Blogs

Land Development Engineers Forum 2019 a success! A big thank you to all the mighty people who made the LDEG 2019 forum a great success. The chair (me) welcomed everyone and performed a Waiata (Te ahora) to start day one. Camia Young of OHU (Office of Holistic Urbanism, Christchurch) got the day off to a great start with her presentation on community buildings. This got everyone thinking and lots of questions followed. Our MC Ché Hedges kept the presentations on time and did a grand job all the way through the day, Thanks Ché. QLDC provided most of the speakers for the day and they covered issued on Transport, 3 Waters and Special Housing Areas everyone delivered their presentations beautifully. Other topics covered were the Havelock North Water problems and green infrastructure. Great debate followed during panel discussions and this was the only session to go slightly overtime. This says a lot about how the delegates were ...
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A team of talented female engineers is leading the delivery of one of Queensland’s newest bridges – the new four-lane Underwood Road overpass, in Brisbane’s South. Led by Senior Project Engineer, Jessica England the team consists of Project Engineer, Lisa Carne and Site Engineer Luisa Piacere. Bridge design was carried out by two female designers from Jacobs – Natalee Davies and Megan Strong. The new bridge replaces the existing two-lane bridge and is being built in a live traffic environment with more than 150,000 vehicles per day passing through the work area. Bridge construction will involve installation of four spans of deck using 52 pre-cast concrete girders. Each individual girder weighs more than 65 tonnes. More than 600m3 of concrete will be required for the deck slab. The new bridge is being built to the north of the existing bridge and is expected to be completed in mid-2019. In 2017, England won the National Association of Women in Construction Award for Achievement in ...
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Zhaga is an open, global, lighting-industry alliance that is working to standardise LED lights and associated components, including LED modules and LED drivers. Their aim is to streamline the LED lighting supply chain and to simplify LED luminaire design and manufacturing. Ahead of his appearance at IPWEA’s Street Lighting and Smart Controls (SLSC) Conference in Sydney on 2–4 April, Zhaga Secretary Dee Denteneer discussed the consortium’s goals and how it can benefit the industry.  intouch: In your own words, what are the main goals of the Zhaga industry consortium? Denteneer: Broadly, to create interface specifications for components of LED luminaires and have these adopted as market standard. We do so both to reduce arbitrary variation and to provide for separation of concerns between different industries through interoperability. These goals are as old as the classical light bulb, and now ported to the era of LED. More specifically, to create a smart luminaire interface ...
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Crushed glass sand and recycled plastic strips have been used in a footpath construction project trialling environmentally sustainable materials. Lake Macquarie City Council crews poured the 'greencrete' along a 30m stretch of footpath on Steel Street in Redhead, with plans to monitor its performance and condition in the coming months. Manager Asset Management Helen Plummer said 50% of the fine aggregate used in greencrete was crushed glass sand, rather than natural sand. The mix also contained thin polypropylene strips made from 100% recycled plastic, which help reinforce the concrete and replace steel mesh traditionally used in concrete. “These Australian-made materials close the loop on recycling, providing a practical end use for glass and plastic collected from kerbside recycling bins,” Plummer says.  The council’s trial of crushed glass sand in civil works projects kicked off last June, with tonnes of the material used in underground drainage pits. Plummer says the Redhead ...
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The final 3km section of the Te Awa River Ride, built along the Waikato River north of Hamilton, saw a broad collaboration of stakeholders create a New Zealand first with the launch of the iconic Perry Bridge. The bridge’s 130-metre green arch is a truly recognisable landmark for anyone following the Waikato River northward out of Hamilton on New Zealand’s North Island. Now the country’s longest network arch bridge, its weaving design represents togetherness, unity, and strength, and was inspired by the region’s historical flax industry. The bridge allows the safe crossing of the river for those travelling along this section of the route, which begins north of Hamilton and ends in the town of Ngaruawahia. It was built for cyclists and pedestrians to traverse the region without having to use the busy Great South Road. The completion of this section in October 2017 ultimately cost $4.3 million and was highly commended at the 2018 IPWEA NZ Excellence Awards. It marked the end of construction ...
