Dux Hot Water, Moss Vale NSW

Some owners and tenants of new high-bay warehouses are concerned to find that the pristine appearance of floor surfaces can soon become blemished by vehicles leaving black marks that are resistant to cleaning. Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, explains this commonly misunderstood problem and prescribes the solution.

Dux Hot Water, Moss Vale NSW

The floor surface of a new warehouse is pristine but can soon become marred in appearance by vehicle traffic leaving ‘nasty’ black marks.

There can be misunderstandings among trade services and maintenance providers as to what causes the black marks to accumulate and persist on warehouse flooring, and thus misinformation exists as to the appropriate remedy. The curing compound used for greater efficiency and precision in the concreting process, often blamed for the problem, is just one of several necessarily contributive factors for which there is a simple solution according to Grant Roe, Managing Director, Costin Roe Consulting, one of the world’s leading engineering firms in high-bay warehouse design from both civil and structural engineering perspectives, and winners of the ACSE NSW Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering for work including the high-tech concrete pavement at Veolia complexes in Woodlawn and Banksmeadow.

Spectrographic analysis contradicts the subjective opinion

Contrary to the weight of subjective opinion about the role of curing compound in causing floors to become marked, spectrographic analysis of floor-scrapings confirmed the absence of curing compound in the black substance, which was found to consist of carbon-black (from burning) and rubber. Grant explained, in simple terms, the physical actions at work to produce the empirical evidence.

“New warehouse flooring offers less friction for tyres to get traction. When the reduced friction causes loss of traction, the tyre spins, and the rubber can heat to the point of burning. Whether or not any curing compound or other residue is burned during spinning and heating, the black marks are left on the floor by the black rubber tyres. White tyres have been tested as an alternative but the white rubber was found to be not as durable. Since black tyres last longer, and are better for heat absorption, changing to white tyres just to achieve an aesthetic result would not make sense commercially. For some warehouse operators, the appearance of concrete flooring is immaterial and black marks are accepted as an inherent by-product of vehicles being used for materials handling. At other warehouse sites, however, aesthetics will matter as much as performance, without any compromise to the performance being tolerated for the sake of aesthetics. This is where engineers can identify the cause of problems more accurately and objectively, and prescribe the most practical and efficient means of achieving the desired result,” Grant said.

Floor densification treatment the answer for increasing friction

“I have previously commented on industrial flooring impregnation as unnecessary for most monolithic concrete floors that are properly constructed, citing as examples some of the world’s most efficient automated warehouses with high-performance floors that have not been treated with any impregnation products. However, products that increase floor surface density also have the effect of increasing friction. Increased friction means better traction for tyres, and therefore less wheel-spinning, and ultimately less likelihood of the floor surface being affected by black marks,” said Grant. “The simple application of a floor densification treatment can preserve the aesthetic result, where clean appearance is necessary, without losing the benefits delivered by use of a curing compound.”


For civil and structural engineering firm Costin Roe Consulting, winning the 2016 ACSE NSW structural engineering excellence award in the category ‘Unusual Projects’ for work on the Veolia MBT facility at Woodlawn, near Goulburn, brings wider attention to the firm’s role in completing one of the world’s most remarkable eco-projects.

Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, managing director of Costin Roe Consulting [right], and Mark Wilson, B Eng (Civil) B Surv ME CPEng, director of Costin Roe Consulting [left], with ACSE NSW 2016 award and aerial view of the Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility site near Goulburn, NSW

Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, managing director of Costin Roe Consulting [right], and Mark Wilson, B Eng (Civil) B Surv ME CPEng, director of Costin Roe Consulting [left], with ACSE NSW 2016 award and aerial view of the Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility site near Goulburn, NSW

A ‘good news’ story for the people of NSW and generations to come, the Veolia MBT facility is transforming much of Sydney’s garbage into the on-site production of green energy, aquaculture, agriculture, and much more as intrinsic value is extracted from the municipal refuse which has caused a mounting problem for the Sydney region.

Few Sydneysiders would realise that each day more than 1,800 tonnes of Sydney’s household and commercial waste is trucked to Banksmeadow where it is compacted and containerised for the 250km rail leg to Tarago – preserving air quality and avoiding the increased costs and risks associated with excessive heavy vehicle transport on our highways. Yet, it was at this point of transition for the waste on its journey to Woodlawn where some of the most significant engineering challenges associated with the project would be encountered by Costin Roe Consulting.

