For large infrastructure projects, manufacturing corrugated steel pipe (CSP) culverts on site helps to save time and money, but making it work in remote locations is a challenge. One Australian firm has it figured out.
A 22-year-old family business based in Western Australia (WA), Roundel supplies corrugated metal pipes and bolted, corrugated-plate structures that are used in road and rail infrastructure, natural resource and construction projects.
The firm introduced state-of-the-art mobile pipe mills into Australia in 2010, and has since produced more than 28,000 t of CSP in remote locations such as the Pilbara in WA, Groote Eylandt off the coast of the Northern Territory and Weipa in northern Queensland.
“The main reason for manufacturing on site is cutting out the cost of delivering the finished goods,” said Bev Byard, Roundel Managing Director.
“We transport all the machinery, the steel coil, and we have a comprehensive range of support services, including large-capacity forklift trucks, mobile site offices, generator sets and purpose-built pipe support systems.
“This means we can make longer lengths of pipe because we’re not limited by transportation. Longer lengths mean a quicker installation for the team on site, saving time and money.”
When working on projects in the Pilbara — as with many locations across Australia — Byard said the most critical aspect is ensuring the crews are able to work safely in high heat and humidity.
“In terms of workplace health and safety we have had no incidents, but the general issue is just being away,” he said.
“COVID-19 brought added concerns for us because of the fly in, fly out nature of the job, but we were able to make this work.”
Working remotely also means Roundel’s teams need to be completely self-sufficient, which Byard said comes from experience.
“Remoteness means you have to be experienced and completely self-sufficient – you have to be well prepared with spares and maintenance,” he said.
“You have to be self-reliant when it comes to breakdowns as it can take days to get crews in. We take a lot of spares with us so breakdowns can be fixed if needed.”
As Roundel supplies a drainage product, its crews need to be on site early on in order to get the projects underway.
“For example, you need access roads, and you can’t have those without drainage for those roads,” Byard said. “So we need to perform on site in order to get the project started.”
Roundel’s teams can spend anywhere from three months or as long as a year on a client’s site. It is about to finish work on Queensland’s Carmichael rail project, where the firm’s two decades of experience proved very useful.
“We were meant to be there 12 months, but they wanted to accelerate the project because of the rainy season in north Queensland,” Byard said.
“We were able to accelerate and produce 8000 tonnes of steel in six months.”
For more information about Roundel’s range, click here.