Eye For Detail
Summer 2020 Issue
Clayton Roxborough ACMA Chairman
The year of 2020 – Good-bye and good riddance……
but let’s remember the lessons.
Traditionally, December is a time for me to start wrapping up the events of the past 12 months and look forward to opening up a new diary. To me, the promise beckoned by a clean calendar exemplifies the turning of a new leaf. It signals an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and start afresh, and I have to say that I’m looking forward to it now more than ever.
2020 has been a watershed for many Australians. Terms such as “pre-covid” and “post-pandemic” are already becoming common-place in the media. It’s almost as if they want to highlight the differences in the two periods. What was normal then, compared to what is normal now, and wipe the slate clean of everything that happened in between. After all, there is so much that happened in 2020 that many of us would prefer to forget.
Football seasons, virtual car racing, home-schooling, empty shelves in the supermarket, no weddings, no-parties, the list goes on.
But hey, we’re still here! And some have managed to turn adversity into a positive for themselves.
Some kids flourished with the benefit of more time with parents, parents have realised the value of family time, and we still enjoyed a football competition of sorts. Certainly, here in Queensland, the AFL have attracted larger audiences than ever before. Caravanning is enjoying a resurgence and regional tourism is booming.
The speed and agility with which Australians responded to the global pandemic highlights the creativity and resilience we’re are capable of when conventions are challenged.
However, along with the rest of the building sector, the Construction Modelling Industry was not immune to the pandemic.
New norms in the industry include working from home, zoom meetings and certainly, a heightened awareness of technology. The latter is especially true for some of us more experienced folk (read “Older folk”). The improvisation has come from all levels within business and perhaps, from unexpected links in the construction supply chain.
The way that many companies are now working is a response to the circumstances thrust upon them by medical specialists and Government regulation, but now we’re here, working this way, business leaders are beginning to realise that many of the adaptions that have been made this year, may in fact be a better way of working, even under normal conditions.
Some changes that have occurred in your workplace may not only address the Covid restrictions but also deliver a means to overcome pre-existing problems.
I hope that for some drafting companies, the Covid down-time provided the excellent opportunity to deliver some long-overdue Training and Professional Development to staff, and allowed management to review investment strategies to get their business through the next phase of growth.
How ever it is that your company managed to get through 2020, I hope that it, and all the staff are now better prepared for whatever 2021 may bring.
Now in its eighteenth year, the announcement of winners for the Australian Steel Excellence Awards has commenced. The award presentations look a little different this year and will be released on the dates listed below to view online.
The presentations profile shortlisted finalists and winners in the five award categories:
Each state winner will be vying for national honours.
“Although times have been challenging in 2020, it is exciting to provide a program to celebrate excellence in design, fabrication and construction of projects for the Australian community. The calibre of projects submitted for entry in this year’s awards have been excellent and we look forward to sharing the finalists and winners with you soon.” ASI CEO Mark Cain.
ACMA members were part of the project teams for many of the entered projects, with BIM and 3D modelling playing an important role in delivering the projects.
Release dates for online State and National Awards Presentations:
To view the recorded presentations online, please go to https://www.steel.org.au/events-awards/awards/
Major sponsors for the 2020 ASI Steel Excellence Awards are:
Annual General Meeting – 2020
Wednesday 2nd of December
The ACMA has prioritised the health and wellbeing of its members and volunteers. Given the effects of COVID-19, on-going restrictions on gatherings and travel, the meeting will be a remote meeting held via Zoom.
If you attend the meeting, you provide your consent to the meeting being recorded for the purpose of ACMA’s internal records.
Notice is hereby given of the point of origin of the virtual meeting will be the corporate office of the ACMA, Unit 20/76 Doggett Street in Newstead, Brisbane, Queensland 4006.
Start time for the meeting is 6pm (Australian Eastern Standard Time) on Wednesday 2nd of December.
Members are invited to request the Zoom invite link via email by close of business on Tuesday 1st December 2020.
The Zoom meeting invite link will be included in a return email response.
The financial statement can be emailed to members upon request.
Should you wish to appoint a proxy, please complete and return the “Proxy Voting Form” and return via email by the close of business on Tuesday 1st December 2020.
