Infrastructure 2025 - Design and construction

Video transcript

Text: Victoria’s Big Build. EcologiQ Greener Infrastructure Conference 2022. Victoria State Government.

Professor Tim Flannery:

Now we've come to the very final session of this really interesting and amazing day I think, and this session is going to be devoted to delving into how clever design solutions and new construction approaches can tackle problems and opportunities in new and unique ways, driving innovation, carbon reduction, sustainability and the circular economy.

The panel will be moderated by Dr Scott Taylor who's the Director of Engineering and Innovation at Major Road Projects Victoria, and he will be joined by Chris Harper, the Alliance General Manager of the Shepparton line Upgrade, Coleman Rail; Ken Lunty, Technical Director and National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific; Raphael Touzel who is the Project Director CPB Construction and Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McDonald Dowell.

Welcome you all to the stage thank you.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thank you.

Thanks team for that introduction and I just want to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land we're meeting on today and their Elders past and present.

So I realised this session is called Infrastructure 2025 Design and Construction, but I actually reckon we should rename it to Infrastructure Now, because everything we're going to talk about is stuff that's happening on projects around Victoria and beyond in, you know, in our colleagues north of the border.

And I really hope that the discussion today really inspires a lot of you out there, and this isn't really geared towards sort of senior leaders in our business, but the examples that we'll go through today in the solutions that the panel have here can really be applied by anyone out in the project world, so we'll get straight into it I reckon.

So Trevor if I can begin with you, I understand that the Mordialloc Freeway, which we hear a lot about the noise walls for, is the greenest freeway in the world.

I don't know who made that claim but we'll hang on to it.

Can you tell us about some of the recycled material initiatives that you implemented on the project?

Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McConnell Dowell:

Yeah thanks Colin.

Thanks everyone for hanging around for us.

That claim was probably started by me and then it just grew legs.

I'm not sure, there isn't actually an official umpire that can determine what is the greenest freeway in the world, but I’ve got to say that the project team are extremely proud of what we achieved on Mordialloc and it's got the accolades from actually ISK and a few other official bodies as well, so it was a pleasure to work on the project.

I won't go through the entire list of materials that we used that were recycled I'll just take the top six.

The noise walls, which the project is well known for, it used recycled products from 30,000 houses, the annual use of 30,000 houses for recycled plastic, they were substituted for steel.

The asphalt, a major component of all freeways, we had 40% recycled product in that, which included 10% recycled crushed glass.

All of our concrete on the project, whether it's precast or cast in situ, we use a supplementary stimulus products to reduce the amount of Portland cement in that.

The non-structural concrete, we replaced the steel reinforcing mesh with e-Mesh made from recycled plastic.

All the stormwater that was behind back a curb, the reinforced concrete pipe was replaced by recycled plastic pipe.

And the nine kilometres of the freeway was actually built over swamp, so there were two layers of geo-fabric.

The geo-fabric was substituted with a recycled plastic product to do the same job.

All up the project reduced greenhouse gas emissions by 22,000 tonnes, and for my team they put it into something that I'd actually understand which was equivalent to driving a domestic car for 90 million kilometres, so it was a really good effort for the turn.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thanks Trevor.

Chris not to be outdone in the rail space, I understand the Shepparton rail line upgrades got a few initiatives around recycled materials, can you tell us about them?

Chris Harper, Alliance General Manager, Shepparton Line Upgrade, Coleman Rail:

Yes Scott, thank you for having me.

Probably the first recycled material that we started to use were Duratec sleepers, which is a recycled railway sleeper, it is 85% reclaimed from waste.

In the rail industry and I'm not sure if, I'm sure it's in the same as in other sectors, we have to work through with the asset owner and the asset maintainer to make sure that elements are going to be acceptable, and that’s quite a long and arduous process for a maintainable asset like a railway sleeper needs to be type approved, so to get something type approved is challenging, but Duratec recycled sleeper is approved for use in sidings and use for low speed applications on the mainline, so we're limited to how much of that we could use.

We ended up using 100 of those in our in their sidings that we're building at the Shepparton stabling.

The other product which we probably had a greater success in is using the re-ground PVC conduits produced by Vinidex, I see they're exhibiting here and then what a great product that was.

