Assurance from a Truly Global Organisation


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From humble beginnings in a Sydney-based home office to a massive global company employing over 4,000 staff in over 80 countries, Coffey International Limited has come a very long way over the past five decades.

Operating in countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Asia Pacific, Coffey delivers professional consultancy services focusing on both physical and social infrastructure on a global scale. Listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX:COF) and part of the S&P/ASX 300, Coffey works with its many clients across the full life cycle of a project, all the way from the initial planning stages to completion.

Coffey prides itself on making the world a better place by enabling government and aid agencies to strengthen local communities, and improving quality of life in a broad range of areas, such as social infrastructure, economic development, education, training, and health.

Home Business to Global Organisation

Back in 1959, the company founded by David Coffey began as a specialist geotechnical practice, which Mr Coffey ran from his home in Sydney. Growth was rapid, and within the first decade, the firm opened a succession of offices in Brisbane, Melbourne, Canberra, and Newcastle. Over the coming years, the company grew and in 1990, the organisation, with a staff of 150, became Coffey International Limited. In that same year, Coffey became one of the first publicly listed Australian engineering consulting companies. Soon, the company began rapid growth through acquisition, acquiring other companies such as SAGRIC International, expanded into countries like Brazil, and added Commercial Advisory and Rail expertise.

From 2003 to 2008, Coffey greatly diversified the services it provided, its business strategies, and the areas of the globe it served. In just a few years, Coffey acquired more than 30 companies, and today generates revenues in excess of $769 million.

Winning Team

“As a whole, Coffey offers multi-specialist consultancy services,” says Matt Morley, Global Business Development Manager, Information. “We have eight specialist service lines including Commercial Advisory, Environments, Geotechnics, Information, International Development, Mining, Projects, and Rail. Together all service lines work through the full life cycle of projects with our clients across feasibility, planning, approvals, funding, design, implementation, project management, maintenance and retirement of assets for projects.”

Mr Morley, Global Business Development Manager for Coffey Information, started with the company some 11 years ago as a technician working in a small materials laboratory on the Sunshine Coast. With the training and support of his employer, he completed tertiary qualifications in engineering and science and soon rose to the position of lab manager. He subsequently took a position in a Melbourne-based Coffey office to grow Coffey testing services in Victoria and then returned to Queensland as the Northern Regional Manager, overseeing the operation of labs throughout Qld and northern NSW. Most recently, Mr Morley took on a commercial role as the Global Business Development Manager for Coffey Information and has been in this position for just over 12 months. It is sufficed to say that his career has grown “organically with the company,” much like Coffey’s company development.

Synergies exist between Coffey’s specialist service lines, providing great benefits to its clients. For instance, “Coffey Geotechnics can create a design, be it for a road, port or dam, and Coffey Information can then help to supervise its construction and compliance with that design,” says Mr Morley. “Coffey Information acts as the independent verifier, we confirm that what is being built is in accordance with the design and the specification.”

Often, the design is then provided to a Contractor to build, and Coffey Information is there to help on site. “We have the resources to rapidly establish a NATA accredited testing laboratory on site to ensure the materials used during construction comply with the design and construction specifications,” says Mr Morley, “essentially; our labs check all of the specification criteria of materials during construction.”

As a result of the company’s wide-ranging areas of specialist expertise and highly trained and experienced staff, Coffey is able to take on projects of virtually any size. The company is involved in a wide range of built assets, from roads to buildings, sporting facilities to mines, for Coffey Information. Mr Morley adds, “our client base is predominately earthmoving civil contractors and civil consultants”. In addition, the company works for various levels of government on projects like the building of public spaces for local councils and new barracks and troop accommodations for the Department of Defence.

“We always seek to align with companies that have a similar vision and philosophy to us,” says Mr Morley. “Choosing to work with companies that have a similar approach to safety and quality results in best outcomes for all parties.”

Quality and Assurance from NATA Accreditation

Coffey Information laboratories are all accredited by NATA, Australia’s National Association of Testing Authorities. As the authority responsible for the accreditation of laboratories, inspection bodies, calibration services, producers of certified reference materials and proficiency testing scheme providers throughout Australia, NATA provides independent assurance of technical competence through a proven network of best practice industry experts. Established in 1947, the not-for profit association remains the world’s first comprehensive laboratory accreditation body, and one of the largest. In Australia, the government uses NATA-accredited facilities wherever possible, with state and territory governments encouraged to do the same.

For Coffey Information and its many clients, NATA accreditation offers a tremendous advantage, explains Mr Morley. “For instance our clients often require NATA endorsed results for tests on construction materials being used on very remote project sites. Being a corporate accredited company with NATA means we can provide this accredited service to our clients virtually anywhere and at any time”.

“We have the ability to place a NATA accredited site laboratory onto the project, provide all tests and reporting independently from the site, with those results being NATA endorsed.” Mr Morley states. These testing facilities can be deployed, equipped and staffed on short notice, which greatly accelerates the time it takes to conduct tests and process the results. By having pre-NATA recognition, Coffey Information is able to service its clients’ needs and help to avoid delays at the start-up and undertaking of construction projects. “The alternative, to seek NATA accreditation from an off-site facility, can often be very time consuming and result in delays.”

Over the years, Coffey Information has refined its laboratory processes, improving designs and layouts and streamlining production methods. Often soil samples and other materials being tested require heavy lifting, which comes with an increased risk of injury. To reduce the risk of accidents, Coffey Information has implemented a number of ergonomic initiatives.

“All of our processes are designed to absolutely minimise risk around safety and injury, which of course is also very important to our clients,” comments Mr Morley. Over the course of a number of major projects such as the current Woomargama Bypass Highway Upgrade, the company has refined the process of material collection and testing. “These are now our standards for all future projects. There will be small refinements as we go, but we’re very happy with the level of service that we can now deliver to our clients,” says Mr Morley. “Everything is designed around making work safe for our staff, and the way we function and operate on site also enhances the safety of others outside of our company.”

Although Coffey has won countless awards over the years – such as Best Engineering Consulting Firm, and at the Project Management Achievement Awards – the company remains focused on benefiting communities around the world. For Coffey Information, Mr Morley highlights what this means for the market: “we ensure that assets are built properly, and built to last,” he explains. “You can spend the same amount of money to build something, but if it isn’t constructed in the most appropriate way and in accordance with the design, then that is a risk. In construction, the greatest benefit Coffey Information can provide to our clients is quality and assurance. That’s where we provide real value.”

Home Automation

Call it ‘domotics,’ and you are likely to receive a blank stare, but refer to it as ‘smart home’ or ‘home automation,’ and you will get a nod of acknowledgement. For the past few years, consumers have heard the word ‘smart’ attached to countless products and services, from food and drink to snacks like popcorn and mobile phones, which no one seems to refer to as a ‘cellphone’ anymore. Yet what, exactly, constitutes ‘smart’?

June 2, 2020, 2:12 PM AEST