Peter’s interests include deep sea fishing, travelling and sightseeing, gatherings with friends and especially watching his children and grandchildren grow and flourish.
Sub-Committee Members – Expression of Interest
Author: Clayton Roxborough
Queensland Detailing Industry stalwart, Peter Hempsall is retiring.
After 50 years of working in the Steel Detailing industry in Queensland, Peter has decided to rack the pens and take his last drawing off the board.
Peter began detail drafting in 1969 at the Evans Deakin workshops in Brisbane, followed by almost 25 years working at Brisbane Drafting Service (BDS) now DBM Vircon, before establishing his own business, Hempsall Steel Detailers, in Redcliffe, just north of Brisbane in 1998.
Peter has contributed tirelessly to the Australian Detailing industry for more than a decade having served on the Board of Directors of the Australian Construction Modellers Association since its inception in 2017 and prior to that, was on the Management Committee of the Australian Institute of Steel Detailers (Qld) from 2008.
Peter also featured in the Autumn edition of the Eye for Detail e-magazine back in 2012 as part of the regular “Member Profile” segment.
I have personally had the good fortune to have worked with Peter during his long career in the Steel Detailing industry, firstly as my mentor at BDS in Brisbane, and in later years, in collaborations between Hempsall Steel Detailers and Steelcad Drafting.
He is the genuine article, an Aussie larrikin with a great sense of humour and an honest, caring nature. The depth of his experience and wealth of knowledge will be a great loss to our local talent pool.
On behalf of the ACMA board of Directors, I wish Peter and his wife Catherine, a long and happy retirement.
Peter’s resignation becomes effective at the AGM of the ACAM, currently scheduled for Wednesday 2nd December 2020.
Sub-Committee Members – Expression of Interest
The ACMA is seeking Expressions of Interest from the membership for positions on a range of sub-committees. Current committees in operation include;
If you have an interest in these matters or would like to be more involved in the Construction Modellers Association, please contact us with your preference and desired level of participation.
The Board is still developing guidelines for these Committees and are keen to engage with members from all states and all disciplines of modelling to ensure your association delivers the benefits you are looking for.
Directorships – Call for Nominations
In accordance with the Constitution and By-laws of the ACMA, we are now seeking nominations from the membership for positions to the board of directors.
Please note the following articles of the Constitution.
13.1 (b) Directors may be elected from members of any State or Territory Group save that there must be no more than two Directors from any one State at any time, excluding Queensland to which this clause does not apply.
13.9 Directors are not entitled to be remunerated for their services as Directors.
14.5 An ordinary member from a State or Territory Group may nominate an Ordinary member from the same State or Territory Group for election and the nomination must be seconded by a second ordinary member from the same State or Territory Group.
14.9 Ordinary members within a State or Territory Group may only vote in respect of the Director nominated by that State or Territory Group.
Should you wish to nominate for this position, please request the “Director Nomination Form” complete and return via email by the close of business on Friday 29th January 2021.
Author: Phil Shanks
Many of our members may be aware of 5131, as the ASI have been broadcasting it for some time now in their industry publications and online announcements.
Dr Peter Key of the ASI has also been delivering online web meetings on the topic also and I believe there are more to come.
From the Preface;
This Standard was prepared by the Joint Standards Australia/Standards New Zealand Committee BD-001, Steel Structures. The objective of this Standard is to provide best practice requirements for fabrication and erection of structural steel members, components and structural assemblies used for load-carrying purposes in buildings, bridges and other structures.
To purchase a copy of this standard;
For a preview of the content in the standard;
This Australian standard does impact Steel Detailing and the ACMA is in discussions with Peter on the impacts this may have on steel detailing and fabrication. We hope, with more discussion with the ASI, some of the processes for higher material traceability will become more simplified and more clearly understood.
It is our concern now that categories such as CC3 are quite onerous and have the potential to complicate part numbering, to meet traceability requirements.
The discussions the ACMA are having with the ASI now are related to alternative methods of material tracking. We wish to make sure that these standards are supported but must advise the ASI of any problems we believe may result from the implementation of such codes.
We will provide updates on this topic as discussions with the ASI develop.
If you have any questions about 5131, feel free to contact me. If you have any feedback you wish the ACMA to pass on to the ASI, from your experiences with 5131, please pass this on also.
