I commenced contracting in 1973 and have witnessed significant advancement in all aspects of the industry. In my first job as a Cadet Engineer with Queensland Railway, I was required to do considerable survey work, so this is an area where the present technology is of particular interest being light years from the rudimentary equipment available then.
My first contract was a carpark at Moorooka for Australia Post and the equipment was a Falcon station wagon, wheel-barrow and square – mouth shovel, not dissimilar to the fleet of present day Tier 1 contractors. I hired relevant equipment and intended to continue that process. However, I was obliged to re-evaluate that method over time and purchased machinery to the present level of almost 300 major items of plant. As mentioned above, this is against the trend to the point that we are a rarity in owning almost all the equipment that presents on our contracts.
We have carried out work in almost every corner of Queensland, Western Australia, New South Wales, Northern Territory and the A.C.T.
Some of the important indicators in the industry are time, cost and safety and these are quantifiable. We have reason to be proud of figures in these areas, but the relevant role of quality is not so easily measured. We attach great importance to this factor and operate under the belief that the “perfect” job will be bettered next time around.
Earthworks can be complicated sometimes due to uncertainty about the nature of the material and the numerous ways in which that material can be handled. However, it remains a simple discipline as evidenced by the number of sand pits in pre-schools. An appreciation of the need for an effective combination of the principle and practice is a desired trait in all our staff. Thus, the magnitude of the task presented by a restrictive schedule may be met with a question “yes, but where do we put the excavator for the first load?”
It would be no surprise that after a lifetime in the industry, at some point I realised that it, i.e. our survival and process, was about people, particularly our people but also those employed by our clients. In the care of the latter we endeavour to afford total respect to their position. It has been exciting for many years to see our staff try, sometimes stumble but rarely fail to achieve outcomes which I, as an individual, could only dream about.