Sydney’s $3 billion tunnel project requires an equipment supplier with a large fleet and deep experience.
The Project

NorthConnex is a 9km tunnel that links the M1 Pacific Motorway at Sydney’s north, with the west-east M2 Hills Motorway that takes traffic into the CBD or south to Melbourne. It is Australia’s longest and deepest road tunnel project and will take around 5,000 trucks per day off Pennant Hills Road that currently connects the M1 and M2.

The $3 billion project, which will form part of the Sydney orbital motorway network, is sponsored by Transurban and the M7 Westlink Partners, the Commonwealth and NSW Governments, and is being constructed by the Lendlease Bouygues Joint Venture (LLBJV). It is due to be completed in 2020.
The Situation

Although the finished twin-tunnel route is 9km, the construction actually includes some 21 kilometres of tunnelling, as well as associated infrastructure such as approaches, motorway control centre, road integration, signage, lighting and ventilation systems. The project has four major tunnelling sites as well as surface works including the Northern Ventilation Facility, Motorway Control Centre and Tunnel Support Facilities. The project also includes a spoil receiver site, Hornsby Quarry, and a dedicated concrete batching plant. The NSW Government estimates the project will create a total of 8,700 jobs and there are currently about 1,700 people on site daily. To deliver a project of this size, the LLBJV has required equipment that is reliable, safe, continually serviced and able to be replaced quickly if it fails.
The Solution

Coates Hire is supplying hire equipment across the project’s various construction phases including mechanical and electrical fit-out, tunnel excavation, civil works and also supplies to subcontractors.

Coates Hire supplies site offices, first aid stations, gas barbecues, showers, sewage tanks, fresh water systems and toilet blocks, lighting towers and a full range of elevated work platforms that includes telehandlers, knuckle booms, spider booms, straight booms, Trax booms and scissor lifts. Coates Hire is supplying excavators, rollers, plate compactors, props, hydraulic struts, pumping systems, traffic barriers, acoustic barriers, temporary fencing, trucks, 4x4 forklifts and air conditioning systems. The equipment supply includes a full range of drills, needle guns and saws, drive units, generators (up to 500 kva) and compressors (up to 1050 cfm).

Gus Grima, Coates Hire Major Projects Manager, says NorthConnex is currently Coates Hire’s second-largest contract, being slightly smaller than Sydney’s WestConnex. However, before the end of 2018 equipment-hire activity has increased significantly as the fit-out stages ramp up.

“This is the largest of what we call Major Projects,” says Grima. “We spent months in the planning phase with the customer and we have allocated significant resources to fulfilling the contract.”

He says the ability to commit a large, modern fleet to a major project is one of the factors that makes Coates Hire a natural fit with civil works. However it’s the unseen components of the Coates Hire offering that large construction consortiums need.

One of those benefits is an around-the-clock servicing capability and one of the largest transport-logistics operations in Australia. This capability means even if there’s an equipment failure, there are crews on hand to make repairs, or replacements can be brought in quickly.

“On these very large projects, the time and costs margins are thin and the pressure is on,” says Grima. “With Coates Hire, the customer doesn’t have to worry that plant is past its maintenance cycle or is non-compliant. We use modern, fully-serviced equipment and our service crews provide on-site maintenance and repairs if required. We also have a large transport system in place to make fast deliveries and shift gear from site to site.”

Grima says on large projects that use so many generators and compressors, having high-efficiency/low emission equipment is important to clients.

“If your generators and compressors use even ten percent less diesel than older models, it results in significant savings for customers.”

Another hidden benefit on large civil projects is Coates Hire’s systems: they include the MyCoatesHire portal, an online equipment management tool which allows the customer to manage their on-hire and off-hire needs, and costs. Coates Hire provides the customer with electronic price books and a swipe-on facility for equipment, allowing project managers to track real-time hire costs.

Coates Hire is also compliant with all major contractor and project protocols.

“We adhere to the 3DSS safety compliance system,” says Grima, of the protocol that governs NorthConnex. “All our people are inducted for tunnel construction, all of our equipment is tagged, tracked and compliant and we manage the documentation on digital platforms.

“Small delays can cost a lot of money and Coates Hire is one of many organisations contributing to a much needed project that will deliver a world’s-best transport system.”

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