Fabrication and Installation Services – AusGroup’s End-to-End Solution

AusGroup has recently completed the fabrication, transportation and installation of a replacement salt stacker boom for a valued client in the Pilbara region of Western Australia, again delivering highest quality fabrication services using its “one stop shop” approach for the safe and efficient upgrade of a critical piece of client and industry infrastructure.

The end-to-end solution included dismantling of an existing salt stacker boom and the supply, fabrication, transport and installation of its replacement, including trusses, a drive tower and trestle.

To complete the project, over 77 tonnes of steel were procured and fabricated at AusGroup’s Kwinana facility and transported over 1,500 kilometres to Dampier.

The project was completed between December 2021 and June 2022.

Overcoming challenges to ensure timely, efficient project delivery

AusGroup faced a number of challenges as part of the safe and timely delivery of the Dampier stacker project.

“It’s no secret that the construction industry is facing resourcing issues at the moment. Finding skilled labour to complete jobs is a problem for everyone, and we haven’t been immune to this,” explained Nathan Pike, General Manager of Operations at AusGroup. “But for us, meeting client deadlines is a non-negotiable, especially where clients’ critical export equipment is involved, as was the case here. Issues such as resourcing need to be resolved regardless of complexity or challenge.”

In the current case local sub-contractor partnerships in the Pilbara region were leveraged to find and attract local mechanical fitters, boilermakers and riggers to complete the job, and the work was completed safely with no delays to the overall project timeline.

“We have good relationships in the Pilbara and have built a reputation for offering a supportive environment for staff members so this certainly helped us to find suitably qualified staff to complete the work,” Nathan said.

Inclement weather and a significant rain event also added to the difficulties of project execution, with eight days lost to rain.

“The rain did complicate things for us, not only in terms of overall downtime but also the need to find staff who could work at relatively short notice, depending on weather outlooks,” Nathan explained. “It compounded the challenges associated with the project but we were really pleased that even with the rain delays the project timeline was still met.”

A focus on continuous improvement at all stages of project delivery

AusGroup has a culture of improvement and values innovation in processes to drive efficiencies for its own business and for its clients.

“We’re always looking for ways to deliver the best quality solution and this extends to every aspect of the way we work, from project planning, delivery and execution, and the way we retain and attract staff” said Nathan.

For the Dampier project, a focus on continuous improvement was evident.

Structural integrity is important in a high salt, highly corrosive environment and the planning and design work was completed with powerful design tools to improve both efficiencies in workflows and the quality of the final product. In addition, precision plasma cutting was used for the profile cutting of around 200 truss pipes, significantly reducing the number of hours required to complete the work.

“Not only did we deliver a solution that was specifically designed for the client, their industry and the environment, but we saved weeks of time and labour by using a CNC plasma machine. The benefits of this flowed directly to the client,” Nathan explained.

The company now has the capability and capacity to use this technique for pipe profile cutting in the future, increasing efficiencies and resulting in better quality deliverables going forward.

“Fundamentally, we’re focused on delivering the best quality solution, safely and efficiently. This is what we’re known for,” Nathan said. “Regardless of the complexity of the project we have the tools, experience and people to solve even the most challenging of projects, and we’re always learning, coming away with new and improved ways to complete the next job. The Dampier project is a good example of this.”

A fully integrated capability for upgrade and maintenance activities

AusGroup has built a strong reputation for its integrated capability which delivers a comprehensive solution for construction and fabrication projects across a range of industries and includes the maintenance and upgrade of critical assets.

AusGroup’s client benefited from this multidisciplinary approach which led to effective and efficient project execution, by minimising and managing the risks associated with the large-scale project which involved essential assets and plant.

The project was achieved:

  • seamlessly, with de-risked logistics, project management and delivery / execution;
  • flexibly, with certain parts of a project being tailored and adjustments made with minimal disruption to the overall project plan; and
  • efficiently, using a “no surprises” approach to all aspects of an engagement.

Importantly, it is an approach that focuses on client service which in this case delivered a highest quality result safely notwithstanding the challenges encountered along the way.