers is that you end up knowing a whole lot of people, which helps a lot.”

As the majority owner, Whiting has seven brothers, who are silent shareholders. “Private companies like Badge, family companies, have a character about them that other companies don’t have,” says Whiting. “In Australia, one

Success came quickly for Badge in its formative years. At first, the company was working on commercial buildings and – to generate cash June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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flow – constructing rural shearing sheds. Between 1984 and 1985 alone, Badge completed a staggering 210 rural jobs, in addition to their commercial work. The shearing sheds proved to be a sound financial decision, especially after the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires, which meant a lot of damaged sheds needed to be repaired, or entirely rebuilt. In time, the decision was made to concentrate on commercial buildings. Soon, Badge was behind a wide range of commercial structures, including a horse stable at the Wellington Hotel in Waterloo, factories for an air conditioning manufacturer, a private aircraft hangar, and a ski lodge in Perisher Valley. Many of these early customers were so pleased

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with the company’s efforts that they became valuable repeat clients. In 1990, Badge created their first job for the Catholic Church, along with their first government contract, and began construction on a $350,000 fish factory. It was just one of many multi-million dollar food processing plants the 189 employee-strong company has built over the decades, which encompasses education, defence, health, sports, aged care, retail space, and pubs. All structures have their particular challenges, but few rival food processing, where Badge is one of Australia’s industry leaders. In fact, Badge remains one of only two builders in Australia who are recognised as specialists in the field of food processing.

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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Adelaide’s top builders use Lynch Meyer lawyers

Michael Hutton

Michael Battye

Cathy Mayfield

Nick Anderson

Proud to be associated with Badge Lynch Meyer 190 Flinders Street, Adelaide SA 5000 T > 61 8 8223 7600 F > 61 8 8223 2722 www.lynchmeyer.com.au

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


“The only thing I think would come close to the complexity of a processing plant would be a big hospital,” says Whiting. “I would argue that a food processing plant is more complex. You have more services, and big food companies – particularly ones which are single product, like chicken processing – any issue with their product in terms of contamination or whatever is disastrous for them. So they have risk management, and their requirements for proper health and those sorts of things is enormous. The logistics of getting the product in and out, refrigeration, and the mechanical services are really complex.” Unlike simpler structures, food processing facilities require highly efficient cleaning and drainage systems that must be kept absolutely pristine. One of Badge’s repeat clients is Ingham, one of the largest producers of meat chickens and turkeys in Australia. “We’ve done the majority of their work since we started,” says Whiting. “It is complex, technical work, but we’ve got a great CV, and we do a lot of them.”

Adjacent to the Uniting Church, the new state of the art Resthaven aged care centre will be completed in early 2011. Once open, the facility will provide services for older people in need of short term respite care, and have a specific area for individuals with dementia. Badge is also working on another aged care facility in Perth, and completing a $10 million food processing factory extension in Queensland. No matter the size, scope, or function of the buildings they construct, Badge is proud of the many awards they’ve received over the years, and the repeat business they have earned from their many satisfied clients. “If you look through the whole list of what we do, the big supermarket chains, the big developers, most people who build with us build more than once,” says Whiting. “So we take the view that if we deal with everybody with integrity, the rest will follow, and by and large, that’s what happens.” ¨

Badge’s other projects include several police stations, the Bandyup Women’s Prison, the Holy Spirit Seminary and buildings for the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Brisbane, and several aged care centres complete with full commercial kitchens, laundry facilities, and administration areas. “We’ve got two $20 million aged care estates, one in Adelaide, and one in a regional country town called Mt. Gambier,” says Whiting. June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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W

hen it comes to shopping centres, there are malls, and then there are enormous, multilevel glass, marble, and stainless steel edifices that seem more like multi-level, futuristic miniature cities with places to go shopping. Over the years, malls have evolved from places where customers had a choice of a handful of stores to places where they can browse and buy in literally hundreds of shops, all under one roof. Over half a century ago, John Saunders and Frank Lowy opened the Westfield Plaza in Blacktown. Described at the time as being “the most modern American-type combined retail centre,� it featured not one but two department stores, a dozen shops, and a supermarket. Although it would be considered small by today’s standards, the centre was nothing less than revolutionary in 1959, and soon became the commercial centre of Blacktown.

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The very next year saw Westfield become incorporated, and listed as a public company on the Sydney Stock Exchange. Growth for the company was rapid, and 1961 saw the opening of Westfield’s first purpose-built centre at Hornsby, with 22 stores. By the end of the next year, the ever-increasing Westfield portfolio expanded to eight centres, either completed or under development, in Sydney. Nineteen sixtysix saw the opening of Burwood, which was soon praised as one of the world’s most beautiful indoor shopping centres. Adding to the centre’s allure was the fact that is was the first shopping

centre to contain a major department store, and the first to be branded with the Westfield logo. The Seventies saw the rapid rise of Westfield, with many more shopping centres being built in Sydney and Melbourne. In the Seventies along, Westfield constructed six new centres, with another five being redeveloped, including Indooroopilly in Brisbane and Parramatta in Sydney. The company made a bold move in 1977, when it made its first American acquisition, in Trumbull, Connecticut. Today Westfield has a staggering 55 centres in the U.S., more than June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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in any other market. The acquisitions of new centres in America continued throughout the Eighties, in locations in California, Michigan, Connecticut, Los Angeles, and New Jersey. By the end of the decade, Westfield was opening more major centres closer to home in Australia, including Chatswood and Eastgardens (the home of Australia’s first movie theatre to be located in a shopping centre), a Warrawong in Wollongong. In addition, and number of redevelopments were taking place across the country. Expansion continued for Westfield at a rapid pace from the Nineties to the present day. Openings and redevelopments continued across Asutralia, with new centres coming under the Group’s