As travelled by Rapid Alliance
Author: Clayton Roxborough
A Brief History of Rapid Alliance
Almost a decade ago, in the middle of the mining boom in Western Australia, an idea was hatched by a number of successful smaller and mid-sized companies that they could work seamlessly as an efficient team in order to participate in the “Mining Boom” that was fuelling heightened business activity in Australia and overseas. The reasoning was that the sheer size of many mining projects meant that the resources of the individual businesses were insufficient to instil a level of confidence in the personnel involved in letting the large contracts. With the contract principals reluctant to break up the projects into smaller packages that would be manageable by small to mid-sized businesses, the owners of those businesses were excited by the idea that they could get a team together that would be seen by the mining industry principals as a functional co-operative of businesses with similar values and systems, acting in concert and with a solid focus on the end game. A business co-operative, an alliance, like that should be a viable contender when tendering on large projects.
Many people ask, or at least wonder, how can businesses that compete every day for their daily bread suddenly work together? The answer is that all the businesses involved in the proposed alliance were like-minded. That is, they believe that competitors need not be enemies. In fact, prior to the formation of the alliance it had been commonplace for cross business referrals to occur within the group in an effort to ensure the needs of customers are put first.
The team of business owners commenced evaluating the various member company strengths, weaknesses, systems and software. In February 2012, after almost a year of thorough preparations a new company, Rapid Alliance Pty Ltd, was launched in Perth by the then Federal Resources Sector Supplier Envoy, Mr Peter Beattie. Rapid Alliance, currently comprising Austruct Group, CADstruction Drafting, Minstruct Drafting and Westplan Drafting, was ready to engage the marketplace. There was to be a lot of work ahead breaking into the traditional tender process of inviting only large well known and proven businesses to tender on large projects. Even though many of the Rapid Alliance member businesses had worked individually for the Contract Managers involved in the larger projects, the Contract Managers were reluctant to risk inviting Rapid Alliance to tender. It was a difficult time for Rapid Alliance members, but with a commitment to succeed and perseverance the team won some large commercial projects, such as the Perth Airport Extension and the Eastern Goldfields Prison. Whilst successfully completing these projects on-time and within budget, Rapid Alliance seized the opportunity to test and tweak their technical and management systems.
After several years, opportunities to submit proposals for several large mining projects started to appear. With every submission the Rapid Alliance team learnt a more about how to present the Company to prospective Clients, how to produce a competitive and value-centric proposal and, above all, maximised local content and expertise in their proposals. This high level of local content in Rapid Alliance proposals has proven to be extremely attractive to Clients who have had their project timelines and budgets mauled by bad experiences resulting from contractors using foreign resources.
Koodaideri Project and Rapid Alliance
After receiving an invitation to tender and after several months of competitive tendering, in August 2019, Rapid Alliance was awarded the entire detailing works for the Koodaideri Project for Rio Tinto. Project kick-off was scheduled for a few weeks after the contract award date. Rapid Alliance spent the interim period programming the works and allocating the manpower within the group to complete the various tasks of the project work.
As with many projects of this size and scope, some problems eventuated. One such problem was a delay in issuing final packages from the Client and changes in the sequence of issuing those packages by the Client, which caused over-allocation problems for the Rapid Alliance planned manning capacity. Whilst the Client worked to resolve these problems, Rapid Alliance members re-allocated resources and initiated plans to become more flexible in the provision of manning resources. To do that, Rapid Alliance enlisted the resources of other like-minded companies, both in Perth and interstate, with whom Rapid Alliance and member companies have had long standing relationships. These added resources enabled Rapid Alliance to maintain a high number of people available to work on the project despite the changed final package delivery schedule from the Client.
The willingness to rise to the meet the scheduling challenges and to work to resolve the issues resulting from project changes and unforeseen design problems has resulted in the formulation of an extremely robust methodology allowing the Rapid Alliance team members and their associates to successfully complete major projects. The Rapid Alliance team has learnt several lessons, foremost has been the criticality of our ability to adapt to changing situations and our ability to manage manpower across a range of co-operative businesses within Australia. Rapid Alliance is committed to continue to develop these major points of excellence as we complete future projects.
