Vic prison project a green challenge

Engineering and sustainability consultancy Umow Lai is technical adviser for the Ararat Prison Project, which involves construction of 350 new beds integrated into the existing facility. The expansion will enable an increase in the number of prisoners to be housed there to more than 700.Project manager John Avramiotis said this type of project had some inherent challenges.“These include finding the most appropriate means of carrying out the work with minimum disruption, being able to maintain all the facilities and functions of the existing prison while not disadvantaging residents or staff, and maintaining the highest levels of security,” he said.Avramiotis said another significant challenge was developing an appropriate environmental tool to achieve green initiatives and sustainable outcomes in line with Department of Justice guidelines. “This is the first time that anyone has set out to achieve such an ambitious environmental program for a prison in Victoria,” he said.“In order to achieve a significantly green facility, we have had to develop appropriate tools to be able to drive the private sector bidders to deliver on environmental outcomes.“We have recommended a range of ESD [ecologically sustainable design] features that could be integrated into the prison, including some which will enable Corrections Victoria to accurately monitor and better manage energy and water usage.” Umow Lai has developed the technical documentation outlining the minimum specifications, technical information and security systems for the new facility, which is currently out to tender. The consultancy will review all bids to ensure they meet the specifications, provide advice to the Department of Justice project team once the successful project consortium is announced, and assist the team in commissioning the prison, once built.Construction is expected to start mid-2010, with completion in late 2012.

Civil works start on AMC petroleum service and supply base

The new supply base includes construction of a new wharf to accommodate roll-on/roll-off vessels of up to 200m in length, with an associated 4-hectare staging area for truck trailers.Regional Development Minister Brendon Grylls said the base would enable companies like Chevron Australia to deliver significant amounts of equipment by sea that would “ultimately reduce the number of road trains required to service their operations”.Works on the base are expected to be completed by July 2010.Abigroup had won the $A23 million marine, civil and associated works contract that requires the company to carry out civil works such as drainage, roads and lighting towers, marine works such as mooring structures and seawall construction, electrical services and hydraulics work.Chevron Australia will be using the service and supply base to support operations for its giant Gorgon project off WA’s northwest coast.Meanwhile, Abigroup has secured $3.2 billion worth of new work in the first nine months of 2009 despite the impact of the global financial crisis. The company is also confident its volume for this calendar year will again hit the $2 billion mark.Managing director David Jurd said it was a remarkable result considering that over a year ago the private building market had collapsed and the company was facing a big hole in its business.“Yet here we are one year on and our volume this calendar year, with a full 12-month GFC impact, will again hit the $2 billion mark – a fantastic result,” he said.Jurd said the Australian government’s Building Education Revolution initiative had helped Abigroup secure contracts worth more than $300 million to upgrade schools in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland.The company is also currently bidding for large road and rail projects in Victoria and NSW as well as working on projects like the Gateway Bridge upgrade in Queensland and the Adelaide Desalination plant.Jurd said Abigroup had also diversified into new businesses and new locations to help escape from the traditional boom and bust construction cycle. “The desalination plant project is a good illustration of why we’ve not suffered as much as we could in the GFC,” he said.“The desalination plant is one of several large projects currently involving our water business and we also have our telecommunications and mining services businesses as well as new offices in Tasmania, Western Australia and South Australia.”

