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Sophisticated scaffolding – thinking outside the square

McMahon Services are no strangers to a challenge, so when Viterra contacted them to assist with a major problem, it was apparent they were up for an exciting project to devise innovative solutions, and execute to the highest standard.

Viterra had accidentally overfilled a 200m long shed with Soyameal which inadvertently became moisture affected, causing the product to set hard onto the supporting trusses. When the Soyameal was removed, much of the framework of the shed buckled.

The project involved the replacement of the shed’s truss members which support the in-load conveyor. A solution which was originally proposed involved a permanent propping system, which required a significant amount of steel, as well as labour and waste costs to assemble and disassemble the propping system.

Thus, it was determined that a sophisticated technique would need to be designed and developed, sending the Engineering and Scaffolding team into new territory.

“We realised quite quickly that we would require a new and flexible scaffolding system, and we needed to extend ourselves into developing it within a reasonable budget and on time,” said Graduate Engineer, Tyler Rosenzweig.

Viterra and McMahon Services worked closely together, mindful that this project required engineering on site with an uneven floor. This highlighted both manufacturing and safety concerns as well the need to develop a system which would work effectively and efficiently. Assessment was made of the building safety and how to remove the bent trusses as the shed would need propping for the damaged sections to be replaced.

The project team devised a moveable 30-tonne scaffolding system that would caterpillar along on wheels, meaning that it wouldn’t need to be deconstructed after each section was complete, saving time and money for the client.

The concept of moveable rather than fixed scaffolding was a whole new capability for McMahon Services and has escalated the potential that they now know they are able to design and implement.

“The next stage was to shore up the shed to prevent the same thing happening again,” said Tyler.

Tension rods were removed and the building was structurally reinforced from the inside. A large concrete slab was poured to extend the plinths and external bracing to the walls and roof were built to give Viterra confidence in filling the shed in the future.

“In the course of the remediation, the capacity increased from 18,000 tonnes to 20,000 tonnes,” mentioned Tyler.

The project presented many challenges, all of which the team met with a can-do philosophy. Viterra needed to continue use of the shed commercially, and McMahon Services worked closely with them by working in two stages, allowing 100m of the workspace to be used in each phase – no easy feat given the amount of new infrastructure and moving deadlines that needed consideration.

McMahon Services sister company Ballestrin Construction Services were well equipped to provide and pour the massive amount of concrete needed under extremely tight deadlines, enhancing the benefit of inhouse collaboration.

The timely and excellent outcome resulted in in 1026 cubic metres of concrete, 1000 metres of steel welding, 1200 sq metres of painting, 52.5 tonnes of new steel and 20,000 man hours at completion.

Our innovation meant a 50% reduction of project cost and duration, whilst also providing a safer construction methodology by eliminating the requirement for working at heights for 90% of construction activities.

The project was multi-faceted and required a multi-disciplined team, highlighting a strong and effective collaboration between internal and external stakeholders.

“We have a wonderful relationship with Viterra and one which we look forward to continuing,” said Tyler, “and I believe our willingness to think outside the square and take calculated risks for our clients is really exciting.”

Tyler estimates that in not out-sourcing any of the project combined with their team of highly skilled people has shaved considerable time from the completion date and now McMahon Services have a scaffolding system ready to help future clients.

Bring on the next challenge!

Viterra Roofing Install

Viterra Roofing Install