We had to go through a lot of explanation to the operator about why that product was equivalent and has the same strength, has the same design life, has the same durability as a normal 100% recycled PVC conduit.

Ultimately we got that across the line and we ended up installing 275,000 linear metres of that across the product, which was a fantastic win for the project and for sustainability, for recycling and also for Vinidex.

I see that now that that product is in the market across other rail operators, and of course in rail you have to convince the particular operator, we're dealing with V-Line, but then MTM or ARTC or or VicTrack a separate entities that need the same amount of convincing.

We can see that Vinidex are going back to improve the product further and see how they can increase the amount of recycled product in it and still get that approved for use, so it's been a really good win I think.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thanks Chris.

And make you keep this Slido comments coming through, there’s view on the screen in front of us here and we will get to them towards the end.

One of the Slido questions which I was going to ask you anyway Raph, and not far from me to create controversy or conflict between any of our projects, but I understand there's a bit of competition between the M80 project and the Mordialloc around how green, or you know, how much recycled content you've actually got in your project.

So maybe you can tell us about the M80 Ring Road Upgrade and what initiatives you undertook there.

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors:

Yeah thanks Scott, all healthy competition so it's all good.

So we were able to use recycled content in each one of our pavement layers.

It was initially started at tender, so I think it was in a couple of panels before, typical sort of thing where you've got to nominate the recycled content you're going to use on the project and then we're going to hold you to those commitments I think was the terminology, so there’s stuff that's been getting around for a while which those that are in the road building space would know the CTCRs, the class fours and the gravels, we really wanted to look at Type A material, one of the challenges is the specification around that material so we had, an intention I think is the other word of today, we had the intent to use it but we couldn't commit at that point in time.

Through one of our suppliers Downer, we propose to use reconophalt up at one of the intersections.

So reconophalt for those that don't know, it's got soft plastics and ink cartridge within the mix, and glass sands and things like, that so we proposed that for up at one of the local roads.

We also proposed to change the pavement design, which was a DoT specified pavement design which again you're not normally allowed to tinker too much with that, but we were able to propose changing the structural intermediate layer from a SS to an SI for simplistic form, because I don't want to say the wrong thing here, but the SS, Scotty, you pull me up if I say the wrong thing, but the SS uses a premium binder, it's a heavier duty layer than the SI which just has a standard binder in it.

But what the SI did enabled us to use reclaimed asphalt, so we proposed that at tender time as well, and then I guess the next part of it is what we propose at tender then what we follow through, and when you follow through and trying to follow that through before you get too far through the design.

So upon award, and once we engage further with the supply network, we were able to extend some of those initiatives.

So George was up here earlier about Repurpose It, you know, we took 400,000 tonne of spoil from the project, diverted from landfill, took it to Repurpose It, and we're able to mix it, re-blend it, and bring it back to site as cement treated crush rock, it's a Class 4, sands and the Type A material, which I spoke about, so that Type A material was a big win, we were able to get it pretty close to specification from its stockpile perspective, but then trials on site, post compaction results, turned out really good as well.

The reconophalt that I spoke about which we had proposed up on the intersection, we actually diverted our attention to bringing that on the freeway.

So we've got approval to change from SS to SI, but now we want to propose reconophalt SI which we had to prove it was a similar performance to the SS, so we'd done a similar thing with the SI, DoT we're comfortable with that and then we had to bring him around to replacing that SI with a reconophalt SI, which through the support of ecologiQ, Downer, DoT and MRPV, all with the intent of trying to get this up, we did get it up.

So reconophalt was used throughout the pavement and then the last, the icing on the cake as I call it was the Alexo[0:11:42] crumb for the open grade asphalt which had the crumb rubber in it.

So, yeah, all up every layer had recycled material in it, you know, some pretty great stats 35 million plastic bags went into the asphalt, 800,000 toner cartridges, 22 million glass bottles, 14,000 tonne of reclaimed asphalt so yeah.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And I think it's a fantastic outcome and I think you're really, you know, setting the benchmark now for no competition.

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors

No competition.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Ken I might bring you into the conversation.

So we've heard from the contractors around what they're doing in use of recycled material and their initiatives, but I understand at Arcadis you're taking that a step further and embedding sort of sustainability thinking into the design.

Can you tell us a bit more about what activities you're up to?

