Fulton Hogan Australia has a contract to install National Broadband Network (NBN) infrastructure in South Australia. More than 300,000 homes have been connected to the NBN in South Australia and there are more than 150,000 left to be connected during the next 18 months.
The NBN Co. controls the costs of its rollout by requiring major contractors - ‘Delivery Partners’ – to re-bid for the installation contracts every 12 months. This means Delivery Partners such as Fulton Hogan have to operate with high levels of efficiency, quality and productivity. Their productivity is, to some degree, reliant on their suppliers.
Fulton Hogan Program Manager for the NBN South Australia, Seth Quill, says the engineering and construction company has a large contract with NBN Co. in South Australia, and the contract is underpinned by partners such as Coates Hire.
“Coates Hire is an integral part of our NBN program,” says Quill. “We use a lot of Coates Hire plant, particularly excavators, compressors and vacuum excavators that suck earth from the ground. We also use a lot of Coates Hire tools.”
Quill says Fulton Hogan employs a work force of 700 on the NBN in South Australia, as well as around 44 Coates Hire excavators of different sizes and a fleet of Coates Hire tip-trucks and flatbeds. The company is also a heavy user of Coates Hire generators and compressors.
Coates Hire Business Development Manager, Anthony Sparrow, says the Fulton Hogan-NBN supply contract entails almost 50 tip-trucks, ranging in size from to 2 to 5 tonnes. Coates Hire has also committed 14 vacuum excavators, 30 mini-excavators, 11 generators and 7 compressors. The vacuum excavators and mini-excavators are trailered, so they are towed behind the tip-trucks to the work sites.
“The contract required significant capital expenditure to initiate,” says Sparrow. “It’s a lot of equipment and it’s one of the advantages of Coates Hire that we can supply so many trucks and excavators to service one customer.”
Sparrow says Coates Hire’s servicing and engineering also ensures the equipment is reliable, safe and efficient.
“We have two mechanics who travel to the Fulton Hogan depots every morning in their service vehicles and from there they do the equipment repairs and maintenance as required.”
He says the entire excavator fleet was re-engineered for the NBN job, to include safety features such as extra Perspex guard-shields and new tilt-alarms. The extra safety features were signed-off by the Coates Hire General Manager – Fleet, Peter Davis, and by the HSEQ National Manager from Fulton Hogan, Dale Betterman.
Anthony Sparrow says the safety re-engineering was conducted over the Christmas period and is an example of the way Coates Hire works with customers to ensure the hire fleets exceed safety requirements.
“Coates Hire and Fulton Hogan put Perspex guarding on the mini-excavators to make them safer if they tip over, and we installed prototype tilt-alarms on all the excavators to warn the operator if they were going ‘off-axis’. Coates Hire has the management systems to work with customers towards the best safety result.”
He says the Fulton Hogan-NBN project is resourced from the Coates Hire Albert Park Branch, and Coates Hire’s extensive branch network. The Coates Hire management and workshop capability is also a comfort-factor for big customers such as Fulton Hogan.
Seth Quill says Fulton Hogan needs an equipment supplier of Coates Hire’s size in order to carry-out the contract.
“Alongside the quality and reliability of their equipment, the most important thing is that they can grow with us. It doesn’t matter the size of our contract – they can support us.”