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The Central Desert regional council, based in Alice Springs, covers around 283,000 square kilometres, and is made up of nine unique communities. The council provides a range of services to residents, including aged care, local maintenance and safety patrols alongside power, water and sewage maintenance. To do this, the council relies on a fleet of 160 vehicles, which are often required to travel along dangerous unsealed roads for up to 1000km. The remoteness of the council means that mobile coverage isn’t stable. Concerned for driver safety, the Central Desert team turned to new technology to improve communication. The value of reliable communication Driving solo is risky, particularly on rural roads, because in the event of flat tyres or rollovers, it can take hours for emergency services to locate and attend to the vehicle. In drier seasons, drivers also have to contend with intense heat that can lead to equipment breakdowns. But with new vehicle tracking devices installed across ...
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At Fleet intouch we never cease to be amazed by the range of roles, challenges and experiences our fleet community has. This month we talk to Melisa Clarke, Fleet Administration Officer at East Arnhem Regional Council in the NT.  FI: How did you get started in fleet and plant, and what was your first job in the industry?  MC: My first exposure to fleet and its management was through my role as branch manager for an LPG company. We didn’t have a fleet department at that stage and each branch looked after their own tankers, trucks & light vehicles. My interest in fleet management was sparked then but it wasn’t until we started to travel around Australia that I scored my first role managing fleet, this was in Karumba in the gulf of Carpentaria QLD. This was a big eye opener with 111 fleet including road trains, with side tippers, graders, excavators, skid steers etc, the remoteness and the areas we worked in were very challenging along with the wet season when it came along. ...
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By Anonymous Fleet Manager As if we don’t have enough on our plate! Being a fleet manager at this point in time has additional challenges. With the looming shift in electric vehicle technology, we all are, or should be, struggling with the concept of when to jump and how far. With the pace of EV technology ramping up, governments and OEMs firming up positions and discussion going on all around us, the blow torch is being turned up on the good old fleet manager and his or her crystal ball, to be at the forefront and keep abreast of all the information to determine the correct course of action to take from both an economic and environmental position. EASY? And by the way, we want to be seen as progressive but at the same time not expose ourselves to the risks of an early adopter. Whose scratching their head with this dilemma? I'm sure many of us! One thing is for sure, this is where we will earn our money, as time for sitting on the fence is well over. Time to dig deep into our analytical ...
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The Senate select committee on Electric Vehicles has published its report making a range of recommendations relating to supporting the uptake of electric vehicles in Australia. Recommendations include: That the Australian Government develop a national EV strategy to facilitate and accelerate EV uptake and ensure Australia takes advantage of the opportunities, and manages the risks and challenges, of the transition to EVs. That the Australian Government consider establishing national EV targets for light passenger vehicles, light commercial vehicles and metropolitan buses. That the Australian Government coordinate with operators in the charging infrastructure industry to develop a comprehensive plan for the rollout of a national public charging network. That the Australian Government, in conjunction with industry stakeholders, fund apprenticeships and traineeships in the local EV and associated manufacturing sector. That the Australian Government coordinate federal, state ...
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By Lynne White, Chevin Creating better, safer drivers not only minimises the risk of accidents and injuries but also reduces costs too. Here's how you can create better drivers. Did you know that it is your drivers that are the primary cause of most accidents, not the vehicles that they are driving? Safety effects the entire business – vehicles, maintenance, operations, and of course your drivers, however, despite advancements in technology to improve vehicle safety, the number one cause of accidents is the driver. 90% of all reported accidents are due to driver errors such as fatigue, speeding or driver distractions. According to the Transport Accident Commission, taking your eyes off the roads for two seconds at 50 km/h is the equivalent of driving 27 metres blind. The AAA reports that more than 100 Australian drivers are killed on the roads every month with a similar number injured daily. This costs the economy almost $30m annually. Need more convincing? What’s clear is that ...