Developments by Rapid Alliance
After eight years, how has Rapid Alliance evolved?
Rapid Alliance has proven the economic advantages of using the 3D modelling software packages Tekla Structures and Advance Steel.
Rapid Alliance approaches projects with a desire to adopt business improvement changes with the aim of providing Clients with constantly improving outcomes.
Rapid Alliance has the flexibility in business processes and structure to rapidly adapt to changing Client requirements.
Rapid Alliance recognises the importance of class leading document control to ensure Client confidence in the quality and integrity of their documentation.
Rapid Alliance has a commitment to project management processes to support the achievement of forecasting, scheduling goals and milestones.
In addition to the highly technical skills of the Rapid Alliance design and drafting teams, we have access to specialists in every field, like document controllers, programmers, lawyers, contract administrators, cost controllers, schedulers and project managers.
Rapid Alliance looks forward to the next challenge.
Chairman – Rapid Alliance
Collaboration on a major scale
Author: David Dawson | DBMVircon – Perth
Located in the prosperous Western Australia Pilbara region, the Iron Bridge project is forging ahead. The product of a joint venture between Fortescue Metals Group (FMG) and Formosa Steel, the greenfield magnetite mine is expected to ship its first ore from the front half of 2022.
This major US$2.6bn project includes the development of a dual dry crushing circuit, wet plant, 145km slurry line, and port stockyard and processing facilities. The Iron Bridge Project will utilise proprietary processing systems to produce an expected 22 million wet tonnes per annum of high-grade magnetite concentrate product.
Given the size of the project, the JV have split the construction modelling and detailing packages for the main material handling project into three major packages; dry plant, wet plant and port. To support the enormity of the dry plant portion, three construction modelling companies have joined forces to coordinate and deliver the project; DBM Vircon, Mechwest and Multiplan. A collaborative delivery approach will enable these three companies to contribute resources of in excess of 300 people at peak to support the project’s tight delivery schedule. Thanks to co-location of resources of all three construction modelling teams, as well as resources from FMG and engineers from Hatch, within DBM Vircon’s Perth Office, everyone involved is working together to produce a consistent output across the 35 project facilities that fall within the dry plant scope. A high level of communication and transparency between all companies has allowed progress across numerous work fronts to run concurrently and efficiently.
Over the coming months, there is a significant amount of work to be delivered. A successful outcome will not only support many Australian construction and mining jobs, but also provide a great example of how Australian teams collaborating and working together across multiple companies can achieve truly remarkable results.
Multiplan has unveiled a bold new brand and an exciting national growth plan for 2021.
The leading construction modelling, and drafting firm headquartered in Perth will now be known simply as Multiplan to reflect its evolution into a multi-disciplined consultancy.
Speaking at a sundowner for staff, clients and partners, Managing Director, Kane Nitschke, said the new brand was a way of taking Multiplan’s 27-year history and reimagining it for the future.
“I am proud to say we have gone from an ambitious three-person start-up to a 55-strong team with a portfolio of successful projects and an international presence,” he said. “But we are as passionate and committed as ever and reliability, innovation and quality continue to be our hallmarks. We are determined that the new Multiplan brand will become synonymous with setting the benchmark for precision modelling and drafting.”
Kane said over the next 12 months the consultancy will focus on expanding its Australian footprint through new client partnerships and strengthening its team in Bulgaria to service the European market.
“Multiplan’s talent pool has real depth and breadth and I can confidentially say we have the best modellers, detailers and checkers in the industry.”
“With an average of 25-years’experience across the board they are able to deliver clients a level of knowledge and skill which other firms find hard to match,” he said.
It was the calibre of people at Multiplan that enticed Iann Pitout to take on the new role of General Manager in March this year. He believes they are the firm’s secret weapon as they actively pursue greater market share and new client partnerships in the coming year.
“When it came to developing Multiplan‘s core values as part of our business plan we didn’t have to look any further than our team members for clarity and insight,” he said. “They unanimously articulated that resilience, commitment, collaboration, innovation, motivation and versatility are what underpins our approach. You can’t ask for more than a team of professionals that live and breathe those values.”