Industry Report – Projects

AUSTRALIAN CAPITAL TERRITORYROADSLanyon Drive Upgrade, Stage 2 (Proposed)Principal: Territory and Municipal ServicesScope: Additional lanes installed in both directions from Sheppard Street to Tompsitt Drive, widen and strengthen existing eastbound Jerrabomberra Creek Bridge, new bridge to be built for westbound carriageway over Jerrabomberra Creek to replace existing Letchworth Railway BridgeStatus: Call for tender closes October 6, 2009; project completion early 2011Contractors: NAValue: $19 million(Update: ACT government announcement of call for tender, August 2009)NEW SOUTH WALESROADSCamden Valley Way Upgrade (Current)Principal: Roads and Traffic AuthorityScope: Stage 1 upgrade 2.3km of Camden Valley Way from Bernera Road, Prestons to Cowpasture Road, Horningsea Park from two to four lanes, central median from Bernera Road to Cowpasture Road, 3m-wide shared pedestrian and cyclist path, new traffic signals and pedestrian/cyclist crossings, separate bus bays and eastbound carriageway between Horningsea Park Drive and Cowpasture Road to be loweredStatus: Construction contract awarded, August 2009; project completion March 2011Purpose: Improved safety for motorists, pedestrians and cyclistsContractors: BMD ConstructionsValue: $60 million(New project: State government announcement of contract award to BMD Constructions, August 2009)NEW SOUTH WALESROADSPacific Highway Glenugie Duplication (Proposed)Scope: 7km section of Pacific Highway at Glenugie, 60km north of Coffs Harbour, to be duplicatedStatus: State environmental assessment on display for community comment at RTA head office, Level 9, 101 Miller Street, North Sydney until September 11, August 2009 Purpose: Part of long-term task of upgrading entire road between Sydney and NSW border; deliver safer driving and reduced travel timesContractors: NAValue: $60 million (Update: State government announcement of environmental assessment process, August 2009)VICTORIAURBAN DEVELOPMENTMelbourne Wholesale Market Relocation, Epping (Proposed)Principal: AgricultureScope: Wholesale market on 133ha siteStatus: Baulderstone and Bovis Lend Lease shortlisted for design and construction, August 2009. Preferred bidder announced later in 2009, construction commencing end 2009; relocation of market by end 2011Purpose: Relocate market from Footscray Road to Epping to deliver benefits through improved facilities and logistical arrangements for both growers and retailersContractors: NAValue: $300 million(Update: State government announcement of shortlisted bidders, August 2009)VICTORIADEFENCEPoint Wilson, Waterside Infrastructure Remediation (Proposed)Principal: DefenceScope: Develop, design and construct required remediation and upgrade works to bring currently non-operational Point Wilson Wharf to full operational status, includes remediation and upgrade to wharf and jetty structure including minor building works to amenities buildings and services upgrades and replacementsStatus: Call for tender closes September 15, 2009. Development phase (design and Parliamentary approvals) to be complete by June 2011. Delivery phase (construction) to be completed by end 2014.Contractors: NAValue: $50-70 million (out turned)(New project: Defence call for tender, August 2009)VICTORIAWATER/WASTEWATERNorthern Water Plant, Corio (Current)Principal: Barwon WaterScope: Recycle domestic sewage from Geelong’s northern suburbs and supply Shell with recycled waterStatus: Consortium consisting of Kellogg Brown and Root, John Holland and Montgomery Watson Harza awarded contract to design and construct plant, August 2009Purpose: Produce Class A recycled water, safe for human contact and suitable for industrial and agricultural use Contractors: Kellogg Brown and Root, John Holland and Montgomery Watson Harza (design and construct)Value: $90 million(Update: State government announcement of award of contract, August 2009)VICTORIAWATER/WASTEWATERGeelong-Melbourne Pipeline (Proposed)Principal: Barwon WaterScope: 55km pipeline to connect Geelong to Melbourne’s water system delivering 16 billion litres of water each year to GeelongStatus: Kellogg Brown and Root awarded contract to undertake detailed design of pipeline, August 2009; completion 2011Purpose: Improve metropolitan water supply to GeelongContractors: Kellogg Brown and Root (detailed design)Value: $80 million(Update: State government announcement of award of design contract, August 2009)WESTERN AUSTRALIAENERGYGorgon Gas Project, Barrow Island (Proposed)Principals: Chevron (50%), ExxonMobil (25%), Shell (25%)Scope: Gas field development, subsea pipelines to Barrow Island, three 5Mtpa LNG processing trains, LNG shipping facilities, 300 terajoule/day domestic gas plant, pipeline to mainland, carbon dioxide injection facilityStatus: Exxon Mobil and PetroChina Company Ltd signed 20-year sales and purchase agreement for supply of 2.25Mtpa liquefied natural gas, August 2009. Australian and Western Australian governments to jointly accept any long-term liability arising from storage of CO2 in geological formations under Barrow Island. Project subject to federal environmental approval in 2009. Final investment decision before end 2009, August 2009Contractors: FEED Kellogg Joint Venture Gorgon (KBR E&C Australia-JGC Corporation-Clough Projects Australia-Hatch Associates); Offshore Marine Services Alliance (Skilled Group, Singapore’s Ezion Holdings and Hong Kong-based Pacific Basin Shipping) to supply marine vessels and labour; TDK Group (Decmil Australia, Thiess, Kentz) to design and construct construction village on Barrow Island; Nomad Modular Building to manufacture and supply central facilities buildings for construction villageValue: $50 billion(Update: Federal and state governments jointly accept long-term liability for storage of CO2 under Barrow Island, and Exxon Mobil and PetroChina sign sales and purchase agreement, August 2009)