Ken Lunty, Technical Director & National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific:

Yeah thanks Scott.

I think first of all you asked, I'll get to answering that question, but you asked about the future of design and construction, and I think looking at these people here I'm quite privileged to be the only sustainability professional up here, which is quite good for me because it means that, you know, there's a lot of leadership coming from the top and I think that's a big change in the last five years.

So our roles as sustainability professionals have kind of changed in terms of being the instigator of change to being the facilitator of implementing and communicating sustainability in design.

So that's what we've been doing at Arcadis probably for the last 10 months.

I've been with Arcadis for a year and about the second month in I got approached by Justin Moss, the National Lead for pavement design, it's almost like the beginning of a bad joke a pavement engineer and a sustainability professional get together what comes out of it?

Well what we decided to do was, he asked me well how do we integrate sustainability into the design process, which is a really interesting question because it wasn't how do I make more sustainable pavements, it was how do I enable them to create a better design??

And very quickly we came up with the answer of putting carbon footprints on our design drawings.

I kind of suggested it and Justin said well yeah we can do that, and I thought really, like are there standards around this thing, you know, can you just put whatever you want on design drawings?

He said no, you just tell us how to do it and we'll do it.

So we approached one of the projects that we were working on, which was Sydney Gateway, and we're about IFC, so Issued for Construction design there, so it was right at the end of design, and we prototyped putting a lifecycle based carbon footprints onto the design drawings.

So the reason we did that, and the reason we could do that first of all was the collaboration with the team which was the contractors on the project as well as a Design Manager, and the Project Director, and we were able to prove the concept that we could actually put these little bars that said how much carbon was in each pavement design.

Out of that we were pretty happy with that, we put that in as an innovation, it was cost effective, it didn't cost that much money to do that analysis, put it on the drawings and show that each pavement design had a different impact and almost compare the pavement designs against each other.

So very quickly we thought, well how do we use this to develop our design?

And we moved into a tender project with Gamuda, one of the fellow sponsors here on Coffs Harbour Bypass, and we basically took the client’s concept design, benchmarked the carbon footprint on the pavement design, and challenged our designers to do better right?

So we came up with four alternative designs for the mainline of which one of the lower carbon footprint one nearly got through and then we got into the specification space and didn't get through, but then we looked at the shared user path, and we designed a shared user path that had an almost 80% carbon footprint reduction over its life compared to the concept design that we were given.

So we were awarded that project, and in the probably eight to ten months since we came up with the idea, we've done that on seven bids and projects, so we're really starting to integrate measurement of carbon into the design development process and challenging our engineers, who want to develop sustainable design, to do better from what they've been given.

So it's really exciting, and for me it's such a simple idea that's now kind of gained legs.

So we've got the bridge designers coming to us and saying how do we do it on bridges?

The drainage designers coming to us and saying how do we do it on drainage?

And we've got people from the UK, and the Netherlands, and the US saying how come no-one's ever done this before?

And it's amazing how a simple bit of communication and visibility about sustainability can make that evident.

I think Infrastructure Partnerships Australia came out last week and said every project over $100 million should have a carbon benchmark associated with those projects, provided by the procuring agency so that when we get to attend a situation we can be assessed with carbon alongside time, cost and quality.

We're already doing that in benchmarking ourselves in the tender situation, and I think it's something that we can be quite proud of, and something that we can work very closely with our contractors to do.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And I think you're right Ken, I remember when you first told me that story I remember reflecting on how simple it is the initiative, you know, and hopefully it is something that the industry can start to pick up in the coming years.

I'm going to sort of merge one of my questions with one of the Slido comments here, and Trevor and Chris maybe you can help me out with an answer for this one.

So it sounds as though partnering in that collaboration piece is actually quite important when you're looking at recycled materials and broader, you know circular economy and sustainability outcomes, maybe Chris can start with you, how did you go about getting you know buy-in with your teams and partners, and bearing in mind you're in an alliance so your partners are obviously other construction companies potentially as well, how do you go about sort of building that collaboration with those partners to achieve the outcome?

Chris Harper, Alliance General Manager, Shepparton Line Upgrade, Coleman Rail:

Well at Shepparton, Coleman is the constructor but we have a design partner, an RPV state government partner, and and V-Line on board, so the alliance is incentivised by the project owner to come up with sustainable and recycled solutions and that, you know, is obviously a key factor.