Check out the new look Multiplan by visiting Multiplan.com.au
Steel Detailer Profile
What’s your detailing story pre-PDC/DBM days?
I grew up in Kalgoorlie, here in Western Australia, which is where I completed my apprenticeship. As a young draftsperson I was lucky enough to find a great mentor in my first employer Gary, who came from a drawing office manager background. Joining Gary doubled his company’s resource numbers overnight and at the modest size of just two people it was an intensive and at times intimidating career start. I completed my tertiary studies on the board but my very first job was on a 486 computer using AutoCad v12. I realised pretty quickly I knew relatively nothing!
From early on I was also given direct client exposure with engineers, fabricators, and mine site owners, who serviced the gold and nickel industries working on greenfield and brownfield sites. This exposure meant I was drafting anything from structural steel, mechanical chutes, civil works, process piping, electrical and hydraulic schematics. Basically anything and everything that went into a gold or nickel processing plant or a service industry. Site trips were sometimes hundreds of kilometres away, so making sure you had every measurement and cross check was crucial. Point cloud technology of course has made much of that redundant now.
In 1999 I moved to Perth to work as a designer in oil and gas, and then into the grain handling industry with CBH. It was the later in which I would come to know PDC who would take our design layouts and produce detailed fabrication drawings of the chutes, conveyors and structures.
In my interview for PDC I was shown all the new things they were doing with 3D in AutoCAD and StruCAD. It was another case of feeling well out of my depth, but having around thirty old school drafties in the office there was plenty of experience to call upon for help.
Is there anything about the early days in your career that you miss now?
There are a few things I miss. First of all, the characters! If you have been in any drafting office for any length of time you will have come across dozens of them. Witty and a little crazy, they are the great sharer’s of knowledge. It is always a sad day to see an old detailer retire, especially the ones that helped you out in your early days. If there is ever a legacy you want to leave behind, it is that of helping someone become more than just a CAD operator, and maybe leaving a catch phrase or two.
The most rewarding part of my early career was problem solving and detailing solutions in the 3D virtual world and then seeing that solution being built and becoming the physical. I would sometimes explain to people who asked me what I do that it’s a bit like playing with Lego all day, except on the computer. In truth it’s probably not at all as simple as playing with Lego but it was certainly just as enjoyable.
The most memorable project I worked on was the Cyclone George Memorial for FMG. This is a twelve-metre-high twisting turning leaf sculpture to commemorate the lives lost at the Cloud Break mine site in the Pilbara. The engineers presented an internal steel skeleton much like a radio tower but we were able to steer them to a much cleaner solution of a central reducing pipe core with baffle plates, allowing the fabricator to align the 6PL weather resistant steel skin to it.
My role is now project delivery, and as fate would have it both of the construction modellers I worked with twelve years ago on that sculpture are currently helping to deliver a 20,000t Third Runway Concourse at Hong Kong Airport. One is in the parametric custom component team, and the other is helping coordinate our off-shore Manila team.
Has there been a defining project or period for Perth-based detailers?
Perth’s boom-bust resource cycle forces resilience in our local industry. The companies that have stood the test of time are those that innovate, look outside their existing markets and diversify with complimentary digital offerings.
This global experience allows our Perth based team to take on projects anywhere in the world, because there are always individuals in those regions that hold relevant experience in projects we take on.
The innovations our technical and project teams have come up with in recent times, are defining the type of large scale and international work we can take on. With large projects comes an emphasis on model integrity and control, and it is those innovations which enable us to work in a much smarter way, and drive high-end results.
Your thoughts about off-shore detailing or “Local shop-fronts for off shore detailing”?
Perhaps the most rewarding experience of my career was moving with my wife and young family to Manila, Philippines where we lived for three and a half years. Manila is one of the world’s most densely populated cities at around 43,000 people per square kilometre. The social, political, natural and cultural challenges faced are issues we in our privileged Australian life, never have to contend with.
In spite of the different challenges we face, one big takeaway from working in our offshore office was that for all our differences we still crave the same basic desires in life.
Operating a business in a geographical area like the Philippines is full of challenges. Some examples include team members having an average of 2 hours each way to the office before putting in over ten-hour days. When the wet season comes, flooding is prevalent and people cannot safely get into the office at all. There are cultural requirements when there is a death in the family. It is for these reasons and many others that support, understanding and cultural sensitivity of the working environment is critical when you have offshore detailing offices.