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IPWEA FLEET Manager's column

How do you know your fleet is well managed? Is your perception based on an absence of complaints or is it about hitting defined performance and budget targets? All of these are important, but one of the best ways is to assess your fleet against best practice is to benchmark. The IPWEA Third Party Fleet Management Health Check is a convenient and cost-effective way to get a check up on the current state of your arrangements compared to best practice (as defined in the Plant and Vehicle Management Manual and ISO55000 for asset management). Not only does a health check tell you where you currently stand, it identifies where you can improve. This process of review, identifying opportunities for improvement and implementing improvement is fundamental to proactive management. Another great way to understand how you’re travelling is to compare your fleet management arrangements with other fleets. Even at an informal level this can raise questions for consideration, provide confidence relating ...
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Do you speak fleet?

The importance of a common language in fleet management cannot be overstated. Do you have utes in your fleet, or utilities, or are they light commercial vehicles? Do you have out-front mowers or front-decks? The fact is, if we don’t speak the same language, we can’t communicate effectively. A common basis for communication is fundamental in all professions. So why not fleet management? Common terminology provides a consistent and codified way of expressing our business. Think about accountants and doctors – they have well-defined lexicons that enable precise and efficient communication. In a fleet context, we want to be able to benchmark between fleets, specify requirements, record data and analyse performance. This can only be achieved effectively if we use consistent terminology. Did you know IPWEA FLEET has a Fleet Asset Classification system? This is available from the fleet resources page on our website for all IPWEA FLEET subscribers. The classification system identifies assets ...
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By Caroline Falls Fleet Auto News has signed on again to be media partner for the increasingly popular fleet conference organised by IPWEA. We’re looking forward to all the stories we find at the conference and will share them with you over the coming months. The 2019 conference, to run in Brisbane from March 25 to March 27, will be IPWEA’s third annual dedicated fleet management conference, and organisers have planned for an increase on last year’s attendance of 160 and have expanded the space dedicated to exhibitors. “Our delegates have increased each year since our first conference and we’re expecting the same to happen this year,” said Rob Wilson, Manager IPWEA Fleet, adding, “We’ve increased our exhibition space this year and expect around 30 exhibitors in total.” This year the conference theme is 'Strategy, Resources, Performance'. “It’s a conference about improving the management of your fleet, whether that be a huge and diverse capital city fleet or a small regional contractor,” ...
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This article was first published in Fleet Auto News.  Caroline Falls can’t wait to meet the California-based Tom Johnson, the creator of the 100 Best Fleets in North America contest, and hear his stories.  He will be keynote speaker at the IPWEA 2019 Fleet Conference, the third such event organised by the Institute of Public Works Engineering Australasia. Caroline spoke to Tom as he anticipates his trip down under. Fleet Auto News :  It’s a little bit exciting for us that you — the creator of the 100 Best Fleets — will be addressing our conference. Are you excited? Why? Tom Johnson: One reason is that I’ve travelled to five different continents and I think the Australian people are some of the nicest people I’ve ever met. I’m also excited to be around people that are having personal and professional development; those are the kinds of people that I want to meet. And, also Caroline, I’m very excited about the program. It’s one of the best that I’ve seen in ...
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Every year, people around the world come together on March 8 to celebrate International Women's Day (IWD).  The theme of this year's IWD is #BalanceforBetter, and businesses and communities around the world – including IPWEA – are taking a stand to see gender-balanced boardrooms,  government, employees, wealth, sports coverage – the list goes on! Gender balance is essential for economies and communities to thrive. We asked the women of IPWEA why gender balance in the industry is important to them.  IPWEA Queensland President Seren McKenzie demonstrates the #BalanceforBetter pose for IWD 2019.  Rita Excel, IPWEA's Vice President and Executive Director of the Australian and New Zealand Driverless Vehicle initiative, says:  "This year the focus of International Women’s Day recognises that we have come a long way in understanding that different genders bring diverse views and opinions, to the board table, to the running of government and to how we solve problems," she says.  ...
