A new underground diesel tank for Adelaide Airport required a safe working environment.

Adelaide Airport has been undergoing upgrades in the past two years to meet increasing aviation activity which saw a 50 per cent increase in passenger numbers between 2005 and 2018.

The upgrades include lengthening the runway and increasing the capacity of the terminals and associated infrastructure. It has also upgraded its emergency systems, including the power back-up for the airport.

The new generators require their own underground tanks, holding 55,000 litres of diesel, enough to power the airport operations through a high-voltage connection for at least three days without grid power. The diesel storage also needs a pumping system.

The electrical contractors needed to excavate a pit that was 3.5 metres deep, 17 metres long and 5.5 metres wide. Supporting works had to be constructed in the pit, so it had to be supported and dewatered for the duration of the construction.

Coates Hire’s Engineering and Technical team was mobilised for the job which had to be carried out to strict standards because of its role in civil aviation and its status as critical infrastructure.

Scott Stanley, Product Specialist - Pumps, Traffic, Shoring & Lift & Shift, says the Coates Hire team was engaged early.

“We’re experts in shoring and propping and the client needed a full scope of service on this project,” says Stanley. “We assisted the client in gathering geotechnical reports, we assessed the requirements and designed the solution with our engineers.”

Stanley says once the design had been accepted by the client’s engineering company, Coates Hire then supplied and installed the propping solution, which included modular components that were fabricated and “run-up” – or put together in a dry run – at the Coates Hire branch. Coates Hire also project-managed the excavation process.

The propping solution included a sheet-pile perimeter wall, held up with 11 hydraulic rams. To keep the pit dry, the team installed a well-point dewatering system, powered by pumps that drew water from the site at 30 litres per second, which was filtered and treated.

“The client was eager to team up with Coates Hire,” says Stanley. “Our experience was the main selling point, ensuring we educated the customer on the risks involved and how we could be adaptive to solve any unforeseen issues during install.”

Stanley says Coates Hire engineers are experienced in modelling excavation sites and mitigating risk.
“We collect and review information so clients can see what actually happens in projects similar to theirs,” says Stanley. “Seeing what can go wrong is as important as knowing the successful outcome.”

Along with the propping and dewatering, Coates Hire provided equipment and operators to complete the pre-auguring, bulk-out, spoil-removal, base-preparation, backfill and earth works. Coates Hire even consulted on the handling of asbestos pipes found in the ground during excavations.

Stanley says the Coates Hire team is expert at creating safe and environmentally responsible excavations, with the experience to adapt to any challenges that arise.

“Once you start digging, challenges always emerge. We can prepare the client and ensure they’re ready to adapt.”
 
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