I am now based back in Perth. Having part of my project team offshore and isolated from the project management group is by far the biggest factor that can adversely affect our projects. The offshore centre is never a separate entity and can never be treated as such. They are as much a part of the project team as the person sitting next to you. And while some of the best and hardest working construction modellers I have worked with are in our offshore office, nothing should be just thrown over the fence with an expectation it will be sorted out. Even with the best planned project, daily communications from the project leads is essential to keep an alignment with the execution plan, and coach throughout the work fronts assigned.
What are the most satisfying aspects of your work?
Within the office the most satisfying aspect of my work is seeing a project coming together because of the talented construction modellers we have. Generally construction modellers are problem solvers by nature; and giving individuals the freedom to find solutions and create innovative ways of modelling and detailing a job is rewarding. It is also satisfying running a profitable project where the contributions that experienced modellers bring to a project via design assist are recognised, appreciated and compensated.
Outside the office the most satisfying aspect of my work is seeing a project either being fabricated in the shop or being erected in the field. I travelled with one of our Manila project managers to the United States for the detailing kick-off for a new building at Stanford University in California. It was fortuitous timing as my colleague’s previous project ‘181 Freemont’ in San Francisco was topping off that same week. We were able to time our visit for the topping off ceremony with the iron workers. Standing atop 181 we could see San Francisco’s tallest building ‘Salesforce Tower’ directly across from us, which was another structure the Manila office had been involved in.
What was the primary motivation for joining the ACMA? or maybe, What do you see as the biggest benefit of ACMA membership?
Several months ago, Brad, Clayton and Phil gave a presentation to our DBMV Perth Office. They spoke about ACMA’s mission and offerings to its members. I was impressed with the presentation and saw ACMA as a good resource for industry insights, and gaining visibility across what we do. There are abundant opportunities in our industry and unifying our approach to how we add value and standards to projects is a great opportunity.
What do you see as the main challenges facing our industry?
The disruptions that constant technological developments bring means we are constantly needing to evolve our ways and systems just to stand still. While this in itself is a challenge, there are new and exciting ways of working with the engineers, architects and owners at the front end of projects through IPD that differ substantially to the traditional approach of coming in at the back end. Not just design assist but becoming an integrated part of the engineering delivery and model development.
Attracting the right talent has always been a challenge. And nowadays to ensure our business is viable into the future, it is critical to instil in our cadets that efficiency and doing the job right the first time will ensure longevity.
The things we taught our cadets in the past are still very relevant in terms of creating a thinking construction modeller. However within every project there comes a chance to improve a process or develop team member skills, and there is so much we need to teach and put in their toolkits that will serve them in the coming years.
Above all the quality of work we as an industry deliver, will determine how successful we are in building lasting partnerships with owners.
What software package do you use and what were the deciding factors that prompted your choices?
Within DBM Vircon our predominant software is Tekla Structures, the development time put into this software and the systems created around it by our technology team gives our group a very stable and efficient platform to deliver our largescale projects.
We are also developing Advance Steel further within the Perth office for industrial work.
Do you think construction modellers & detailers are given the recognition they deserve for all the “non-detailing” work they do?
Resolving errors, omissions and conflicting information within the design documentation has been something detailers have always done. However it’s something that’s not always tangible or recognised by the client. If a brick layer only received 80% of his bricks, he could likely still build 80% of your house walls. Unfortunately if we receive 80% of the design intent, it can substantially hold up a much greater percentage of the project.
I once started a project with a 60% design set of documents, with client expectations we could still hit the first sequence IFA six weeks out from starting. That was an extremely stressful project with much time being spent raising hundreds of RFI’s for design information and a constant justification on why our IFA’s were late or incomplete. Like my analogy above, it is like blaming the bricklayer because the brick factory cannot make and deliver the bricks fast enough. Having a client who understands where the bottlenecks are occurring and applying support in the correct place is critical to all stakeholders.
