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Economy tests the ground: Part 1

Admittedly, that inactivity is also a result of a period when many large public infrastructure projects took place simultaneously, and an enormous number of piling rigs came into the country in a short period of time. It is perhaps a forlorn hope that governments will come to understand the problems that they cause through the uneven release of projects to the market, and that some of what they may pass off as the impact of the global recession is as much a result of their poor planning.The foundation industry is, unfortunately, one of the first to see trends such as slowing payments and unsustainable, “take it or leave it” rates from large contractors, as well as other actions that in a normal market might bring swift retribution.Despite these challenges, the market continues to experience a high pace of technical change and innovation. There have also been dramatic shifts in the past few years in ownership of the leading contractors, with many pioneering local businesses now controlled by multinational giants. The increased presence of international foundation companies has brought ground improvement technologies that have been proven in other markets but are new to Australia.An emerging wave of mid-level local companies is providing strong competition in the marketplace. Avopiling is at the forefront of this wave, with a permanent presence in New South Wales and Queensland. Like many of its contemporaries, it offers a wide range of bored, driven and CFA pile options as well as a spread of retaining wall and ground improvement technologies, in addition to having a machine for low-headroom bored piles. Its fleet is filled with brands that would find a place in leading fleets around the world, such as Bauer/RTG, Liebherr and Soilmec.Sydney company Pilequip, which represents Bauer, RTG, Enteco and Junttan, has been instrumental in introducing advanced piling equipment from around the world to Australia. Liebherr equipment came out here indirectly in the past, as some European piling rigs were based on Liebherr crawler cranes, and it has only been relatively recently that Liebherr has sold its piling and drilling rigs and duty cycle cranes directly to the market. In that time, many contractors have made Liebherr their duty cycle crane of choice.CIN will publish part two of this article on Friday.*This article was first published in Contractor magazine.

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