management. In 1997, Westfield entered New Zealand when they assumed management of the St. Lukes portfolio, the country’s largest shopping centre group. In 2008, they opened Westfield London, the United Kingdom’s largest urban shopping centre, at a cost of 1.7 billion Pounds, it features over 280 stores. As if these accomplishments weren’t impressive enough, the seeds they planted back in 2001, when the Group acquired Sydney’s Centrepoint shopping centre – home to the iconic Sydney Tower – are growing, and growing fast. An exciting new development is underway called the Westfield Sydney redevelopment. In the heart of Sydney’s Central Business District, June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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it will integrate Westfield Centrepoint and the Centrepoint Convention Centre; Imperial Arcade and Skygarden, provide a new office tower at 85 Castlereagh St., and an extensively modified and refurbished tower at 100 Market St. At a cost of $1.2 billion, construction on the Westfield Sydney redevelopment is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012. The scope of the project is massive, with a redeveloped retail area of 40,000 m 2, and plans for approximately 250 shops in the new centre. Once completed, the redevelopment will literally have something to offer to everyone, and be a visual masterpiece. Materials used in construction and design of the retail portion will vary with different levels of the structure. “At the lower levels we have the youth, where we have some of the edgy fashion designers that the youth appeal to, with polished concrete floors, a brick portal structure, and some exposed anodized aluminum framing the ceiling,” says Ian Irving, Director of Westfield Design and Construction. Higher levels will feature different design elements reflecting the

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luxury brands available, such as highly-polished stainless steel, and marble floors. “The finishes that are selected at each of the levels, we think, properly respond to the market pitch that retail level is aiming at, in terms of its luxury or product.” Although the retail side of the project may focus on luxury, the construction aspects are firmly rooted in sustainability. A platinum member of the Green Building Council of Australia, Westfield takes environmental concerns seriously, and has worked closely with the Green Building Council to develop the Green Star Shopping Centre Design tool, a set of principles for evaluating the environmental impact of retail buildings. “The Sydney Project is set to become Australia’s largest sustainable mixed use development currently,” says Irving. “We’re targeting a fivestar Green Star rating on all three parts of the development; that is, the two commercial elements, and the retail portion. In fact, we have already achieved a six-star Green Star design rating on 100 Market St., the commercial


building, and achievable.”

that’s

the

highest

rating

Some of the many features of the new project include improved daylight lighting levels, increased fresh air rates as part of the mechanical design system, and a conscious design use of energy efficient lighting systems. Westfield also used paints and carpets with low VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds). Equally impressive is the fact that Westfield was able to recycle 80 per cent of all the demolition material on the Sydney Project. Westfield already has many energysaving and environmental initiatives in place at other shopping centres, including energy and water conservation, materials recycling, and public infrastructure connectivity. Efficient building designs mean a reduction not only in energy consumption, but reduced carbon emissions. As the world’s largest listed retail property group by equity market capitalization, The Westfield Group operates a global portfolio of 119 highquality regional shopping centres in Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and the United States, valued in excess of $59 billion, and works with over 23,700 retailers across more than 10 million square metres of retail space. Most impressive of all is that Westfield manages all aspects of shopping centre development, from design and construction through to leasing, management and marketing. And once the Sydney Project is completed, the company will have another jewel to add to its retail crown. ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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n every construction project, safety is a priority, and few organisations realize this more than the Australian Constructors Association. Representing 19 of the nation’s leading construction contracting organisations, the ACA is committed to the safety, efficiency, and development of Australia’s ever-expanding construction industry. “Our objective is to serve the interests of Australia’s major construction contractors, so we don’t try and replicate all the services provided by a lot of other construction industry organisations. Our focus is on the needs of major construction companies,” says Jim Barrett, Executive Director of the ACA.

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The Australian Constructors Association – incorporated as a company limited by guarantee – was formed in 1994 following a number of meetings of the chief executive officers of major contractors. Although many of the CEO’s belonged to other industry organisations, there was a demand for an association focusing on the specific needs and interests of major construction companies. Dealing with a range of issues, the ACA’s four key objectives concentrate on the highest standards of skill, integrity and responsibility of member companies; representing the interests of major contractors to government and other decision makers; enhancing and promoting the status of construction contractors and the industry which they serve, and facilitating the exchange of technical information and encouraging further research. Recently, the ACA amended its rules. Among the changes: member companies must have an annual turnover in excess of $500 million; also, the CEO of each member company must sit on the ACA’s Board of Directors. “Our 19 member companies

represent a significant part of the infrastructure market in Australia,” says Barrett. “There are some larger contractors who are not members of ours, but we certainly have a significant majority of them.” By dealing with the chief executives of major contractors and focusing on a specific range of high-level issues affecting their businesses, the ACA is able to work on a number of topics, such as industrial relations policies, Australia’s workplace relations policy development, commercial and contractual issues, promoting best practice, and a range of taxation issues and accounting standards affecting major project development. Issues like workplace safety and environmental concerns are of the utmost importance for the ACA. “Safety is probably the most prominent issue on our agenda,” says Barrett. Along with benchmarking surveys collected from its member

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companies, the ACA has a board-level safety committee, collects statistics from members, and shares their knowledge of safety incidents to try and improve the environment in which companies operate. In addition, environmental issues are another focus of the ACA, especially how they relate to and affect major project development, in terms of legislation and regulations. Along with safety and the environment, many

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ACA member companies are active in residential and non-residential building, engineering construction, process engineering, contract mining, maintenance and services, oil and gas operations, and telecommunications services. Operating on a global scale with member companies in Australasia, Europe, Asia, North and South America and the Middle East, ACA member companies have a combined annual revenue in excess of $50 billion, employing over 100,000 people in their Australian and


