The Piping Experts

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-By John Boley

Projects need pipework. That much is obvious. And that suits Jaydo Construction perfectly, because it is a rather unusual company that concentrates entirely on the supply and installation of piping of all sorts, for irrigation, drainage, sewerage – any kind of infrastructural piping – from its base in Victoria.

Jaydo boasts that it has teams of experienced engineers, foremen, supervisors, machine operators, pipe specialists, labourers and farmworkers, and a large plant fleet to “successfully deliver any drainage and water project, in Victoria or, with our mobile teams, throughout Australia.”

The company has three directors, Peter and Dirk de Haan and John Lander. Its formation dates back to 1968 when Jan de Haan, father of Dirk and Peter, started an excavation business, at that time specialising in draglines, especially the old 22RB draglines. In 1983, Jan Excavations aligned with another company, W Doll and Associates, and from there on the decision was taken to specialise in pipelines.

John Lander, who joined the company in 1995, told Australian Construction Focus that this specialisation was triggered to a large extent by demand. “Our first major project was the installation of 14km of stormwater drainage for the Alcoa site in Portland, which got us up and running in drainage.”

In 1989, Jan handed over the reins to Dirk and Peter, who were beginning to work with local authorities, councils and Melbourne Water. John explained that he joined the team when the company won a sizeable project in Minto. At that stage, he said, the firm had already amassed a considerable skill set, but the industry was starting to change and they knew there would be a need for greater engineering expertise.

“The degree of difficulty in the actual drainage field was more pronounced in some of the designs which we started seeing, led by Melbourne Water. That’s largely why I joined Jaydo, and that was for a project in Minto – a very large project at Parkers Road.” This was a main drain with an approximate value of $10 million over five stages. This galvanised the company. “We took a careful look and started cutting back on costs and focusing on quality. Quality was a major topic at that time – quality management was what everybody was talking about, completing projects on time at the right price, which is very much expected these days.” But back then, said John, delivering quality and on-time performance was quite novel.

“So we started honing our skills. As we did so, with the experience we had already gained in drainage, Jaydo started being identified as the market leader in the drainage field.” The company also specialised in larger diameter pipelines, main infrastructure works, “which is a skill in itself” and very good business. Melbourne Water was particularly appreciative of Jaydo’s performance and abilities.

Jaydo soon moved on to its first contract with Fulton Hogan – the Goulburn pipeline, a large water main project up in the Goldfields. “This was an alliance style project that Fulton Hogan had. We came in and assisted them.” Three years ago, the three-way alliance was able to land a $200 million contract over a five year period, starting a “whole new phase for us.” The Jaydo workforce grew from 30 to around 70 staff. John Lander believes the company’s strict focus on relationships paid dividends: “Even in hard contract style projects, focusing on relationships with the client is the long term way to gain and that’s how we won that contract, I would say.”

Among major projects completed is the Robinvale High Pressure Irrigation Project. This was a major capital works project awarded by Lower Murray Water to Akron to upgrade the Robinvale Irrigation District from a low-pressure channel/re-lift/pipe system to a fully integrated high-pressured pipe system. Some advantages of the project were water savings, high-pressure delivery to growers resulting in pumping efficiencies, delivery improvements, and operation and maintenance efficiencies. The project consisted of two main components; a reticulation system and the pump station.

Jaydo was awarded the $1.87 million contract to construct 21km of large diameter pipeline, followed by a further 29km. The company engaged in an in-depth with residents, property owners and farmers. In view of obvious impacts on the local community, including noise and loss of amenity during construction, communications with the farming community were essential. Forecasting became paramount as growers needed to be advised of shutdowns well in advance to ensure that irrigation was adequate or had been done prior to work in these areas. This was required to maintain water during summer periods, and to maintain supplies for essential crops throughout the project.

Farmers required these warnings or notifications that water would be turned off and for the duration of shutdowns to enable them to plan appropriately. Community advisors were caught off guard by the startlingly high quality of the Jaydo crews’ performance, as personnel ensured appropriate notifications were done well in advance. No complaints from residents were received regarding the project, while the team received strong cooperation from community members who had temporary access restrictions or who needed to have fences removed and temporarily placed to secure livestock. Council was extremely happy with all aspects of the works including the reinstatement, testing of the mains, and the overall project.

Another project that showcased Jaydo’s abilities was the Western Trunk Sewer – Werribee River, Hoppers Crossing, a $25.1 million job that won the company the 2010 Civil Contractor Federation Earth Award. The Werribee River Aqueduct is the critical section of the Western Trunk Sewer (WTS) that crosses the Werribee River. The existing section, first constructed in the 1960s, had reached the end of its design life and required replacement. The aqueduct project consisted of 190 metres of 4.5m diameter reinforced concrete pipe, with a 70m span over the Werribee River.

Specific project key elements included post-tensioned piers to support the aqueduct, construction of a combination casting bed and launch bay, segmentally casting and launching the aqueduct (including a HDPE liner cast into the structure), post-tensioned cast in-situ aqueduct segments, launching of these segments over the Werribee River, a combination concrete walkway and aqueduct protection system. The element of work to receive the greatest focus was the transition structures at each end of bridge, and staging of the transition from old to new as to avoid any potential for environmental spill.

The team began work even before completion of the detailed design of this aqueduct to ensure thorough project establishment for the construction works was in place, access requirements to all areas were considered, and works around existing heritage areas were considered.

The project used a management plan, which provided guidance. It identified stakeholders, their requirements, risks, issues, engagement methodology, consultation requirements, a means to inform of individual elements, monitoring requirements, and resources required for implementation of all these tasks. An independent stakeholder satisfaction survey scored this project 93 per cent.

A site environmental management plan was developed, taking account of the sensitive nature of works over and around the Werribee River. This provided clear guidelines for avoiding, reducing and managing environmental risks and achieving sustainability goals for the client during construction. To the client’s satisfaction no major incidents occurred during the project, including during the transition phase.

The team took a self-managed approach, which ensured the most appropriate person within the organisation was responsible for specific tasks. Quality audits by the client were regularly performed to ensure compliance and to help identify improvements wherever possible.

Empowering team members with responsibility beyond their normal roles encourages the team to consider design intent, construction timeframes, and client needs as they perform their tasks. This empowerment greatly assists in the delivery of positive project outcomes.

Steady growth has been a feature of Jaydo’s development, with the continuing focus on the customer and delivery. And while it is important to grow, it is also important to maintain the client relationship and continue to deliver with a work force that is motivated. “Many of our workers are long term employees and that relationship with employees is another aspect to help achieve quality in production. Without your employees you are basically nothing.”

There is no rocket science here. Jaydo does not design but it delivers. “With our motivated workforce are able to produce a high quantity of work at a high level of quality and that is through the skill-base of the workers directly on the ground. There are also the supervisors who supervise them and the management giving them the tools to actually to achieve the production, which we are renowned for, together with our expertise in laying larger diameter pipes.”

Virtually all of Jaydo’s work is buried and the intention is to keep it that way. A gauge of quality would be the number of road-works or burst mains, and of course major clients such as Melbourne Water require – and receive from Jaydo – an absolute minimum of disruption. This level of specialisation will be maintained, said John, and the company will not be tempted to diversify. There remains much work to be done, unfortunately perhaps in some respects (such as the major flooding earlier this year), and flood mitigation and prevention work will be considerable in the foreseeable future. Piping “will remain – 100 per cent – our core business.”

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’?

December 13, 2019, 4:26 PM AEDT