World’s biggest industrial estate underway

Located in Nevada’s former Wild West territory, the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center (TRI-center) is on the site of an old gold and silver mining camp, and is well advanced, with department store major Wal-Mart having already built a large distribution centre at the site. To help feed the businesses in the TRI, the first phase of a comprehensive road and railway network has been completed and the major thrust of the construction work has moved to the adjoining valley.The site’s co-owners, Lance Gilman and Roger Norman, have sold the first 20 million sq.m of the park. That area will be converted into 9 million sq.m of industrial buildings. This is a mere 5% of the entire park, but almost double the 5 million sq.m of industrial buildings in use in Reno and nearby Sparks. The developers, who bought the site for $20 million in 1998 from the Gulf Oil Company, are investing about $70 million in building roads and utility projects for the first phase of development. Reno-based F&P Construction, one of Nevada’s premier development contractors, is spearheading the building work at the site. “Initially we were just contracted to put the road into the park,” said company president and founder Randy Pitts, who has more than 180 construction machines in his fleet. “Now we are doing everything the park needs – the railway spurs, the highway interchange, all the interior roads, the underground utilities, the sewer and water treatment plants, building site preparation, building tilt-up construction. “Just about everything that is needed here. Every day is a new and rewarding challenge.”The TRI-center site is a challenging environment for man and machine, working on exceptionally hard rock in temperatures that soar above 38C in summer and plunge below freezing in winter. “We got both with Volvo and Arnold Machinery. I think we have seen a huge improvement in fuel efficiency and the overall productivity of the iron. “It’s as night is to day between Volvo and our previous equipment.”F&P has four Volvo EC330B, two Volvo EC460B and one Volvo EC700B crawler excavators working onsite.The company also owns several Volvo wheel loaders, a number of Volvo articulated haulers and two Volvo motor graders, and recently took delivery of two 990 motor graders.