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Know what to look out for when it comes to taking out life cover as a professional engineer. NobleOak explains the main reasons why insurance products can protect your family’s financial future in case the unexpected occurs.  It’s deeply entrenched in the mindset of engineers to look to reduce the risk in everything they create, but how well have they applied this same thinking to the potential risks in their personal lives by securing financial protection for themselves and their loved ones? Chronic medical conditions such as lung cancer, heart disease, dementia, stroke and obstructive pulmonary disease claim the lives of almost 60,000 1 Australians each year. Numerous other diseases and terminal illnesses have also caused the deaths of tens of thousands more and contributed towards hundreds of thousands of people suffering debilitating illnesses who are unable to work or earn a living. The breadth of life insurance products available to Australians offers peace of mind in knowing ...
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South of Hobart, Huon Valley has been at the centre of fires that have been burning in Tasmania since January, destroying homes and businesses.  Huon Valley Council General Manager Emilio Reale tells intouch that local government infrastructure has only suffered minor impacts and that the focus is now on the community's recovery.  "We have had minor impact with burnt/melted guide posts, loss of some signs and damage to some road shoulders – however, only a small number of roads were affected," he says. "Three significant businesses have been shut down: Tahune Air walk (approximately 100,000 visitors per year), the Ta Ann veneer plant (42 staff and 30 contractors) and the South Wood Mill (30 staff and indirect contractors, staff are still being paid).  "A number of council staff were affected and even evacuated, however they still came to work to assist the community. Many of them were on standby to drive equipment to assist in creating fire breaks when the calls came in. "There ...
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The City of Adelaide has constructed the country's first road made from 100% recycled materials, using reclaimed asphalt pavement from local streets and recycled vegetable oil from local suppliers.  Lord Mayor Sandy Verschoor said this demonstration, undertaken in partnership with Downer, aligns perfectly with Council’s ambitions to become a leading smart, green, liveable and creative city. “The project originates from a Motion on Notice brought to Council last year, which asked the administration to seek to maximise the amount of recycled material used within our roads,” Verschoor said.  “This is a great example of Council using innovative, methods to improve the work we do throughout the city. At around the same cost as the standard process, the recycled road is cost-effective and, as we’re recycling our own materials, it has a great benefit to the environment. “We will now closely monitor the road’s performance and durability. Based on the outcomes of this trial, I’m sure Councillors ...
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From July, Dunedin City Council will start converting 15,000 streetlights across the city to smart, remotely controlled LEDs. Anja McAlevey, the City’s Senior Transportation Planner, says that despite the need to navigate various stakeholder interests and a steep learning curve, the resulting project will be a win for both the community and the environment.   That's because Dunedin will soon become the first city in New Zealand to convert all its streetlights to 3000 Kelvin LEDs. The New Zealand Transport Agency typically recommends the cooler, whiter colour temperature of 4000 Kelvins for state highway lighting – but with highly engaged dark sky advocates and aspirations towards protecting the night sky, Dunedin has committed to using the warmer white lights. The decision was not made lightly. Colour temperature can be a highly contentious issue, with advocates in both the warmer and cooler camps staunchly defending their positions. McAlevey will discuss the council’s decision at ...
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What if you could snap your fingers and magically wake up every day with a smile on your face? You’d do it in a heartbeat, right? Thing is, this sorcery exists, and you don’t even need to snap your fingers – or recite any hocus pocus. As detailed in a recent issue of Harvard Public Health, there’s an inextricable link between your health and your mood; improve one and you improve the other. Thankfully, even the tiniest lifestyle changes – swapping out a key part of your bedding or adopting a new way to cook (or not cook, in some cases) your vegetables – can bring about these magical mood boosting benefits. So, if you want to wake up every day with a smile on your face, here’s where to start. Sleep seven hours The benefits of regular restful sleep cannot be overstated. Scoring a decent amount – according to the National Sleep Foundation, anywhere from seven to nine hours – can keep your brain sharp, your mood buoyant and your energy level sky high. What’s more, resting up will ...
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