Extreme pavement loads and continuous flow of acids

At the Banksmeadow transfer facility, garbage trucks from participating municipalities arrive fully loaded at 40 tonnes, exposing pavement areas to not just the movement of extreme load weights but also the flow of organic acids produced by putrescible waste. Where conventional concrete pavement and even jointless ‘combi’ flooring would have rapidly deteriorated, structural engineers from Costin Roe Consulting collaborated with concrete technicians to formulate an innovative approach to pavement construction which would maximise its durability in the aggressive Banksmeadow environment.

Innovation using by-product to improve concrete pavement durability

Using a waste by-product of silicon-related manufacturing, silica fume, as an additive to make the concrete more impervious to penetration by liquids and less prone to becoming odiferous, challenges associated with the workability of concrete containing silica fume were overcome to successfully complete construction of the pavement areas required for operational serviceability at Banksmeadow.

Achievement of structural precision despite challenges and constraints

Veolia Woodlawn aerial view 3

Aerial view of reception pit construction, Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility

Other structural engineering challenges associated with construction at the Veolia Banksmeadow site included the presence of a high water-table, the need to preserve an electrical easement which provides one of the main feeds to Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, and access restrictions imposed by rail sidings on two of the boundaries.

At the Veolia Woodlawn MBT site, structural engineering challenges for Costin Roe Consulting included the design and construction methodology of the reception pit at 13 metres deep, 27 metres long and 12.5 metres wide. Examples of achievement in structural precision included elements such as 24m lengths of pipe installed within a 2mm tolerance, structural beams installed at 25m above ground level within 2mm +- tolerance, and each welded joint being x-rayed and certified.

Leading engineering technology with BIM coordination

Renowned for exceptional capabilities in building information modelling (BIM) technology, Costin Roe Consulting successfully resolved numerous technical challenges inherent to the unique design and construction requirements and constraints at the Veolia sites to coordinate and document all works in BIM.

End result is a win for NSW and all project stakeholders

ACSE NSW award for 'Excellence in Structural Engineering' in the category 'Unusual Projects' 2016 won by Costin Roe Consulting for the Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility, announced in Sydney on Thursday 23 March 2017

ACSE NSW award for ‘Excellence in Structural Engineering’ in the category ‘Unusual Projects’ 2016 won by Costin Roe Consulting for the Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility, announced in Sydney on Thursday 23 March 2017

Today, the Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility produces and exports sufficient electricity to power more than 6,000 homes each year, provides more than 2.5 tonnes of sustainably-grown barramundi to the Canberra market, farms livestock for meat and wool, makes compost, and rehabilitates land which had been contaminated by open-cut mining – all from the mechanical and bio-technical processing of Sydney’s waste.

Costin Roe Consulting completed all civil and structural works for the Veolia Woodlawn and Banksmeadow sites. Civil works included earthwork levels/grading, stormwater drainage, external pavements, car park, modifications to the haulage road, and ponds road. Structural works included all building structures, crane beam, internal pavements, reception pit, push walls, and detailed coordination with services. Over the course of the project, six engineers and two draftsmen designed and documented the works. All structural documentation was completed in Revit.

The 2016 ACSE Award for Excellence in Structural Engineering (Unusual Projects) was presented to Grant Roe, BE(Hons) MEngSc MBA MIEAust CPEng NER, managing director of Costin Roe Consulting, at the ‘Awards for Excellence in Engineering’ event held in Sydney, Australia, on Thursday 23 March 2017.


PROJECT: Veolia Woodlawn MBT facility
CLIENT: Lipman Pty Ltd
SIZE: site 90,000m2 – structures approx. 17,000m2
VALUE: $100M development – $58M construction
COMPLETION: Nov/Dec 2016

Accent Apartments - Structural Analysis

Meeting the demand for expert deployment of BIM technology and more efficient project documentation control throughout the construction industry, Costin Roe Consulting now offers a professional BIM Coordination Service for the documentation of projects from design to completion and beyond.

“Costin Roe Consulting is traditionally at the forefront of engineering technology. We were among the first engineering firms in Australia to make the transition from CAD to the more sophisticated BIM environment. Since then our leadership in BIM has become well-established in the construction industry,” said Grant Roe, managing director of Costin Roe Consulting. “To extend the availability of this expertise more broadly, the establishment of a functional BIM coordination service was a logical step for the firm.”

What does BIM coordination mean?