FEDERAL BUDGET: bonanza for construction industry

With $8.5 billion promised for “nationally significant” rail, road and port infrastructure, and construction components of $3.2 billion for hospitals and health services, and $2.6 billion for education and research institute spending, there’s no doubt the government is planning a construction-led recovery from the current downturn.Roads, rail and ports are the centrepiece of the infrastructure package. The federal government will spend $4.6 billion on metropolitan rail networks in Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth, Adelaide and the Gold Coast.Another $3.4 billion will be spent on the “Network 1” road freight link between Melbourne and Cairns (and key roads feeding into it), and the government will also spend $389 million on extending ports in Geraldton, in Western Australia, and in Darwin.The infrastructure spend has been guided by Infrastructure Australia’s National Infrastructure Priority List, according to federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese.Its flagship project is the $1.5 billion in spending on the Hunter Expressway in New South Wales, 40 kilometres of dual carriageway between the F3 and the New England Highway. Construction will begin in 2010, and is scheduled for completion in 2013.In addition the government will spend $618 million between 2010 and 2014 on the Pacific Highway-Kempsey Bypass, NSW, and $884 million on additional work on the Ipswich Motorway in Queensland.The flagship rail project is $3.2 billion on a 40km dual track link from West Werribee to the Southern Cross Station in central Melbourne via Sunshine. The government says the new Regional Rail Express line will segregate V/Line regional rail services from metropolitan rail services and include a new metropolitan rail tunnel linking the western suburbs with Melbourne’s central business district.In addition, the federal government will contribute $365 million to the construction of a light rail route to the Gold Coast in Queensland, expected to be operational by 2013.Residential construction companies will also benefit from the three-month extension of the government’s boosted first home owners scheme. Since October last year, first home buyers have received an extra $7000 when purchasing an established home, and an additional $14,000 for new homes, on top of the $7000 provided under the original first home owners scheme.The larger grant scheme was due to end on June 30, but will now apply to homes purchased before September 30. The grant will then be reduced to an extra $3500 for established homes and $7000 for new homes until the end of the year, when the scheme reverts to its original levels. Tax breaks for businessSmall and medium-sized construction companies may also benefit from the proposed expansion of the government’s Small Business and General Business Tax Break scheme.The tax break will be increased from 30% to 50% for small businesses, and the deduction will be available on new capital worth $1000 or more (such as vehicles) purchased between December 13, 2008, and the end of this year.The previously announced 30% bonus (with a $10,000 threshold) will continue to apply to all other businesses, but has extended it to allow companies to aggregate their spending on similar assets (a fleet of cars, for example), to meet the threshold level.In total, the extension of the scheme will cost the government around $141 million over the next five years.Infrastructure spending listHunter Expressway (NSW): $1.5 billion, with construction to start in 2010 and end in 2013.Pacific Highway-Kempsey Bypass (NSW): $618 million, with construction to start in 2010 and end in 2014.Ipswich Motorway – additional works (Qld): $884 million, with construction beginning in 2009 and ending in 2012.Regional Rail Express (Victoria): $3.2 billion, with construction starting in 2010 and ending in 2014.Gawler Rail Line Modernisation (SA): $293.5 million, with construction to start in 2010 and end in 2013.Noarlunga to Seaford Rail Extension (SA): $291.2 million, with construction to begin in 2010 and end in 2013.Gold Coast Light Rail (Qld): $365 million, with construction starting in 2011 and ending in 2013.East-West Rail Tunnel – Preconstruction Work (Vic): $40 million, with construction to begin in 2012 and end in 2018.In addition, Albanese said the government would contribute funds towards six projects in the pipeline of projects identified by Infrastructure Australia:Bruce Highway – Cooroy to Curra (Section B) duplication (Qld): $488 million, with work to start in 2009 and finish in 2012. Northbridge Rail Link (WA): $236 million, with construction expected to start in 2009 and end in 2014.West Metro – Preconstruction Work (NSW): The federal government will provide an immediate $91 million to advance the West Metro project in Sydney to the next stage.Brisbane Inner City Rail Feasibility Study (Qld): $20 million to undertake a feasibility study to determine potential route alignment, construction timetables and preferred funding model. Oakajee Port Common User Facilities (WA): $339 million for an equity injection into the Oakajee Port Common User Facilities. Darwin Port Expansion (NT): $50 million for Darwin Port Expansion.Money for the last two projects will be set aside subject to further work and consideration by Infrastructure Australia.

