However, the biggest contractor is not always best when it comes to pipe work, according to Garreth Higgins of Offaly Civil Engineering – a small but experienced contractor specialising in pipeline installation and associated infrastructure work.
“Unlike large contractors with massive overheads, smaller contractors can keep management staff to a minimum. Efficient streamlining of project delivery offers competitive solutions as a direct by-product of ultra-light overhead burdens,” Mr Higgins said.
With a strong mining infrastructure and heavy civil background in Australia’s North West, Offaly is forging a strong track record in the successful delivery of some major projects including current participation in Phase Two of the Ord Irrigation Expansion Project near Kununurra.
“We believe there is a need for a smaller sized contractor to offer cost effective one-stop shop solutions to clients who may have small to mid-sized project packages they want efficiently carried out,” Mr Higgins added.
Technological advances in pipe such as improvements in Polyvinyl chloride (PVC), Polyethylene (PE) and Ductile Iron Pipe (DICL) pipes have increased pipe strength, resistance to chemical attack and allowed greater ease of installation. However, it takes more than just the best materials to successfully install pipe work, according to Mr Higgins.
“Often contractors that specialise in trunk drainage and service reticulation don’t have the expertise to execute the scope of works included in, for example, the mechanical fit-out of associated pump station infrastructure,” he said.
“The mechanical fit-out of pump station components such as pumps, pipes and pedestals often involves components that require on-site fabrication or modification.
“Often in remote regions synonymous with mine site locations in the North West, it is not a viable option to send such “˜make-up’ pieces off site for fabrication. This process often involves large costs associated with logistics the flow on effects of program delay.”
In fluid reticulation infrastructure including the on-site fabrication of make-up spool pieces – mild and stainless steel – says Mr Higgins, a pipeline contractor should be a “˜one stop shop’ to efficiently complete the pump station fit-out and avoid delays.
“Working with pipe can be challenging,” Mr Higgins said. “Given the linear nature of service reticulation and pipeline infrastructure there is typically a limited number of work faces reasonable accessible at any one time. It’s important that a contractor can work with these challenges to minimise delays.”