“Our objective is to serve the interests of Australia’s major construction contractors, so we don’t try and replicate all the services provided by a lot of other construction industry organizations. Our focus is on the needs of major construction companies,”

international operations. The sheer size and scope of their membership puts the Australian Constructors Association in a league all its own. In addition to working actively with their membership, the ACA also organizes a number of awards, including the industry’s most prestigious honour, the Australian Construction Achievement Award. Along with Engineers Australia, the ACA presents this award as recognition to recipients who are dedicated

to building the nation’s infrastructure. “We’re in a space which is really not occupied by anyone else,” says Barrett. “Our mission is to remind people that we have one of the best construction industries in the world. We have very professional construction companies. We work with the best designers, and the best engineers. We produce infrastructure of the highest order, and we really focus on making sure we have a business environment that allows that professionalism to grow and develop.” ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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ver the years, most professional project and construction management companies will work on a number of unique jobs; likewise G.E. Shaw & Associates Pty Ltd has been involved with some highly unusual and challenging projects involving brain surgery, security, and an observatory where you can truly reach for the stars. Based in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), G.E. Shaw & Associates provides commercial and residential construction and construction-related services

to clients in Canberra, and the surrounding region. Originally founded in 1989 by Graham Shaw, who has since retired, the company was sold in 2001. Structured around four operating divisions, G.E. Shaw & Associates concentrate on Canberra, yet have undertaken projects as far afield as Wagga, Bombala, Campbelltown, Sydney CBD, Londonderry, and Coonabarabran. “We do commercial construction, that really is our core business,” says G.E. Shaw’s General

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SIDING SPRING OBSERVATORY ASBESTOS REMEDIATION (BUILDING & ENGINEERING SERVICES)

The project was nominated for a Master Buildiers Association Award in the demanding category of Projects Exhibiting Technical Difficulty or Innovation.

Manager Roger Poels. “We’ve got it split down into a couple of areas. One is major projects, and the other is fitouts and refurbishments. We started a residential division 18 months ago. It’s up and running, but it’s quite separate – it’s got its own name and everything else – but it is still part of G.E. Shaw.” With over 40 employees and key staffers like Managing Director Valdis Luks, Director/ Senior Project Manager Ross Greenup, and Steve Simms, Director/Manager, Fitout & Refurbishment Division, G.E. Shaw & Associates

have combined decades of experience in site management, carpentry, building, project management, project administration, and many other areas of construction. The company has worked for a number of prestigious clients over the years, including the Department of Industry, Tourism and Resources, and the Australian Customs Service on projects valued at over $11.5 million. As a result, G.E. Shaw has built a sterling reputation with Commonwealth government clients, and is familiar with the requirements and protocols that are necessary to get the job done. June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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PARLIAMENT HOUSE CIVIL WORKS & PERIMETER SECURITY (MAJOR CONSTRUCTION) - As

the w These included major repairs to the ornamental pool in the forecourt area and repair of the adjac

Among their many recent projects, the company was called upon to undertake security upgrades around the new Parliament House in Canberra for the Joint House Department. The structure – widely considered one of Australia’s most recognizable public buildings – serves as a national symbol of nationhood and democracy. The project called for a low wall, about a metre high, complete with bollards. The purpose was to create a wall that would protect the building and its inhabitants from potential terrorist

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works involved a major civil component, the opportunity was taken to add civil components to the scope of works. cent structural and topping slabs that were allowing water to leak into the underground carpark.

attacks, yet remain low enough so it would not appear obtrusive. “It was quite interesting,” says Poels. “When we told people we were putting a concrete wall around Parliament House, there was a bit of shock horror, but it is done, it is very difficult to notice, and it is done quite well.” The project won two major awards for Building Excellence (Civil Works) in 2006 for G.E. Shaw. Other projects also stand as a testament to the company’s ingenuity

and professionalism, such as re-building the structure on Mount Stromlo. In January of 2003, bushfires ravaged the world-renowned observatory, which was originally built in 1868. The tragic fires destroyed five telescopes, the observatory dome, eight staff houses and other structures, causing over $20 million in damage. The decades-old administration building was reduced to a burned-out shell during the bushfires, and G.E. Shaw was able to leave the shell as it was, and re-build the rest

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of the entire building. One of the most recent projects undertaken by the company is also one of the most challenging they have encountered, involving making large structural changes to facilitate one of the most delicate operations of all, brain surgery in Canberra Hospital. The project is complex, and involves installing an enormous, five tonne magnet to be used in a new intra-operative Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) neurosurgery suite. Getting the magnet into place is no easy feat for the company. “We’ve actually built it on top of a roof which is directly over the top of a loading dock, so we’ve had to punch columns all the way down to the ground through a couple of floors down into the loading dock,” says Poels of the project, which

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BIRRIGAI OUTDOOR SCHOOL FIRE RECO

The Project involved several major features: Environmenta features and Excellence and Innovation Projec


ONSTRUCTION (MAJOR CONSTRUCTION)

al Issues and methods of control, Outstanding construction

cts Exhibiting Technical Difficulty or Innovation.

will be completed in a few months. “It has been technically quite a challenging project, from the logistics of building in a hospital, and working in the confines of the main loading dock of the hospital.” Adding to the complexity of the project, the enormous magnet cannot be operated near lifts, making movement difficult. One of the challenges, says Poels, was getting the magnet in position in the first place, and how to get it back down again, if it ever requires repairs in the future. “Once it sparks up, you don’t want to have any metal implements too close to it, because it is pretty savage,” says Poels. “You’ve got to be

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UNIVERSITY HOUSE BAR AND BISTRO REFURBISHMENT (FITOUT & REFURBISHMENT)