Accent Apartments - Structural Analysis

Accent Apartments – Structural Analysis (BIM by Costin Roe Consulting)

BIM coordination by Costin Roe Consulting ensures that project documentation will be properly managed from start to finish. The service can be customised to suit individual project requirements. The stages and activities outlined below provide a typical example of BIM coordination workflow:

  • BIM Project Brief: Prior to commencement of the documentation process, a BIM Project Brief meeting will take place between disciplines/consultants and builders/clients. The meeting is to establish the scheduling, naming conventions, model co-ordinates, file transfer methods, BIM version to be used, and to identify which work-sets we can utilise during project documentation. A clear project brief ensures coordination runs smoothly by confirming that each discipline knows what their role and responsibility on the project is, and how best to achieve satisfaction for the client.
  • Client Needs: Client involvement at the BIM Project Brief meeting will allow determination of the level and extent of documentation required for the project to ensure that client needs are satisfied. This can include:
    • Clash Detection: This can be done through Navisworks to check various disciplines to ensure there are no issues once construction on-site begins. It also opens the dialogue between consultants to ensure client gets a fully integrated and co-ordinated model.
    • Scheduling: Creating smart schedules for quantities to help both client and stakeholder requests (eg: steel orders, concrete batch orders).
    • Accent Apartments - Structural Architectural Model

      Accent Apartments – Structural Architectural Model (BIM by Costin Roe Consulting)

      Development: Helping to shape the client’s BIM needs for the future by frequent discussions and ongoing support on any BIM project, so that future projects can run smoothly by utilising the BIM environment.
    • 4D: Moving toward ensuring the progression into the 4D BIM environment which allows us to move into Project Phasing and animation simulations to establish construction sequencing.
    • Milestones: Working closely with the builder’s design management team, the Costin Roe BIM department can ensure that nominated milestones are met, and thereby ensure builder/client requirements are being achieved.

The enduring benefits of BIM coordination

The proper BIM coordination of project documentation enables future use of project documentation data. Clients inherit the asset of the BIM database for their completed building. This database can be used for more efficient client facility management, and as a ‘live’ reference for any future expansion or modification of the facility as clients’ requirements arise.

Carnes Hill development (BIM by Costin Roe Consulting)

Carnes Hill development (BIM by Costin Roe Consulting)

BIM coordination by Costin Roe Consulting ensures harmonisation and proper coordination on the project, helping to grow relationships between all consultants working on the project, and maintaining best practice in the way BIM is being used.

“Members of Costin Roe’s BIM department have been taking part in Consult Australia’s discussions towards implementing a BIM mandate in Australia. We are involved with the Digital Built Environment Task Group to ensure the industry’s BIM needs are identified and met. As a by-product of this worthwhile industry role, we can also be certain that Costin Roe’s future trends are absolutely aligned with the evolving face of BIM,” Grant Roe said.

Costin Roe anticipates a bright future for BIM, both with project documentation excellence and industry growth. As the industry grows, the BIM environment will evolve, reflecting an increased demand for project documentation using BIM software. This anticipated demand from both the public and private sectors will require increased input from all parties. This is where Costin Roe’s expertise in BIM, now available as a functional BIM Coordination service, will strongly contribute.

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Take a virtual reality tour with Costin Roe Consulting BIM – click image to begin

BIM management by Costin Roe, consulting engineers Sydney

Conventional pavement construction relies on movement joints which can cause costly maintenance issues when used in heavy-duty industrial environments. Grant Roe discusses innovation in pavement construction and where seamless pavement is a good solution.

The joints in traditional ground-supported concrete flooring and pavements are designed to control cracking by allowing for movement. Horizontal movement is caused by concrete shrinkage and changes in temperature. Vertical and rotational forces are imposed by traversing traffic and load-weight. Joints can be costly to make and maintain, but if well-designed and constructed are effective at responding to movement and load whilst preventing unsightly cracking in most situations.

However, in heavy-duty industrial environments such as container storage facilities, under-awning dock areas, and high-bay automated warehouses, the relative inadequacy of movement joints in concrete pavement areas can cause severe problems for building owners and tenants. The reinforcement materials within the joints can be subjected to such great stress that they eventually fail, causing the pavement surface to become uneven, resulting in costly and disruptive maintenance.

Seamless, joint-free pavement construction

An innovative approach to industrial concrete pavement construction is the seamless, no-joints (“combi”) method which produces a more durable heavy-duty surface area. Offering longer-term utility to building owners and tenants than the traditional jointed pavement construction, the appearance of fine cracking is inherent to the combi design and should not unduly discourage its adoption when recommended for industrial construction projects, according to Grant Roe, managing director of Costin Roe Consulting, civil and structural engineers.

“Seamless floors are also well suited to high-bay automated warehousing designs where movement joints are generally precluded. For container storage areas it is absolutely a requirement that there are no joints in concrete pavements,” said Grant.