A KEANE EYE: The business of knowledge

However, when a Dynapac representative says something about compaction it pays to listen, because Dynapac’s secret weapon is its compaction research laboratory, which opened in Sweden in 1948 and now goes under the guise of the International High Comp Centre. It has allowed Dynapac to develop an encyclopaedic knowledge of the compaction efficiency of different types of equipment on literally thousands of soil types and asphalt mixes, with the CompBase database freely available to Dynapac customers via their local branch.The results are available for standard and modified Proctor density measurements, and for average and minimum density readings. The minimum density reading indicates that the density reading does not fall below the minimum figure at any point throughout the layer, and using the recommended number of passes indicated on this chart ensures consistent density throughout the layer while avoiding over-compaction. Flow-on benefits are reductions in stone damage, density failures and incidences of sub-base or sub-grade collapse.It is from this research that the effectiveness of tandem rollers on base materials became known and could be quantified. The theory behind the findings is that in base materials with a high fines and moisture content, the fines and moisture provide similar lubrication to what emulsion does in asphalt, and allows soil particles to be compacted with high-frequency, low-amplitude vibration. The studies have shown that this provides good compaction throughout the mix, even in lifts as deep as 200mm. Base material mixed in a pugmill and cement-treated base material have been given as examples of the type of base material that could be effectively compacted by a tandem vibratory roller.As an example of the findings of the research, the results of a Dynapac CC224HF tandem roller (7.7-tonne static weight) and CA302D smooth single drum roller (12.75t static weight) can be compared in base course material with a fines content of 2-7%, a clay content of less than 5% and optimum water content. For a 100mm thickness and using the minimum scale, the CC224HF can achieve 100% modified Proctor density in four passes, whereas the CA302D requires eight passes. In consulting the average Proctor table, the CC224HF again requires four passes, while the CA302D still requires six passes. This is an indication that the tandem roller produces more even compaction throughout the layer, with the single drum roller requiring additional passes to achieve the same result.Even for a 200mm thickness, both rollers can achieve 100% modified Proctor in 16 passes, though a larger roller would generally be used in these circumstances. The 10.5t static weight CC424HF tandem roller could achieve 100% modified Proctor in 12 passes. This is quite respectable when compared to the 20.75t static weight CA612D smooth single drum roller, which can achieve the same result in eight passes.As can be seen, the results are not insignificant. Using the CompBase data, a project manager could balance the layer thickness with the compaction pass requirements to optimise the costs of laying and compacting base material without necessarily requiring the largest compaction equipment available. If ever there was a case for compacting “by the book”, this is it. The natural tendency is to expect that less passes are required by a single drum roller with a higher static weight. In some sectors there still seems to be a carryover of static rolling mentality, where it is assumed that extra passes lead to better compaction or at worst, can’t do any harm. Over-compaction is extremely costly, as it destroys material cohesion and requires over-compacted material to be dug out and replaced. If that material is left in place, early road failure is inevitable.When a database of compaction requirements for virtually any soil type is available, it seems churlish to rely on instinct.

WORKSITE WHEELS: The refined off roader

Like a pair of RM Williams boots, the Toyota Prado has become a constant over the years. Users have come to expect a certain level of quality and are willing to pay the required amount of folding to get it.Apart from some running updates including a new diesel engine two years ago, the current incarnation of the Prado has been on the market for about six years.Toyota WA public relations manager Lindsay Taylor told that a completely re-styled new Prado will be launched in November this year, although the drivetrains from the current range will be retained. Shortly after the current shape Prado was launched in Australia in 2003, it became Australia’s best-selling medium-sized four-wheel drive and it remains so today. The Prado’s closest competition is the Mitsubishi Pajero, and the Prado consistently outsells it by a considerable margin.So, what’s its secret? Well, its most striking feature is its mechanical refinement and relatively competent handling in spite of dimensions that would suggest the opposite.It may well be an acceptable drive by modern sedan standards, but consider that it is 1.9m high and has a kerb weight of 2180kg, and the way it drives is rather impressive.The Prado’s most significant recent update was the new 3.0-litre common rail turbo diesel engine, introduced in late 2006. The new twin-cam, four-cylinder oiler (known in Toyota circles as the 1KD-FTV engine) delivered considerably more grunt than its predecessor, generating 127 kilowatts at 3400 revolutions per minute (up from 96kW) and 410 newton-metres of peak torque at 1600-2800rpm (up from 343Nm at 2000rpm). While still a “proper” four-wheel drive in the sense that it has a separate transfer case, considerable ride height and good approach and departure angles, the Prado is a step down in size from the now massive LandCruiser 200 Series.That still doesn’t make it small, but it is at least slightly more compact than its towering, 3t big brother. While the turbo diesel does move the Prado’s 2.1 tonnes admirably, you are always aware this is a fair amount of bulk for the engine to move and for the brakes to stop. However, this doesn’t mean you have to muscle it around town, and its major controls are as easy to operate as those of a normal sedan. Again, this is something of an achievement in physics considering the weight and momentum of the Prado’s large wheels and tyres, the separate transfer gearbox, the driveshafts sending power to all four wheels and the height of the vehicle as a whole.The Prado’s 4.0-litre V6 petrol and 3.0-litre turbo diesel engines are available on all four Prado specification levels – GX, GXL, VX and Grande. The VX and Grande models are fitted standard with the electronic five-speed automatic transmission, while the lower-spec GX and GXL models have a six-speed manual box with the auto as an option.The one we drove came with seven seats. These can either be removed completely or folded up against the sides of the interior rear section.We had the Prado during a week of extreme heat in Perth, with the thermometer inching past the 40C mark. The air conditioning was truly tested, and did well, sending icy cold air all the way to the back of the cabin via roof vents specifically for the second and third rows of seats. However, some of the Prado’s assets that make it such a capable and robust four-wheel drive can also work against it when it comes to user friendliness in the city. An example of this is the heavy rear door, a one piece that opens to reveal the entire rear section. The door also carries the spare wheel, which is presumably there because (a) there is no room under the floor because of the long-range fuel tank; and (b) it would simply be unacceptable for a Prado to carry a space saver. This is great for its offroad ability, but the weight of the door, combined with a hinge that has to be manually locked to stop it from closing, can make it hard work, particularly for smaller people.