This outstanding project won an MBA Merit Award for Building Excellence in 2009 in the category of Commercial & Retail Fitout, Refurbishment or Alterations more than $3M careful with all sorts of equipment there.” The magnet is being positioned on an overhead steel beam, “and they’ll end up doing brain surgery on people while they’re still conscious with this particular bit of equipment, so there are very fine tolerances.” Once completed, Canberra Hospital’s new Neurosurgery Suite will make it the first hospital in Australia, and one of just 25 around the world, to house the IMRISneuro, including movable MRI, allowing surgeons to safely image patients in the operating room during brain surgery, minimizing movement of the patient. Aside from becoming one of the most advanced neurosurgery suites in Australia, the project involves constructing internal walls, pouring concrete, plaster

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boarding, floor topping, joinery, and building a protected, copper-shielded room. In addition to these projects, G.E. Shaw & Associates are working on a number of Building the Education Revolution projects. “They’re going quite well,” says Poels. “They went out to five or six builders for the ones in Canberra, and we were one of those, we got a certain amount of schools to upgrade.” As proud recipients of no less than 22 awards for Building Excellence for their work in Commercial & Retail Fitout, Commercial Conservation Heritage Projects, Best Commercial/Industrial Project and other areas, G.E. Shaw’s structures will be used by generations to come. ¨


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r s ” g g w s pt o d n n ’ nd f e i i e a f a R p c h ‘ e e l , t a n k g e e a he rh st e n t co m r u u ti j i o h w o e r t s n o h nd g w t e n a sf n m , h i , e d t g o s h “ r r n y w f in a tc g e t d a k s n e r i a yea energ i l c n e w r it go o ss eth sions o n u m t g s i m l ave ferred day, it s are avin ure ha t to so xpres h s e u o ld e e c t r ati of o at , u r e e b o u n ” N r i a s d o c ’ w s e f R ca er e ” ht v o “ r i t e h g l s t n d s u e e u pe re o pri w Mo ly tho i o t h ast c t h o d p re rl e fo e e he p o h r h t t n t a s w ’ r , n o l i ti , th ay rb us r e n we d a o a v i U c e a c s he d. ur n t he eh e o o t t n c w i n g e k ly at in m l c c gra h u a a u t s w as .B en t ve red e r “ n m e e n w s d rm iro an on do v e c r n d l e o e i st ng e t ew o h r l t b o ffo In in N e . . e c iti ak cle y m m c ‘rith nd Re y of us ,a an e s m u nd Re a , o g a g lon

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


. o e, s w c o t u r r d no o e R d m i to for ed r o w f s e a c a s l tles tter p be a ting

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The ways we can become better citizens of earth and lay the framework for the next generation can be seen in Australia’s booming construction sector, where many newer commercial and residential structures are designed and built with materials that are more environmentallyfriendly, save previous resources like oil, gas, water and electricity, are cheaper to own and operate, and can have better indoor air quality. It is estimated that a staggering 80 per cent of a city’s “carbon footprint” – the total set of greenhouse gases caused by an organisation, event, or product – comes from buildings, and supplying energy to infrastructure. Many of us have worked and lived in structures that are not energy-efficient, with old and inefficient air conditioning, heating, and lighting. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, it is extremely important that contractors use materials that are less toxic and better for the environment to create buildings that are “energy smart.” Fortunately, many companies are on-board when it comes to reduced energy consumption, and supporting technologies that are better for the environment, like Light-Emitting Diodes. Traditionally used in electronic components as indicator lights, LED have come a long way in the past few years, especially when it comes to lighting. It is possible today to purchase LED bulbs with lifespans of 30,000 hours. When compared to similar halogen lights, the energy savings can be up to 70 per cent. Converting existing lighting to newer, more efficient forms

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

is one to help the environment. In Australia, state and territory governments are part of a landmark agreement, the National Strategy on Energy Efficiency, which was signed off by the Council of Australian Governments in July of 2009. A tremendous boon to the environment, the agreement will accelerate energy efficiency in homes and businesses. Owners of office spaces will be required to disclose energy efficiency ratings when they sell or lease their properties. Stricter standards are being introduced for appliances, particularly high energy consuming machines like fridges, freezers, and air conditioners. In addition, changes to the Building Code of Australia will require greater energy efficiency of materials used in construction,


It is estimated that a staggering 80 per cent of a city’s “carbon footprint” – the total set of greenhouse gases caused by an organisation, event, or product – comes from buildings, and supplying energy to infrastructure. Many of us have worked and lived in structures that are not energy-efficient, with old and inefficient air conditioning, heating, and lighting. With more than half of the world’s population living in cities, it is extremely important that contractors use materials that are less toxic and better for the environment to create buildings that are “energy smart.”

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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from floors to walls, and ventilation units to hot tubs. These initiatives and others will result in “greener” buildings, which have the added benefit of making work spaces not only more pleasant for employees, but healthier, resulting in fewer sick days, and greater productivity. One of the organisations leading the way behind creating a better world is the Green Building Council of Australia (GBCA). Launched in 2002, the Green Building Council is a national, not-forprofit organisation committed to developing a sustainable property industry for Australia by fostering and encouraging ‘green’ building practices. At present, buildings remain the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, use 40 per cent of the world’s energy, and consume 12 per cent of the globe’s water. To reduce our carbon footprint, the Green Building Council has seen 220 Green Star certified buildings around Australia; seven years ago, when Green Star was launched, there were none. At present, the Council is working with more than 460 registered projects, ranging from healthcare to education, retail to residential. Widely supported by both industry and governments across the country, the Green Building Council is on a mission: to develop a sustainable property industry for Australia, and drive the adoption of green building practices through market-based solutions. Their mandate includes the promotion of green building programs, technologies, design practices and operations, and integrating green building