While there is an onus on the detailer to interpret the design and move it to a detailed product, the basics of the engineering deliverables need to be provided, I would say it is one of the biggest elements of successful project delivery in having the stakeholders on-board with this. Unfortunately even if it is understood it is often ignored when the pressures of cost and schedule come into play. Late or incomplete information is one thing but the disruption and additional cost when revisions come in is another that clients do not always understand. The further into the process you are, the more backtracking and reprocessing that needs to be done. The knock on effect to other work fronts is also impacted and if a project is not communicated in a timely manner as to those impacts, you will be chasing your tail for the remainder.
The amount of work required to produce a clash free model when interfacing structural, civil, mechanical, piping, electrical and vendor, as well as the solutions to those problems, are generally resolved at the coal face by the construction modeller. Unfortunately much of what we do to help move the project forward goes unseen. You are never judged on what you have got right, or on issues that never saw the light of day because they were already taken care of.
How do you see the future for our industry and Is there any advice you would give to somebody who wanted to become a construction modeller?
The future is exciting, and being a construction modeller can be a rewarding career if you chose it to be. I think automation and technology will change how work is done from bringing the detailing model further into the engineering and fabrication realms.
The next generation of construction modellers will need to be prepared for a rapidly changing industry and a path of continual learning. The industry will always need new blood and the role of the construction modeller I believe will always be needed because everything we design has the human element and creating is in our nature. Thomas Carlyle said: ‘Every man is my superior in that I may learn from him’. If you look at everything through that lens and be prepared to be coachable, I believe the industry will serve you well, and you it.
Driving an old work ute in forty-degree heat, dodging emus up to Agnew Gold mine 400km north of Kalgoorlie, I pretty much thought at the time that maybe that would be the furthest I would travel for a project. I wouldn’t have imagined 20 years later flying out of my home base in Manila, Philippines into L.A. California to kick off a 10,000-tonne seismic designed structure for the LAX midfield concourse expansion that would be modelled, detailed and controlled in 4 separate geographic offices. What a wonderful experience!
Author: Phil Shanks
Sometimes getting to a point to be able to take a holiday can be a long drawn out affair, with a planned trip to Japan in April cancelled due to COVID#19, and state borders closed to keep us safe and healthy, we had to come up with another plan.
The decision to head north from Brisbane to Fraser Island seemed like a logical opportunity, to escape the daily grind of Shop Detailing and the relentless pressure of the office. What better way to escape and relax than to do so on an island and in a period outside the school holidays.
We booked a package holiday which included a 4WD bus tour around the island, looking at many of the island’s key draw cards and along with the trip, came a lengthy history lesson delivered by our bus driver. It was most interesting learning more about the history of this island.
On the following day we decided to walk some of the tracks, with one of the walks being on the Western side of the island, which we travelled South from the hotel we stayed at, along the beach to the McKenzie’s jetty and back inland to return to the hotel. We did this walk at low tide and once we reached the jetty, we were able to take the time to have a good look at what is left of the structure.
The following paragraphs I have taken from a website document, which will give some context to the history of the jetty:
“This jetty was constructed in the mid 1800’s, after Andrew Petrie, a former superintendent of the public works in the Brisbane Penal Colony explored Fraser island and returned to Brisbane to report on the abundance of quality timber on the island.
A timber sawmill was constructed in Maryborough and logging operations started on the island near Wanggoolba Creek in 1863. Kauri pines were harvested and rafted up the Mary River to the Maryborough mill.
In 1905 the first steam tramway was laid from Urang Creek to Poyungan and Bogimbah Scrub to haul logs to the coast. Tramways were laid on a south-east, north-west alignment to avoid crossing the sand dunes. The tracks were regularly shifted to where logging was most common at that time. Sparks from chimney stacks of the steam locomotives often caused bush fires.
In 1915 the tramway was moved south from Bogimbah to Wanggoolba Creek and the forestry camp followed in 1916. Denser hardwoods were harvested and as these could not be floated to the mainland, the logs were punted on barges to the mills. In 1918, NSW timber merchant Mr H. McKenzie, of Sydney, bought the rights to log 4000 hectares of land for 10 years and immediately began building the first and only timber mill on Fraser Island at the McKenzies Jetty site, just south of Kingfisher Bay Resort. McKenzie Ltd was responsible for this mill, a jetty and a number of steam locomotives and tracks servicing its logging areas.
