Collaboration with steel manufacturers and suppliers early on in the project life cycle is helping unlock innovative solutions and driving the next wave of construction forward.
Australia is experiencing a construction boom that is set to outstrip the mining boom of last decade.
An estimated $100 billion worth of state and federal government infrastructure projects are currently in the pipeline with major new road and rail projects leading the way and demand for construction materials, services and personnel at record levels.
In addition, Rider Levett Bucknall’s Q4 2017 RLB Crane Index reveals growth in the high-rise residential construction sector, with a record number of cranes currently visible in Australia’s major cities.
One critical material input that features in almost every construction project, from nation-building initiatives through to the high-rise developments changing the face of our cities, is steel. With so many construction projects underway throughout the country, early collaboration with the steel supply chain has become an important factor in the delivery of large-value projects on time and on budget.
Liberty OneSteel Business Development Manager David Bell says collaborating with partners to develop solutions that meet their unique requirements is essential to the success of many of the projects the company works on.
“As construction challenges have grown ever more complex, the requirement for collaboration to unlock innovative engineering solutions has never been more important,” Bell says. “It’s a factor that Liberty OneSteel counts as essential if project objectives are to be identified clearly and delivered on.”
Delivering structural steel solutions
When Meriton’s high-rise residential building at 80 Arthur Street, North Sydney was completed late in 2016, it became the first of its kind in Australia to use an innovative structural steel frame in which the steel beams and decking were situated in the same plane.
According to Bell, “Our [Liberty OneSteel’s] early engagement with Meriton and [structural engineering firm] Enstruct provided the opportunity to understand the requirements of the project and develop an innovative supply chain solution”.
Liberty OneSteel helped to keep the project on track, supplying around 1300 tonnes of steel, including structural steel, to fabricators Pacific Steel and reinforcing steel direct to the project.
Meriton has since embarked on its next structural steel-framed residential development at Bondi Junction and is looking to capitalise on the advantages and learnings from the North Sydney project.
Early collaboration has also played an important role in the development of two multi-storey commercial towers currently under construction in Melbourne at 80 Collins Street and 271 Spring Street. Close collaboration at the design stage between steel supplier Liberty OneSteel Metalcentre and fabricator GFC Industries has enabled them to standardise sections used in construction, reduce onsite welding, optimise usage of cranes and ultimately deliver the quickest construction solution available.
Fifteen kilometres west of Melbourne, in Truganina, Hansen Yuncken has recently completed construction of a new facility for Dutch logistics firm NewCold. With its environment chilled to a constant -21ºC to keep food fresh, the project required structural steel members to perform at temperatures significantly lower than mandated for by the relevant steel standard.
This presented a challenge to steel fabricator Samaras and supplier Liberty OneSteel Metalcentre, which turned to Liberty OneSteel to develop and implement a revised steel testing and assurance regime. Liberty OneSteel had to establish testing facilities that could capably and reliably perform testing at lower temperatures and develop manufacturing process and product control to support the production of such grades.
As a result of the collaboration between steel manufacturer, supplier, fabricator and builder, and Liberty OneSteel developing the IP to demonstrate the suitability of its structural steels for cold temperature application, Australian-manufactured steel was supplied rather than expensive imported steel.
Reinforcing steel in construction
One of the biggest infrastructure projects currently underway in the country, the Victorian government’s level crossing removal program will remove 50 dangerous and congested level crossings by 2022, with the government committed to using 100% local steel products in construction.
Kevin Devlin, CEO of the Level Crossing Removal Authority (LXRA ) says early engagement with the supply chain has been a factor in the organisation successfully meeting its targets.
“The level crossings project is moving at an accelerated pace so we’ve needed to give all our large-quantity suppliers the time to gear their businesses to respond to demand,” he said.
Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing increased production capacity of its loose reinforcing bar and BAMTEC carpet products for supply to construction sites across the city and cooperated early on with project engineers to ensure an efficient delivery sequence of materials to each site.
Meanwhile, the new Crown Casino building in Sydney’s Barangaroo, set to be Sydney’s tallest building once it’s completed in 2021, has already taken delivery of almost 4000 tonnes of Liberty OneSteel Reinforcing bar and pre-fabricated steel.
A unique 105-tonne pre-fabricated cage has already been installed. The scale and weight of the cage presented a significant logistical challenge that was only overcome with close consultation with the project’s structural engineers.
The size and complexity of the piling cage installation at Crown Casino Barangaroo offers us a case in point: it is more important than ever for builders and fabricators to ‘engage early, engage often’ with the steel supply chain.
The vast number of projects currently under construction throughout the country stand to benefit if the Crown Casino example is followed. Not only is early collaboration with partners in steel manufacture and supply fundamental to ensuring strong project outcomes, it can pave the way for new and innovative solutions to building challenges and push the boundaries of what’s possible in construction.