LED have come a long way in the past few years, especially when it comes to lighting. It is possible today to purchase LED bulbs with lifespans of 30,000 hours. When compared to similar halogen lights, the energy savings can be up to 70 per cent. initiatives into the design, construction, and operation of buildings. What, exactly is Green Star? Developed for Australia’s property industry, it serves as a voluntary environmental rating system, evaluating the environmental design and construction of the country’s buildings. Today, 11 per cent of Australia’s commercial office June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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buildings are Green Star certified. Other than making environmental sense, there are a number of reasons builders should “go green.” Greener buildings have lower operating costs, and offer a higher return on their investment. Many businesses and tenants are attracted to a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle, and these buildings often demonstrate a sense of corporate responsibility. Businesses and tenants renting office space or living in green buildings are often proud of being part of green initiatives, and can enjoy real cost savings through reduced energy usage. New Green buildings are able to make the most out of all their resources, and are often much more efficient than older, existing structures. For one, indoor air quality is drastically increased when using newer paints, carpets, and other manufactured items containing

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fewer Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs, which can contribute to respiratory, allergic, even immune system problems. Many of us – from students studying in classrooms to office workers and homeowners – spend up to 90 per cent of our day indoors. Green buildings address the problems of poor indoor air quality through better airflow, more natural light, and a better balancing of temperatures. In schools built using green initiatives, studies have found drastic improvements in the health of students, with fewer reports of asthma, flu, respiratory problems, and headaches. There have also been documented increases of improved learning and retention, even better test scores. Buildings constructed using green technologies often utilize much smaller heating, ventilation, and air conditioning units (HVAC). These systems alone consume the most energy in


To reduce our carbon footprint, the Green Building Council has seen 220 Green Star certified buildings around Australia; seven years ago, when Green Star was launched, there were none. What, exactly is Green Star? Developed for Australia’s property industry, it serves as a voluntary environmental rating system, evaluating the environmental design and construction of the country’s buildings. Today, 11 per cent of Australia’s commercial office buildings are Green Star certified.

buildings, around 40 per cent. Smaller units mean lower costs, less ductwork installation, and more space available for leasing. Some reports state buildings with improved HVAC can save from 10 to 25 per cent of their annual energy costs through improved energy efficiency. These savings can then be passed on by building owners to their tenants. In Australia, a shining example is the Szencorp Building in South Melbourne. The first building to be awarded a six Green Star rating by the Green Building Council of Australia, energy savings in this structure are enormous: 71 per cent less energy used, and water savings of 94 per cent. In addition Council of sustainable accredited

to Green Star, the Green Building Australia provides education on building, and runs Green Star professional courses throughout

Australia to expand knowledge throughout the industry about greener building practices. In addition to working closely with industry, the GBCA has built relationships with all levels of government – federal, state, and local – to promote and support green building initiatives. They accomplish their initiatives in a number of ways: by working with government to develop concrete policies and regulations, collaborating with government to increase national minimum standards within Australia’s building code, and establishing Green Star as the environmental rating tool of choice. The world has come a long way from the days of incandescent light bulbs, inefficient heating and air conditioning units, and toxic chemicals in paint, and choosing to build structures that are green will not only benefit our present, but future generations to come. ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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hen it comes to large-scale mining, construction, moving mountains, or creating mines, you need big equipment, big experience, and years of knowledge to get the job done right. Founded over 75 years ago in Young, New South Wales, Hardy Bros Mining & Constructions Pty Ltd remains an expert in the fields of earthmoving, mining, civil construction, and project management. Their hard-earned reputation for excellence was built over the decades, and began with the Hardy family working mainly in rural communities many years ago, creating dams and clearing out orchards. “By today’s measure, those were relatively small jobs back then,” says Project Manager Brad Hardy of the company founded by his great-grandfather. In time, Brad’s grandfather began the earthmoving side of Hardy Bros. “In the last 15 to 20 years, we’ve really taken off as a hardcore contracting company.” A family-owned business, Brad’s younger brother, Matthew, is the company’s Operations Manager, while their father, Robert, serves as Managing

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Director. Over the years, Hardy Bros. have become known for their extensive experience and diverse set of skills, which has seen them work for a vast range of clients, including state, federal, and local governments, private corporations, and the mining sector. Hardy says there are a number of benefits to the company being privately-owned. “It helps a lot with the decision-making inside the company,” he says, “and it gives us better control over where we want the company to go.” With 70 employees, Hardy Bros. have a number of departments for maintenance, surveying, operations and other areas, but have not allowed themselves to get carried away with too much division of roles and responsibilities within the company. “We’re trying to keep it as segmented as we can, but to the point where it’s not impossible for the roles to cross if required,”

says Hardy. This has allowed employees with the appropriate skill sets to work in another department for a time if needed. “We’ve got our core responsibilities, but we’re not necessarily locked into those responsibilities. We can expand as required.” The company has brought their wealth of experience to a number of large mining and construction projects over the years, working on projects for the Barrick Gold Mine, and the Wilpinjong Coal Mine. Along with mining companies, Hardy Bros. have been involved in hard rock crushing for Ulan Coal Mines Limited, and the construction of a number of tailings dams. ‘Tailings’ are large piles of crushed rock that are left behind after metals like gold, silver, copper and lead have been extracted, and they can pose an environmental hazard if left uncontained.

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For the past decade, Hardy Bros. have been contracted to a number of mines to construct tailing storage facilities, better known simply as dams, to contain the leftover ground-up rocks. Some of Hardy Bros.’s projects include the construction of an irrigation dam for Ulan Coal Mines Limited at Mudgee, and tailings dams for Resource Pacific Limited, and Ashton Coal Operations Limited. To complete the tailings dam for Ashton Coal – located near Singleton, NSW – Hardy Bros. faced a number of challenges, not least of which was the presence of spontaneously combustible areas on the construction site, which required safe work procedures to allow the project to be completed successfully.