By 1925 most of the island was set aside as state forest and when the McKenzie operation was no longer economically viable, McKenzie sold out and the State Forest Service bought at auction a steam locomotive, tramlines, and the jetty. The State Forest Service continued to operate the steam tramways until 1935.
The State Forest Service promoted the quality and regeneration of timbers through selective logging and the saving of superior seed trees. Trial plantings of various species and experiments regarding regeneration, burning, clearing and soil enrichment techniques were carried out with varying degrees of success.
During the 1980s the State Government came under increasing pressure from conservation groups to halt logging on Fraser Island. In 1990 a Commission of Inquiry was established to provide recommendations on the future use, conservation, and management of Fraser Island. Mr Gerald E. (Tony) Fitzgerald was appointed Chairman of the Commission. Logging ceased in 1991 in the wake of recommendations from this inquiry.”
I took a number of photographs of the structure and observed the construction of what is left, and was able to see that the beam to post connection was a mortice and tenon construction, with no evidence of any metal fixing. Perhaps this connection was enough to hold the primary structure in place? However, there was evidence of metal tension rods, but they have long since rusted away and I suspect that the posts furthest from the shore, won’t stand for much longer, due to the slender remanence of the bottom section as shown in the pictures below.
Knocking on the posts revealed that they are now hollow, rotting from the inside out. As can be seen in this picture. If you look closely you can see where the tree branch goes into the centre of the trunk!
One of the last photographs I took, was the one below, looking from the shore though the centre of the jetty. Clearly the jetty has not been used in a very long time and I was amazed at how straight and symmetrical the timber is. The carpenter’s building these old structures really did know how to build for longevity. How they got the timbers out there to construct this I am not sure, as the posts and beams would have been significantly heavy.
On many of the remaining posts, Roman numerals can be seen, as shown in the picture below. I believe that these number are a marking system for the posts, and they are marked similarly to the ay we mark assemblies today – Like numbers signify the same post. This is more evident closer to land side, as the posts are marked with the same number and they are clearly the same post design.
I would imagine that there would have been a marking plan for all the parts of this jetty, to enable them to erect the structure according to the design. It is the first time I’ve seen a marking system like this on a timber structure this old and wonder if this was common back in the day?
I believe that the Roman numerals were cut into the timber with a chisel and not stamped or burnt in with a hot iron, as the similar letters were slightly different to one another.
When I compare this construction to modern day methods, nothing much has changed other that the technology we use to build structures, the technology just makes our lives easier (for the most part). These old structures would have been set with stringlines Id imagine, which are still used today, and they were probably levelled using water levels. The same levelling results these days we get from spirit levels and laser machines, which are quick but can fall out of calibration. Im not sure a water level can fall out of calibration, unless something seriously wrong with the planet J
Marking systems used today in the Shop Detailing world, mostly deal with part and assembly marks and all is computed in the digital model environments we work in. The same concept as this one on the jetty exists to this day, as we number like parts and assemblies the same – this is done for efficiency.
Many of us are using 3D software which has features to allow us to export punch and scribe marking to the digital output files like DSTV, which can automate the marking system for parts. These marking systems can be used for assembly setout or part and assembly identification and this is where the modern 3D age really set’s its self apart from any manual process in the past – we are able to achieve high volume with minimal error, as the computer manages the output.
Some of us now have been exposed to the Construction Categories designated by AS 5131, where in some of the higher categories require a higher level of identification and traceability. Its important that we all understand what this code requires of us when we are tendering on projects with Categories like CC3. The ACMA has provided feedback to the ASI on the impacts which can be caused to our workload because of some of these requirements. Once we have more correspondence on the matter, we will send out a notification to ACMA members.
In some respects, technology is making our lives far more difficult that they need to be. When looking at a marking system on an old timber jetty, we can see that traceability has always been a part of construction, it is the only way to manage a complicated outcome. We just need to be mindful that getting caught up in technology can result in systems which are more complicated than they really need to be and wherever possible, we just need to keep it simple.
Our lives will never be as physically difficult as it was for the people building these old heavy structures, as there were no machines to help them with the workload, everything was done by hand – let’s not lose sight of that reality!