GRD signs on for Greenland mining project

GRD will immediately start updating the scoping study and will work with Platina to prepare a detailed project development program.The Skaergaard project is at prefeasibility study stage and has an inferred resource of 29.6 million ounces of palladium, 10.26 million ounces of gold and 1.95Moz of platinum.Platina executive chairman Robert W Mosig said the agreement was a milestone in the development of the project and GRD was chosen for its experience in Greenland.“This agreement is in line with our previously stated aim of advancing our focus at Skaergaard to metallurgical testing and further prefeasibility work,” he said.

Works on water

The name Kochi is derived from the crane’s city of origin, where it was constructed by Japanese manufacturer SKK Cranes, and based on the SKK-1800DT-K model. The first project for the Kochi is expected to be in Newcastle, NSW. Waterway Constructions managing director Jim Millar says the Kochi will allow the company to take on major port-development projects. He suggests clients should involve his company as early as possible while project planning to take the most advantage of the Kochi’s unique capabilities.The Kochi outlifts similar capacity barge-mounted crawler cranes and can convert quickly between crane and piling modes. Its barge measures 45m by 18m wide and 3.5m high, and has six mooring winches. Its closed-water ballast system provides the crane with a maximised 360-degree lifting chart while containing the width of the barge so that it can navigate rivers and other waterways.On-board amenities include offices, a meeting room, a kitchen, a mess area and bathrooms below deck. Power is provided by twin 125-kilowatt generators.As a pile driver, the Kochi can handle pile hammers up to the size of Junttan 16s, which has a weight of 28.5t and a 16t accelerated ram. The leader can handle piles up to 30t weight and 1500mm diameter. Raking piles can also be installed at inclines of up to 22 degrees, plus or minus.Other features that increase Kochi’s versatility include the capability to mount a vibrator or drill motor (up to 30 tonne-metres torque), a kelly bar for bored piles, and a crowd force of 30t.The full slew crane can operate with a 22m, 34m or 40m jib. With the 22m jib it will lift 210t at up to 8.2m radius, and 74.8t at 23.1m. This maximum capacity reduces to 151t at 10.3m with a 34m jib, and 114t at 11.4m with a 40m jib.The boom can be folded down for travel when clearance under bridges is an issue. In this mode the clearance height is reduced to about 12m.

Crane hirers win the right to keep separate award

The Australian Industrial Relations Commission is currently handling the federal government’s award modernisation process. Part of AIRC’s brief is to reduce the number of awards operating.CICA president John Gillespie said the retention of a separate mobile crane hire award had been “a huge issue” for CICA members.“So we did our homework and stood up to be counted,” he said. The council engaged the Australian Industry Group to put its case to AIRC. Gillespie said CICA board members Albert Smith and Craig Meldrum had also played an important role.CICA chief executive officer Alan Marshall said the council was confident it had a strong case. “We also had the in-principle support of the CFMEU,” he said. “However, we were mindful that it was still a big ask for the AIRC to recognise our concerns, when award rationalisation has been such a strong government objective in the process.”Although CICA and CFMEU presented a united front to the AIRC on the need to retain a separate award, they differed on minimum rates and employee function groupings.AIRC said in its decision: “We have adopted the position of the Ai Group/CICA in both respects. Their proposal in relation to slew crane operators better reflects the current award groupings and minimum wage levels.” AIRC also adopted CICA’s proposal that the new award should recognise licence requirements for riggers.