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“Part of our bread and butter is construction of tailing storage facilities,” says Hardy. “When the dam reaches its capacity – basically the water is recovered from the tailings when it is pumped into there – the water gets recycled back through each respective mine.” The construction of these dams is often a massive undertaking, requiring months of work, and specialized equipment for moving tonnes of earth. Big jobs, like the creating of a tailings dam for North Mining Limited, took nine months, and required five, 50-tonne dump trucks, an excavator, and compaction equipment like water carts, compactors, smooth drum rollers, and graders.


Other projects undertaken by Hardy Bros. are no less impressive, such as hard rock crushing, and building irrigation dams. The creation of a rail loop and mine construction at the Wilpinjong Coal Mine for Thiess Pty Ltd took a year to complete. Hardy Bros. were responsible for the preliminary earthworks construction associated with the opening of a new coal mine at the site, which required the creation of a four-kilometre long rail loop, clean and dirty water dams, mine access roads, and more. Other projects have required the company to mine and haul thousands of cubic metres of waste from open pits, in addition to drilling and blasting, using massive trucks able to bear loads of 60-tonnes. The technology and tools used to move massive

mounds of earth and create mines and dams may have changed, but the experience, skill, and dedication of the staff of this family-owned company will undoubtedly see them expand over the generations to come. ¨

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Phone 1300 981 388 June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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n the business of construction, skill and using the right tools for the job are important, but so is building and shaping a competitive and prosperous industry through communication between the many interests that make up the construction sector. This is where the Australian Construction Industry Forum comes into the picture. “The most important work that we do is through our construction forecasting council,” says Peter Barda, Executive Director of the Australian Construction Industry Forum. Twice yearly, the ACIF introduce forecasts of demand for housing, non-residential buildings, and engineering construction. A not-forprofit organisation, the ACIF helps promote Australia’s growing construction industry, and offers valuable, free information and data at Construction Forecasting Council, at cfc.ac.com.au. At the site, it is possible to follow building trends, do a historical analysis, and even “Build Your Own Forecasts,” sector by sector, postcode by postcode. There are forecasts for residential buildings, alterations and additions, office and educational buildings, health, aged care, bridges, water, pipelines, and much more.

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Focusing on creating a competitive construction and property industry, important to building Australia’s prosperity, The Australian Construction Industry Forum is governed by a Board of Directors, many of them senior practitioners and Chief Executives from the ACIF’s many member organisations. As a lawyer who specialised in construction work and the not-for-profit sector, Barda had done a great deal of work in the industry, especially for contractors, and developed a great deal of admiration for people in the field before becoming Executive Director of the ACIF. The forecasting work they offer is of the highest quality, and free of charge. In existence since 2001, the ACIF traces its roots back to the Seventies and its predecessor, The National Building and Construction Council. “It

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has always been a place where the different interests in the construction industry can come together, discuss issues of mutual interest or concern, and occasionally do some things together that separately they couldn’t do on their own,” says Barda. The many distinguished members of the ACIF’s Board of Directors are representatives from associations and institutions specializing in Australia’s building, engineering, consulting, mechanical, air conditioning, architectural, and fire protection industries, to name a few. ACIF members are Australian building or construction industry associations that have a national structure and focus, and whose principal membership comprises individuals and/or private sector business enterprises in the residential, non-residential, engineering or investment property sectors.


Among its functions, the ACIF provides a meeting place for the private sector of the industry to share information, and take joint action where it is warranted. They also act as a single contact point for government, so there is an opportunity for the whole of the private sectors to express their views to government. In addition, the ACIF works with the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council Inc (APCC), the peak council of departments responsible for procurement, construction and asset management policy for the Australian, State and Territory governments and the New Zealand Government. “Wherever possible, we can identify things that the private and the public side of the industry have in common, and work together,” says Barda. The ACIF is currently involved in project initiation and project startups, along with

creating a curriculum for a skills program for public sector construction class. “We’re working on a set of tools for people in industry to start up integrated projects, and manage them more effectively than they do now,” says Barda, “and we continue to identify those things where we have a common interest where it would benefit the whole of the industry, if the private sector and government would work together.” The ACIF offers a number of Productivity Tools at its website, which sees project development from planning through design to construction, and operation to maintenance. Along with the Australasian Procurement and Construction Council, the ACIF have finalised and published a Guide to Project Initiation, which can be downloaded from their website. In addition, the ACIF provides links to many valuable industry associations. ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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M

any of us drive to and from work every day, often taking the same route over and over again, yet few people notice the condition of the road – unless it is cracked, full of potholes, and urgently needs to be repaired or replaced. The process of road stabilization is not new – the Romans were making roads 2000 years ago, using lime to stabilize the soil – yet the process today requires the expertise of engineers, surveyors, and many others to ensure roads are properly graded, physically stable, and constructed to endure years of wear and tear. When it comes to creating new roads and repairing existing ones, many choose Stabilised Pavements, a leader in the industry, and the largest specialist stabilisation contractor in Australasia.

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Formed in 1984 by Directors Tom Wilmot and Warren Smith, Stabilised Pavements of Australia Pty Limited (SPA) is an independent, Australianowned company specialising in the stabilisation of pavements, often through the incorporation of cement, lime or bitumen. Although there are a few other companies working on road stabilization in Australia, Stabilised Pavements is leading the way in road recycling, a unique method that creates far less waste, is less costly than traditional repairs, and is infinitely better for communities and the environment. “Picture the street where you live. If the pavement itself is deteriorated and needs possible replacement, we can come in and recycle what is there by adding lime, cement, bitumen, and a


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few other different additives that are available,” says Stabilised’s General Manager David Berg, “By basically compacting – putting it back down, and putting another service on it – the road is good for another 20 or 30 years by utilizing the materials that are already there.” Instead of trucking in or hauling away expensive materials associated with traditional road construction, recycling existing roads greatly helps Mother Nature, and keeps costs down. A highly experienced stabilisation manager responsible for over 20 crews working in a wide range of stabilisation and recycling projects, Berg says the cost of road recycling is often 30 to 50 per cent less than conventional construction work.

requiring less time spent on construction. It saves large amounts of quarried materials, reduces traffic, noise, emissions and congestion to the site, lessens damage to surrounding pavement, and reduces the amount of waste materials trucked to landfill sites. Reusing and recycling materials has become fairly common, “but we’re probably the ones that push it along, in that we try to get involved with the consultants, and help design the pavements,” says Berg. “It’s a good thing for our company that we have so many engineers onboard, and that we’re able to help the consultants with our engineering expertise in going out to design the pavements.”

