In 2016 lion dairy & drinks (lion) announced a significant investment in its dairy site at Wetherill Park in New South Wales to build a milk based beverages manufacturing hub for the eastern seaboard. The existing manufacturing plant was originally constructed around 1985 and has had numerous extensions over the past 30 years, but a major overhaul was required to modernise the facility. The investment at Wetherill Park went towards processing and packaging upgrades and supporting logistics improvements.
McMahon Services’ New South Wales team led by State Manager Shaun Emery was engaged to engineer, procure and construction manage the new additions to the existing facility. Works included an extension to the South West portion of the existing facility for cool room housing packaging and palletising, additional building works for milk processing plants, a new packaging and warehouse upgrade, an additional 15m high 150,000L raw milk silo on the Western side of the facility adjacent to two existing milk silos, and numerous processing and services upgrades.
Several internal areas were refurbished to house the upgraded milk based beverage process plant, packaging equipment and storage of raw materials and finished goods.
Other works included demolition of existing structures, painting, signage, epoxy flooring, new stormwater and testing and commissioning of completed electrical and mechanical works. Mechanical equipment included pumps, chillers, cool rooms, fire services, heating, air conditioning and ventilation (HVAC).
Project Manager Mohammad Zreika said of the project, “It has been full-on since we’ve started. We’ve now delivered nearly $13 million in upgrade works, with each major element delivered as a ‘mini-project’. Significant recently completed projects include the cold room new build, the packaging room and site wide epoxy flooring works.”
One of the biggest challenges facing the project is working in a constrained site. The facility continued to operate as a dairy manufacturing site producing fresh milk and extended shelf life products 7-days a week, and it was imperative that construction works did not affect production.
“Producing fresh milk products requires a lot of truck movements to ship it to customers,” said Mohammad. “That provides a challenge to maintain hygiene walls between production and construction, yet we’ve met this requirement and maintained food standards at every step.
“We’ve also staggered our major crane works to occur outside the peak production periods of Sunday through to Wednesday. Lion is very appreciative that we have been able to achieve this considering the works we need to deliver in such a tight construction site.”
To date, the project has delivered 80,000m3 of earthworks, 150t of steel structures, 21,000m2 of epoxy flooring, 2,000m2 of roofing, 450m of stormwater piping, 13 bored piles, 900m3 of cast in place concrete and installed 17 precast concrete panels.
Shaun Emery noted that the project has achieved some exceptional safety outcomes. “We have completed 390 days Lost Time Injury Free over 75,000 workhours not including subcontractor hours. In that time Site Manager Mark Roberts has received four safety awards from Lion, while Site Supervisor Josh Smith has received two and Mohammad has picked up an award for his on-going support to the project team.”
Shaun said the project has been successful relationship for both Lion and McMahon Services. “We understand each other’s needs in terms of operational and construction requirements. We know how to keep out of the way of milk production and they understand how we plan and stage project delivery. They’ve been happy with how we’ve separated the two and still get the job done.
Shaun noted that a significant outcome has been Lion’s trust in McMahon Services to take on the responsibility for the project’s permit to work system. “McMahon Services issue a large number of permits on site on a daily basis to both company personnel and subcontractors, including permit to work, hot works, working at heights, excavation permits, and so forth. Lion trust and know that McMahon Services will adhere to all site conditions and demand safety from our contractors.
“We couldn’t ask for a better project and client to work collaboratively with. Now that we’ve proven that we can deliver on our commitments, Lion has requested that we operate as their managing contractor for all future capital works projects on site. A significant achievement all round.”