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.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
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
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
COMMENCEMENT: July 2014
COMPLETION: Nov/Dec 2016