Road recycling has many other benefits. It is often a faster process than conventional roadwork,

With over 20 years of experience in applying stabilising and recycling techniques in the

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


treatment of new and recycled materials, Stabilised Pavements operates one of the world’s largest, most modern fleets of in situ stabilisation and recycling equipment. With its head office in Australia, Stabilised Pavements International has operations in the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Brunei, and Indonesia. Their many clients include State Government Road Authorities, Local Government Authorities, and private contractors throughout most States and Territories of Australia. They will often work alongside local partners, around the world, on projects large and small, and even in remote areas. They have been involved with many road upgrades, with one of the largest being the M4 Motorway upgrade.

Carried out over a 20-km. long stretch, the M4 upgrade took 15 months, upgraded the existing two lanes in each direction to three lanes, and resheeted the road surface. Stabilised Pavements were required to remove and reuse the road’s existing shoulder material, add new gravel to bring the road to proper levels, and to stabilise the prepared gravels (the subbase layer). Since much of the existing pavement material was recycled, the need for gravel from quarries was greatly reduced, since 70 per cent of the additional pavement was constructed with existing gravels. It is estimated the project – compared to conventional methods of pavement reconstruction – saved over 50,000 tonnes of roadbase material from being tipped,

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or used as landfill, and added 20 years to the life of the road. As a result of their hard work and dedication, the M4 is today three lanes in each direction from Concord to the Blue Mountains, and travel times have been greatly reduced. As a founding member of the Australian Stabilisation Industry Association (AustStab), Stabilised Pavements remains an innovator in the field of road stabilization. Among the company’s many achievements are the reintroduction of foamed road surfacing material bitumen to the market (Stabilfoam), and introducing various blended cements and designer blend additives such as lime with slag, a waste material.” Since many roads and streets in Australia have clay subgrades underneath, there is often the problem of moisture making its way into the

pavement on top. When possible, Stabilised will use some unique alternatives to re-constructing the entire road. “If possible, we will take the top off the pavement, treat the actual clay underneath with lime to give you a good subbase, and then put the original pavement back on top,” says Berg. The result? A reduced thickness of the pavement, less clay material that needs to be removed and disposed of, and a reduced need for quarried materials. “There are a lot of cost benefits and a lot of sustainability benefits that come from doing it this way,” says Berg. With its emphasis on state of the art technology and concern for the environment, reducing the need for expensive materials in road repair and construction, Stabilised Pavements will lead the way for road stabilization in Australia for many years to come. ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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n today’s world of mergers, acquisitions, and takeovers, sometimes it is important to step back and realize that bigger isn’t always better. When a company expands too quickly, it can sometimes lose touch with the most valuable people of all: their clients, and their employees. For the past 36 years, building and maintaining relationships has been a priority for O’Donnell & Hanlon Pty Ltd, a family-owned Australian building firm active in the commercial, residential, industrial, community, health and education markets in New South Wales. “Our success comes from the company being family-owned,” says Ben O’Donnell, Director at O’Donnell & Hanlon. “Being family-owned, the management is the family, so it allows us to make quick decisions and things like that with no need to consult any other owners or boards, and allows us to streamline a few extra aspects of the business.” The company, explains O’Donnell, was created in 1974 by Ben’s father, Peter, and his partner, Terry Hanlon. O’Donnell & Hanlon’s formative years were spent working on smaller-scale projects – such as modest renovations and extensions of dwellings

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– and soon expanded into multi-million dollar construction and maintenance contracts across all market sectors in New South Wales. In 2003, the Hanlons retired from the business, with the O’Donnell family taking full ownership of the company, which is successfully managed by the second generation of the O’Donnell family. Today, O’Donnell & Hanlon is a company with two major divisions, Construction, and Maintenance. With their head office based in Kempsey, New South Wales, they also have branch locations in Coffs Harbour, Goonellabah, and Tamworth for their asset maintenance services. O’Donnell & Hanlon’s Construction Division often carries out a wide variety of commercial projects valued up to $15 million, including both construct only, and design and construct projects in many areas.

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The company’s Maintenance Division currently holds four Asset Management Contracts for New South Wales Government Schools. The contracts include all aspects of maintenance at each school, for a total of over 420 individual school sites. The numbers are impressive, but Ben O’Donnell is equally proud of another key area of the business: the success they’ve achieved through their dedicated employees. With 65 full-time staff, O’Donnell says retention is high, with some employees remaining with the company for over 20 years. “We really don’t have a great deal of turnover in staff,” says O’Donnell of his company, which also has an eye on the future by hiring young, enthusiastic staff members, and keeping up to date with the latest technological developments and software programs. The


company’s keen foresight contributes to the overall efficiency and final quality of their projects, including schools, housing units, hospital additions, and O’Donnell & Hanlon’s first aged care facility, the $11-million Ken Thompson Lodge in Armidale. An impressive, 62-bed single-storey brick veneer building, it includes four resident wings, a central common area, and a commercial kitchen and laundry. “This project really gave us a leg-up to take on a couple of those larger age-care projects that we are doing now,” says O’Donnell of a number of other buildings currently under construction, including the $14.5 million Mawson Court Aged Care Facility in Caves Beach, and the $15 million St. Michael’s Aged Care Apartments in Casino. Since the company was established in Kempsey in 1974, O’Donnell & Hanlon have maintained

their management policy of providing first-class customer service, quality products, and ontime delivery while remaining mindful of their client’s needs and objectives. Their successful relationships with clients can be seen as a direct result of “keeping it in the family,” so to speak. Adding to the company’s sterling reputation is a great emphasis on occupational health and safety, an aspect of the business O’Donnell & Hanlon takes very seriously. ‘We’ve worked for the state government for over 20 years, and we’re accredited to the highest level with them,” says O’Donnell. “We’re a Best Practice Accredited Contractor with the New South Wales government, and also hold external or third-party accreditation in Occupational Health and Safety, and Quality and Environmental Management, which gives us an edge over some