One of the, on the previous panel, I'm not sure what the lady's name was but she said well once it's incentivised then it's the works department that actually brings all of the ideas, and I think some of the great ideas has been the collaboration between our sustainability and environment team, and all of our delivery engineers, because they're all on the same page working towards these great solutions.

Probably where the challenges for the team are, is that in the case of the rail space the V-Line is not incentivised for the same outcome, the project is, and they amend before it, but they're maintainers and their operations people are sort of set away in a different department and they don't have the same, we don't have equivalent recycled specifications in the rail space so we're always trying to meet a specification that is designed for the virgin product, and that increases the challenge.

But the incentivisation is the key, and that's what really drives the team and when they're all working together the great things they achieve is amazing.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And Trevor to you, I mean you're on a DNC project so non-alliance, and in a road environment, so how did you find it all working with collaboration?

Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McConnell Dowell:

Yeah you're right Scott, it is poignant to mention it was a DNC, so it's probably not the go-to vehicle you choose if you want to drive innovation, but I landed on my feet with that project and that the customers delivery team were amazingly contemporary, they had an alliance background.

And the project decided that we were going to be in alliance by choice rather than by contract.

And the outcome of that was that good ideas, whether they came from the end-user, from the supply chain, our suppliers and subcontractors from MRPV or from the contractor just got amazing support.

The biggest hurdle of course was actually the old design life question, will this see the distance?

And from a corporate point of view, I was asked on a number of occasions what testing has been done, how can you demonstrate that we're not going to be back in 10 years’ time replacing all of this material at a massive cost when it's under traffic?

And thankfully there was enough support from the asset owner and the delivery agency and McConnell Dowell and Dak-Wal, to actually put up product warranties that actually could be tested and proved and accepted.

So I think I landed on my feet, it was just a great team that were supported by government policy and we got a great result.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thanks Trevor.

Again I might merge a Slido with one of my questions as well for this next one for for Ken and Raph.

So a lot of what we're talking about here relies on new technology and materials I guess, and the question I had is how do your projects go about understanding what opportunities are out there and then sort of trying to integrate them into your projects?

But I'm going to add a little bit to one of the Slido questions there from Poppy, that talked about how we get early engagement with suppliers, and, you know, obviously I think one of the risks that was brought up previously was that limited time in the tender phase to implement solutions, so Raph I’ll throw to you first, maybe we can merge that question into your answer.

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors:

Yeah, I guess firstly it's events such as this about sharing knowledge and visiting the displays and learning about what's out there.

There's other forums, I know MRPV do a quarterly catch up with all their contractors across their programs to share knowledge to see what everyone else is doing, so there's that.

You know, at CPB as part of our sustainability strategy, we've got what we call sustainable design where we make material, recycled materials, and innovation registers part of the design deliverables, so they're workshopped at the start of design rather than someone having a great idea just as design's been finished and having to deal with delays to the program or not taking up that idea, so I think that's really important coming to what Poppy's question was, it's ducked off the screen but it's about workshopping those ideas really early in the piece so that the client or the delivery partner they can have the conversations with the ultimate asset owner about what they're getting, you know, again earlier the better, pre-contract you might be able to amend the specification but post contract it gets harder the further you go through that design process.

And the other one is talking to the client ,they're looking after other projects, talking with your supply network, your subcontractors, again early in that procurement piece around extracting any innovations, any trials, what their recycling plans are and that sort of stuff to see what their ideas you can bring to your project and get the client involved in as well.

And they're obviously looking after multiple projects, they've got multiple suppliers, so it's about that knowledge share and collaboration really early to flesh those really good ideas out so that no idea is not left on the table.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And Ken, what about in the design space, is it a similar story as what Raph was speaking about or is there more to it?

Ken Lunty, Technical Director & National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific:

I think so, collaboration is definitely key collaborating with the contractors, collaborating with the construction teams, collaborating with with the clients and having that open and transparent relationship.

And II think if I was going to add to what Raph said, it's about looking at this over the long-term as well.

