Conquering Construction

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-By John Boley

Construction Industries Australia Limited (CIA) is a Western Australia-based construction contractor capable of delivering unbeatable results across a wide variety of complex civil works including structural, mechanical, piping, detailed design and mine site facilities. Established three years ago, the company has quickly earned its place as a keen competitor in a fast-growing marketplace.

CIA’s team encompasses all the necessary skills including project and construction managers, field project managers, planning and procurement engineers, estimators, quantity surveyors, supervisors, safety managers and advisers, and QA/QC inspectors. By employing its own workforce, CIA is able to attract the highest quality staff and increase retention in a challenging labour market.

All employees (some 120 civils and another 100 working in the SMP division) are encouraged to take training courses as appropriate to enhance their individual skills as well as to improve the effectiveness of the workforce as a whole. Internal facilities for training are complemented by external courses. In this way the company empowers all employees at all levels to achieve the goal of the CIA motto: Working Together We Succeed.

The company’s guiding principles, within the framework of adherence to ISO 9001 and ISO 9002 standards, include maintaining the highest levels of professionalism, quality, and attention to both budget and on-time delivery in each and every project. Costing and purchasing are strictly controlled and reporting procedures are in place, while for sourcing, CIA maintains its own database of local, regional and international suppliers from which it can choose the optimum mix of service and price for each job.

CIA may be a young company but its team was already hugely experienced and hit the ground running, as seen in the results of its first civil project, a concentrator thickener at Cape Preston in the Pilbara. This was a $3.3 million contract which also earned CIA a letter of merit from the client in appreciation of a job completed under budget and a month ahead of deadline.

Safety is paramount and fundamental to CIA’s thinking in all of its operations. Throughout the company, all staff are coached in health and safety and environmental protection measures with the immediate aim of ensuring an accident-free workplace and minimal impact to the environment. Training and assessment of skills in the OH&S area are continuous and high-priority in order to equip all employees and contractors with the necessary knowledge and skills to support and look after each other.

CIA also has a design service for its clients, wherein the team can start from a concept and realise it as a working set of drawings. In looking at a client’s own designs, CIA’s experts are always prepared to offer suggestions for improvements that could save costs or time and add value without compromising the project’s quality.

Earlier this year, CIA set up a specialist SMP (structural, mechanical and piping) division, headed up by Paul McCallum, who has unrivalled experience in this sector. He is well aware of the growth in the region and its potential, but also the emerging competition, and he is confident CIA can stand tall.

“The major resources sector in Western Australia is of course booming with both mining and oil & gas infrastructure projects proceeding in unprecedented all-time record growth. While CIA is a relatively “˜new player on the block’, its team are anything but. In the past 12 months CIA has managed to recruit both a civil-earthworks crew and a concreting crew that can hold their own anywhere in the remote resource construction arena, as well as an SMP division that will continue to perform and carry out top projects well above their weight.”

Paul points to CIA’s already impressive track record. “We are indeed a top-class construction contractor and for instance over the last 14 months on the Sino project alone (at Cape Preston), CIA has completed more than $87 million worth of civil and structural, mechanical packages.”

Paul pays a compliment to the staff both in the SMP division and throughout the company: “A dedicated and experienced workforce is probably the most significant detail that any of the companies competing in the industry will have to address. CIA is a company that is emerging as a “˜young bull’ in this pack. It has the “˜old bull’ mentality and experience coupled with our “˜can do’ approach and vision. I can confidently say we have this workforce factor very much at the forefront of our agenda.”

Everything comes back to making sure you have the right staff, treat them well, ensure they are well trained and work safely, says CIA’s managing director Troy Millen. “Our company motto, ‘Working Together We Succeed‘, is realised through the way we interact with all our staff; respecting each other and treating our colleagues with dignity and respect. Our HSE division is a testament to our company and to our current success.

“The work is not about just one brain behind the organisation. My objective is getting my train of thought, my way of thinking and my skills set into the work areas on site and making sure that the worker has the complete backing from the company.

“Communication is a huge benefit to our team. Through effective communication we can successfully manage and give our fulltime support through training and first aid amenities, fatigue management and all relevant entitlements. This eliminates any unnecessary stress from the workforce and increases the safety ratio. It has got to be about the workers; it’s always about the workers and managing them within our company. All this adds to a safe work force and strengthens our policies and procedures to obtain safety “˜tick-offs’ and “˜sign-offs’. Our staff and clients’ safety is priority.”

Troy adds: “I have witnessed proven positive reinforcement within our company of a workforce that proudly says ‘I work for CIA, mate!'” He says the whole company philosophy, matching his own, can be summed up as “ensuring that after a hard day at work each staff member goes home, safely, to their families… and earns a dollar… which is important as well!”

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 1, 2020, 6:15 AM AEST