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“Being family owned, the management is the family, so it allows us to make quick decisions and things like that with no need to consult any other owners or boards, and it allows us to streamline a few extra aspects of the business.” - Ben O’Donnell

of our competitors.” At O’Donnell & Hanlon, responsibility towards their staff and clients also extends to other sectors of construction, and corporate and environmental responsibility. Committed to developing and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment through continual employee training, the company strives to conserve recourses, use environmentally- friendly products, and conserve items of heritage value for the future enjoyment of the community. A recent redevelopment of the company’s head office included stormwater storage, recycling throughout their offices, and a provision for solar power to be installed. On work sites, the positive environmental initiatives are just as strong. Instead of allowing waste materials to

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be mixed together and sent to landfill, they are carefully separated. Metals are removed and sent for recycling, for example, while bricks are crushed and given a second life as material for road construction. On a local level, O’Donnell & Hanlon believes in giving back to the communities that helped them build their business over the years by sponsoring a number of charities, sports teams, schools, and events like Relay For Life, an event celebrating cancer survivors, honouring loved ones lost to cancer, and helping to raise money to fight the disease. The company also periodically provides scholarships/cadetships in conjunction with local high schools, which involves the completion of a Construction Management degree while working full-time with the company. At O’Donnell & Hanlon, it


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“We have built some long relationships with our clients over the years,” says O’Donnell, “and the quality and delivery of our projects contributes Bedroom to those relationships.” ¨

Main entry

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Every issue, Australian Construction Focus profiles a structu This month, we take a closer look

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hat do legendary dancers and actors like Dame Margot Fonteyn, Katharine Hepburn, Sir John Gielgud, and Geoffrey Rush have in common? All of them have performed at His Majesty’s Theatre. A stunning example of Edwardian-era architecture, His Majesty’s

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Theatre – affectionately nicknamed the Maj – remains a brilliant piece of history, and the only working Edwardian theatre in Australia. Since first opening its doors on Christmas Eve, 1904, His Majesty’s Theatre – located at the


ure of unique historical, cultural, or environmental significance. at His Majesty’s Theatre in Perth. corner of King and Hay streets – has become one of Australia’s most beloved landmarks. Under the original design of architect William Wolfe and contractor Gustav Liebe, the theatre was constructed during the Gold Rush boom, a period of great wealth and prosperity for Western

Australia. Along with an adjoining hotel, the Maj took approximately two years to complete, at a cost of 42,000 pounds. Named in honour to then-reigning monarch King Edward VII, the Maj incorporated a number of architectural elements from theatres across Europe, and was

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


considered at the time to be “among the finest of its kind in the Commonwealth.” With horseshoe-style seating for 1,240 patrons, the theatre was constructed to allow audience members an opportunity to remain close to the stage, and better able to see, hear, and appreciate the artistry of the dancers, singers, actors, and other performers. Over the many decades, the Maj has played home to works by Shakespeare, musical theatre, ballet, vaudeville, pantomime, modern dance, and much more. Both inside and out, His Majesty’s Theatre remains a huge, impressive structure containing a rich variety of architectural styles, including English and Italian. Like many buildings of an advanced age, the Maj has seen its share of renovations, both good and bad. Two tiers of balconies were removed in the years following the Second World War, as the supporting pillars were deemed a traffic hazard. Seeing its share of owners over the years, the structure was in great need of repair and structural improvements by the time it was purchased by the Western Australian government in 1977, the Theatre and hotel were in dire need of major structural improvements. Two and a half years and $11 million later, the Maj was carefully restored, with its magnificent main marble staircase repaired and re-located to allow for a larger foyer, and its dome roof – used in the past for auditorium ventilation – sealed permanently. June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus


To help preserve this living landmark, other changes, both cosmetic and structural, were necessary. Pillars were moved, new floors installed, and a new ceiling moulded to match the vintage pressed-metal pattern. New lighting was incorporated, dressing and rehearsal rooms updated, a new air conditioner installed, and most significant of all, the old raked stage was replaced with a new, flat platform. In the three decades His Majesty’s Theatre was restored to its former grandeur, the structure has seen additional work. In 2001, the theatre opened a Museum of Performing Arts to the public. Housing over 30,000 catalogued items of theatre memorabilia, it is home to countless costumes, musical scores, press reviews, scripts, and a great deal more. In 2004, His Majesty’s Theatre was named as a State Heritage Icon, as part of the celebrations for 175 years of the State’s history and the Year of the Built Environment. Since opening its doors with a production of The Forty Thieves in 1904, His Majesty’s Theatre has been a popular venue for a diverse array of ballets, operas, plays, and blockbuster musicals like Cats and 42nd Street. The original program notes from the first 1904 performance states: “Neither brains, money nor pains have been spared in erecting an edifice that would rank among the finest of its kind in the Commonwealth.” While few theatres of the time remain in existence, it is still possible to come and enjoy the splendour of dance, music, and fine acting, as generations did at His Majesty’s Theatre 106 years ago. ¨ June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

Australian Construction Focus - June Edition  

June 2010 | Australian Construction Focus

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