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Destruction of Australia's engineering and construction expertise

Discussion in 'Business, Investment and Economics' started by SirRumpole, Sep 25, 2019.

  1. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    What has happened to our engineering and construction expertise ?

    Paradise Dam in Bundaberg is suffering structural and design problems so bad that its capacity will have to be reduced.

    Can't we build things like this any more ?

    There must be implications for anyone investing in infrastructure.

    https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-09...dise-drought-bundaberg-north-burnett/11543600

    It could be a major scandal that needs a proper cleanout in the relevant industries.
     
  2. Gringotts Bank

    Gringotts Bank

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    Any major boom (like Aus real estate and construction) will attract corrupt elements. I doubt it's the engineers at fault. More like the builders and developers. Then there's cruddy Chinese steel.
     
  3. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    Pity the government doesn't have the guts to mandate Australian steel for all infrastructure projects.
     
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  4. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Your on the ball guys

    I buy steel on indent.
    Some of the material I’ve been offered
    Is not even close to Australian Standard.

    Trouble is Australia can not produce enough Steel for itself
     
    Smurf1976 likes this.
  5. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    You will also note that the capacity of the dam will be reduced to 42% of its initial capacity after damages in 2013, so not properly repaired in 6 years..6 years where we could have had a disaster if we had had a proper rain season
    Not only the quality but the time it takes for anything to be done in Australia is mind blowing, and usually matching costs
     
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  6. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Absolutely QF
     
  7. qldfrog

    qldfrog

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    I am tired sending gloomy posts, responding to ignorant fanatics butchering science on the global warming threads, and having to break nice positive posts with sheer realism
    Experiences in and of the real world is a heavy burden and i wish sometimes i was still young and naive optimistic.
    Last post for a little while until i can find some positive news
     
    Skate likes this.
  8. Knobby22

    Knobby22 Mmmmmm 2nd breakfast

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    So true.
    In my industry, electrical, pvc sheathed cabling used to be mainly made in Australia. The biggest factory was bought and closed down and now it comes from China. The quality is a lot poorer and you can no longer run long distances underground as the low resistance leads to the rcds tripping.
    So on any long run I have to specify XLPE insulation type.
    It's with lots of stuff.

    I am an engineer, as associate in my firm, we as a species are under threat from international forces buying all the consultancies and bringing in foreigners to undercut who have no idea of local conditions. It's getting hard for graduates to get a good job.
     
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  9. sptrawler

    sptrawler

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  10. sptrawler

    sptrawler

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    They had a recall on some imported TPS cable, from memory.

    https://www.accc.gov.au/update/infinity-cable-recall-act-now-before-its-too-late
     
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  11. SirRumpole

    SirRumpole

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    "
    On 14 September 2016, the Director of Infinity Cable Co Pty Ltd, Ms Lu Luo, pleaded guilty to breaching the Electricity (Consumer Safety) Act 2004 by selling non-compliant electrical cables imported from China.

    On 12 April 2017, the Supreme Court handed down a fine of $18,000 to Ms Luo, with an additional $15,000 in court costs.

    Due to the serious nature of the actions of the accused, substantial consumer detriment and significant cost to industry, NSW Fair Trading took this matter to the Supreme Court, which can impose higher penalties.

    Ms Luo, imported and supplied two types of non-compliant insulated electrical cables, (commonly known as TPS cable and orange round cable) typically used for household and commercial electrical wiring.

    Following both indicative and laboratory testing commissioned by Fair Trading, these cables were found to be non-compliant and initially became the subject of a mandatory recall in NSW in October 2013, at which time the company entered into voluntary administration.

    Where these cables have been installed in high-risk areas such as roof cavities, under floors or other concealed areas where excessive heat is present, the insulation sheath can break down. This can cause live wires to be exposed, resulting in a major risk of electric shock if disturbed.

    Prior to and since the compulsory recall was issued, Fair Trading has worked to warn and educate the public about the safety concerns of these cables, and consulted extensively with smaller NSW suppliers to identify and rectify work done using Infinity cables."

    https://www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au/news-and-updates/news/infinity-electrical-cable-safety-recall

    Isn't it time we stopped importing from a country well known for making substandard equipment that has the potential to risk lives ?
     
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  12. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    Trouble with all of this is that Australia has simply lost interest in doing technical things. It has become all about "enabling" others to do things and so on rather than doing them ourselves.

    There's also problems with things like steel. I know from first hand experience that even if you place a decent size order with a well known company, you've got be alert as to what actually turns up. Not too big a drama if you're working somewhere that can and does do materials testing and so on but a far bigger danger for the average small-medium builder who hasn't the time or resources to be doing that and just takes their word for it unless the deficiency is apparent through visual inspection.

    For energy though, well it's the middle of the night and in SA and Vic there's OCGT's running to keep the lights on. For those not familiar with technical jargon that's Open Cycle Gas Turbines, a low capital cost but high fuel consumption and operating cost means of generating power which suits backup and occasional use peaking application. For constant use there are more efficient ways of using gas for power, costs more to build but cheaper to run, whereas OCGT's are peaking and backup plant basically.

    To be running OCGT's at 6pm in Winter or during a heatwave in Summer is one thing, that's what they were built for, but to have them roaring away after midnight when the weather's mild and there's no natural disaster or anything like that is a pretty sure indication that things aren't in great shape.

    Same basic story in all technical fields really. All rather pared back, hollowed out and so on.

    Pragmatically though, it'll have to be fixed at some stage and that creates opportunities to invest in those who'll end up doing the work. :2twocents
     
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  13. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Again a very interesting observation.