Cracking is inherent to seamless pavement construction

Superficial cracks in concrete floor areas are considered unsightly but are an inherent feature of seamless, flexible pavement constructions.

“The majority of warehouse construction projects do not involve large enough areas to make economic use of the heavy-duty flexible pavement option. However, there is a definite movement towards seamless concrete pavement construction for large external under-awning areas such as those designed for intensive heavy forklift activity. Conventional jointed pavements tend to suffer significant maintenance requirements where heavy forklift traffic has affected the joints.”

Seamless pavements can be designed using conventional reinforcement, or a combination of steel fibre and conventional reinforcement.

“The costs associated with seamless pavement construction are higher because the overall requirement for reinforcement is increased. There are savings compared to sawn and armoured joints, however construction joints are tied with heavy reinforcement, so it depends on the specifics of the project. The cost of seamless pavement construction is expected to stabilise as the method becomes more widely adopted. Even so, the cost of seamless pavement can be weighed against the anticipated savings on maintenance and avoidance of issues associated with conventional jointed pavement.”

Broader potential applications for seamless pavement

Costin Roe Consulting recently completed two separate external pavement projects of combi-seamless construction, both designed for heavy container use. “The results have been good,” said Grant Roe of these examples.

“We have also used seamless flooring internally at four industrial facilities, including one freezer area. These applications differed from typical warehousing requirements, and seamless flooring was well suited in each instance.”

Acceptance of inherent superficial cracking

“Whenever we have recommended the seamless pavement option for an industrial construction project, the cracking has been mostly as anticipated,” Grant said.

“What must be understood is that the fine cracks which become visible on areas of seamless pavement are an inherent feature of the design and construction, not a flaw. Once the aesthetic considerations are put into proper perspective, along with differences in cost, seamless pavement becomes acceptable as a good solution.”

“The end result is less maintenance for the facility owner and the tenant.”

BIM virtual reality

Using advanced BIM technology for all new development projects, Costin Roe Consulting can give clients and partners a look into the future of projects through ‘virtual reality’ simulations. Viewers can explore and experience constructions before they are built, simply by clicking a link. Take a test drive below.

Costin Roe Consulting has been using BIM technology for decades. More recent advancements in BIM have allowed the real-time generation of virtual reality simulations directly from engineering design data. Any changes to the BIM data, such as a specified revision of the design, are automatically reflected in the 3D simulation in real-time.

All aspects of the construction project – design, engineering, and collaboration with the client and other construction partners – are consolidated into one intelligent BIM model. All participants and stakeholders are referring to the same, most up-to-date project engineering specifications and 3D design renditions – greatly increasing the speed and efficiency of communication, and minimising the risk of errors caused by redundancy, misinterpretation, or misinformation.

Take a virtual reality tour with Costin Roe Consulting’s BIM

Here you can see some virtual reality examples of actual projects using Costin Roe Consulting’s BIM system just by clicking the images below. For best results, use the Google Chrome browser.

3D virtual reality BIM example 2

Example of Costin Roe Consulting’s BIM-generated virtual reality – CLICK IMAGE TO EXPLORE

Spacial concepts are notoriously difficult to convey in words and figures, and only a relatively small percentage of the population has the ‘visual’ imagination skills needed to ‘picture’ a scene with reasonable accuracy from a written or oral description. The traditional rendering of artist’s impressions is a very time-consuming process, and costly whenever minor changes in design or specifications would call for the rendered version to be updated as a separate exercise.

3D virtual reality BIM example 1

Another example of virtual reality by Costin Roe Consulting – CLICK IMAGE TO EXPLORE

The advantages of Costin Roe Consulting’s BIM-generated virtual reality simulations extend far beyond the major technical demands of the design and construction phase of a project.

The ability to ‘experience’ a building design off-the-plan can also assist with a plethora of detailed considerations such as the positioning of equipment including materials-handling automation, the planning of lighting, placement of signage, interior design of office fit-outs and reception areas, and even the promotion of properties to prospective buyers or tenants. With all information about the building and its components held perpetually in the BIM file, the budget forecasting and scheduling of future building maintenance requirements is made easier and much more reliable.

Your next project using BIM and immersive virtual reality with the Costin Roe Consulting ‘View 360’ IVR viewer

Would you like to know more about BIM and virtual reality? Give us a call – one of our Revit-trained engineers would be happy to show you some more virtual-reality examples and discuss how Costin Roe Consulting’s command of BIM could enhance your next industrial, commercial, or strata-residential development project.

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