Midal Cables Feature - Construction of the facility:
Ingenuity and complete dedication on the part of Kingston Building Australia and their team delivered the Midal Cable Facility six weeks ahead of schedule, despite a range of quite unusual challenges and a very tight timeframe.
The project comprised the construction of two factories adjacent Tomago Aluminium, each about 150 m long to house a rod and cable manufacturing plant.
The first building is a casting building which includes holding and tilting furnaces, a casting line, an adjacent crane room and water processing plant. A haul road was built so that molten aluminium can be transported in a ladle from Tomago Aluminium to the furnace. The second building contains wire drawing and stranding machines, offices and laboratory as well as a die shop.
Kingston’s Managing Director Mr Col Robards said “the project certainly challenged our brand commitments of People, Planet and Performance”.
Before construction could start Kingston relocated the endangered New Holland mouse that inhabited the site.
The mice had to be carefully captured, relocated to a new habitat and a protection zone installed to prevent them reaccessing the site.
The project’s biggest complication was the need to undertake substantial amounts of excavation and construction 6 m below ground level on a site where the water table was only 1 m below the surface.
Kingston was pumping 2.5 million litres of ground water every day up to a total of about 200 million litres to allow the construction of concrete structure and in-ground services. As an environmental initiative this water was pumped into dams and allowed to re-infiltrate the Tomago sand beds, resulting in 100% recycling. “We also separated concrete surplus on site, crushing it and sending it to recyclers, achieving an overall recycling rate of 90% for all materials across the site.
We are committed to environmental and sustainability initiatives which is why we have Planet in our brand” said Kingston’s Operations Manager, John Tonkin.
The client was contracted to accept molten aluminium imposing a very tight construction time frame. “Failure was not an option so we knew that we would have to start building before the design was completed. It’s fundamental to how we operate that every project is reviewed to look for opportunities where we can value engineer time and cost savings to pass onto our clients” said John. Kingston suggested design modifications which streamlined construction, made the program more efficient and reduced construction costs.
Kingston worked closely with the Client, Project Managers, Caverstock Group and cost planners Muller Partnership along with EJE Architecture and MPC Engineers.” We focussed on performance, safety and quality. It was such a great team effort with fantastic support from our subcontractors” said John.
“Structural engineers, MPC provided invaluable assistance by modifying a series of in ground blade walls and steps and substituting screw piles for conventional bored piers in the water charged ground.
In order to reduce construction time the 2nd building was constructed from a top-down methodology whereby the design was modified to allow the installation of the overhead steel & metal cladded structure to be undertaken whilst the internal footings, pits and ground slabs were completed.
“Kingston Building Australia's Project Manager, David Fairbrother often jokes that for this project all our best work is actually buried in the ground! The in ground concrete structure, which formed the pits required for the installation of furnaces, casting lines and wiring & stranding machines, was the most complicated series of foundations, blade walls and slabs imaginable. Additionally given that each pour was undertaken below the water table, then it was critical that KBA’s inspection & test plans were stringently adhered to so as to ensure a quality product that would not leak.” Kingston also ensured the client-supplied electrical systems (designed outside Australia) were adjusted to meet Australian standards.
Safety is something KBA take extremely seriously. Project specific innovations included design and implementation of a new handrail system for safety around constructed pits, and backfilling of finished trenches with blue metal to prevent injury to workers. The project’s safety challenges also included managing multiple work faces across a large site with a variety of work activities occurring simultaneously.
The project was used as a yardstick by which KBA’s overall WHS processes and procedures were reviewed and measured by the Australian Government Building & Construction OHS Accreditation Scheme, and subsequently, the company achieved Federal Safety Commissioner accreditation. During the course of the project further recognition of the commitment to safety was received in the form of the WorkCover Excellence in Work Health & Safety Award at the 2013 Master Builders Association Awards – the second successive year KBA has won the award.
KBA has almost 50 staff who are selected based on their alignment with the company values of Respect, Learning, Quality and Performance. A skilled and innovative Project Management team focus on time, budget and resources perspectives identifying the most suitable materials and subcontractors. SMS Civil and DMG undertook the extremely complex forming and pouring of the highly heat resistant Fondag concrete imported from France that had not been previously used in Australia. The concrete achieved 100 MPa in 2 days which is 5 times the strength of your average driveway,” said David Fairbrother.
This extremely experienced company’s approach to projects is founded on working as a team with clients to deliver their designs with minimal impact to the environment, zero harm to workers, and to a standard of quality which has been recognised with numerous awards both locally and nationally.