    I deal with Civil Engineers every day.
    Working on a larger domestic project $ 80 k for the client
    I notice when pricing the project there is no specification
    Tendered allowing for piling to be founded below the 2 meters
    Of site fill. The specifications for a 2 meter pile wall show a pier
    Depth of 2 meters now I’m not an engineer but I know you have
    To pile into natural.

    I gave my client the pricing but informed him if successful we
    Would not build an incorrect spec.

    I didn’t hear from him for 2 mths.
    Recently a revised spec turned up from him
    Now 4 meter deep piles, pier diameter changed from 600 mm to 900
    Mm steel weight from 180 UB 22 to 200 UC 72 22 kg a meter to
    72 kg a meter.

    Price increase $42 k

    The engineering firm is local and the guy I dealt with was a pleasant
    Asian guy who made excuses about how we should know that piles
    Should be founded into Natural ground.

    Well we did
    But with no specification tendered for building it appears you overlooked it!

    I’m afraid it is already in epidemic proportions and while price rules
    In the cost of manufacturing to building it will get worse.
    We won’t do substandard work and will point it out loud and clearly.

    Most people see the $ fortunately he didn’t.
    Sadly I think it kills his budget for his build.
    So he may succumb to economic forces.
     
  14. Smurf1976

    Smurf1976

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    Had some plumbing work done at home yesterday, that being one of the few things I won’t do myself.

    Plumbing being a licenced trade, consequences if it goes wrong and floods the place, etc.

    Suffice to say that when getting quotes everyone assumed I wanted a cheap and nasty job done and I needed to make it very clear that I wanted everything as per the relevant Australian Standard as a minimum.

    That put the price up but it’s a neat, professional job.

    That everyone assumed they’d be quoting the cheapest and nastiest way of doing it presumably means that’s what’s mostly being done these days.
     
  15. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Smurf

    This is what we have found in our feedback of 1000's of Tenders and Domestic Pricing.
    Broadly Speaking

    $1000 - $10000 Price and Time Driven
    $10,000 - $30,000 Price and Time Driven.
    $30,000 - $50,000 Price and Capability Driven.
    $50,000 - $200,000 Price / Capability / Relationship and OHS Driven.
    $200,000- + Price / Capability /Relationship / OHS / and Time Driven.

    If you haven't developed a relationship with clients in the BLACK
    chances are your not in the race.
     
  16. Country Lad

    Country Lad Off into the sunset

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    That brings back memories tech, we discussed this many years ago. I can certainly reinforce tech’s comments.

    One part of my company’s business was the same as tech’s and our market segment was mainly scope of work bigger than those operating out of a ute but smaller than was attractive to the large civil construction companies. Our main work was in the range of tech’s last 2 categories and as a result of excellent relationship with the specifiers, Councils and builders we had a very good level if business.

    There were many occasions where we would quote to householders and particularly for expensive jobs (to them), around the $50,000 to $100,000 where specifiers were not involved, the back-yarders would do it for even less than half our quote.

    But it rains in Nth Qld and we could pick which walls would collapse and for what reason. Then the specifiers or Council get involved and those remediation or rebuild projects became very lucrative for us.

    Probably no different to any other business – get to know your clients, develop a good rapport and prove you deliver. Less and less emphasis on this these days, too much concentration on cost.
     
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  17. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Yes we did.
    Pity we havent had another catch up!
     
  18. Johny5

    Johny5

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    I had a guy quoting a bathroom renovation, apart from every forth word being an expletive, he must have said at least ten times "I will be $%#@*&^ cheaper than anyone else". He wouldn't listen to what we wanted at all e.g. we want a frameless shower screen, his response "Oh they are %&#^ too $%#@*&^ expensive, I will put in a shower over the $%#@*&^ bath, you will $%#@*&^ thank me, they are &*#$ hot". We told him we are planning on staying here for at least 10 years, we want something of good quality that will last. He wasn't having a bar of it cheap cheap cheap $%#@*&^ cheap. We put up with 20 minutes of this then politely showed him the door.
     
  19. Jack Aubrey

    Jack Aubrey Very inexperienced trader

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    Tradies serving the domestic home market are competing with IKEA and Bunnings for things like kitchens and built-in cupboards so that's setting the benchmark price-wise. Developers, especially for high-rises and estates, also put a lot of price pressure on trades and encourage the race for the bottom. The better tradies I know do try to sus out the client before doing a quote.
     
  20. tech/a

    tech/a No Ordinary Duck

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    Qualifying Clients is an absolute must.
    For the contractor and the client.
    No point in talking Phone numbers if your after
    a budget project.

    You may not be suited to the contractor and the Client
    may not suit the tradie.

    People want Value in a price range that they can either
    afford or a budget that they have Allowed.

    Its up to you to fill that need.

    First you have to define it ---Rolls Royce?
    Sure you can have it and no it doesn't have to be at current retail.
    If its great value and you can afford it and that's what you want.
    Done Deal.
    Once your client can see this he will only need to chose the color.

    If its a commercial client its about BUDGET.
    Something has been specified--the playing field is level.
    If you've passed the capability filter then you need to be in the BUDGET.
    If your over the budget your out of the game (They have had Quantity Surveyors
    determine their budgets).

    If your under then you make them either look good! (They want the contract just
    like you do).
    Or if they've won it--you make them more profit. This is very common.
    You shift some of the profit from you to them. We then shift it from OUR suppliers
    back to us if they want our business on THAT contract.

    There is nothing more interesting than the challenge of business!
     
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