I think I've kind of been a sustainability consultant for close to 20 years and my mindsets really changed to, well from, I'm going to change everything through one project to think about the long-term, what's going to happen in the next 10 years, if I can make 10% of the change I want through one project and build on that on the next project and bring that knowledge across and share those ideas without thinking about competition and thinking more about continual improvement then that mindset has really kind of driven innovation.

So like I said, with Sydney Gateway we did a proof of concept which took, you know, which was very, very cost effective, then we took those ideas to a tender with another contractor but built on the ideas, and will take that idea and build on it again on the next project that we do.

So looking beyond the project, and looking at the program, or the company, or the changes you're going to see over the next 10-15-20 years, is really kind of key to kind of keep you, I guess mentally healthy, but also when you look back at the stuff that's changed, when I look back 15 years ago and see a room like this with the people that are here talking about the products that are here that's come through incremental change not overnight change, so that patience I think is really important and that mindset's really important.

So yeah, I mean even the carbon foot-printing idea, we've basically been sprouting that, and the methodology behind that, to anyone who'll listen because we want the industry to improve not hold that as a secret to Arcadis which isn't going to help anyone.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And I think we're a very impatient industry as well, and I know that's been a theme of other you know presenters around patience with a lot of this.

Trevor I'm going to dob you in for the next one because I've got personal experience with this as well with a question here from Alana talking about, you know, program is one of the biggest challenges with implementing these sort of initiatives, and we'll go to our famous noise wall discussion.

I remember coming down to the project office down there and talking to you and the project team about why don't we implement this, you know, why don't we install these plastic noise walls.

Can you talk about, did you have any sleepless nights and worry about lost program because we're introducing something new and different into your project after it had been awarded and new in delivery?

Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McConnell Dowell:

Scott there's a few people in the room who were actually standing on the pavement the day the freeway opened putting up the last noise wall panel.

The short answer is yes I lost a lot of sleep.

I think that was probably the biggest regret with the noise walls supplementing plastic for steel was we did it way too late, for a number of reasons.

One reason was we were replacing, we got all the way through to IFC, so we were trying to retrofit a plastic solution into a steel solution, so it wasn't the most and most efficient economic use of plastic, we didn't actually play to its strengths, and the manufacturing process is much slower so it did put the project under pressure all the way through.

Our supplier was brilliant, he took a fairly sleepy factory which worked five days a week and turned it into a seven day a week 24-hour day production line to make sure we were there.

And as I said, with the last panel arrived on the last day, and Adrian I see in the audience there actually helped me put it up.

But no, there are plenty of sleepless nights, but the lesson learned is to go early.

Get it into the original design and make the most of the product, and make it the most efficient it possibly can be.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And maybe developing on that theme of lessons learned Chris, with the implementation of your initiatives, in hindsight what have you learned from that, what would you have done differently?

Chris Harper, Alliance General Manager, Shepparton Line Upgrade, Coleman Rail:

Well I was going to agree with Trevor that starting really, really early is the key.

We probably didn't appreciate, like most teams, how much work goes into getting the approval across the line, of course that’s what you can think of at tender, but once you get to the starting line of the project really the key to make sure that you've got those innovations workshopped and being tracked from day one, because if we're trying to retrofit a design once we're part way down the track then, you know, obviously the benefits are starting to be dropping away, so we need to get onto it right from the start and there's elements within our project team that we did do that from the get-go and we delivered them, and others that we started down the track too late, good idea but we couldn't quite get there but we have got stage three hopefully coming up that we can pick up those and run with them.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And Raph, can I throw the same question to you because again if I go back to that friendly competition between you and the Mordie, I know you were looking at the panels, the noise walls but didn’t ever get them up, so that was obviously a program constrained I'm guessing.

Maybe you can talk about some lessons learned or things you’d do differently if you had more awareness of what was available.

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors:

Yeah, sounds like I saved myself some sleepless nights there which is good.

So as you said Scott, we tried to implement the plastic noise walls but we're already part way through the design, so we hadn't got to IFC but what we had done is, we'd pulled down the existing noise walls and put up temporary ones, and we needed to build the permanent noise walls before we could remove the temporary ones to build the work, so it became clear once we started looking at, you know, when you go through the change management piece obviously our specification had a concrete noise wall, that's what the asset owner thought they were going to get, there were conversations that needed to be had around changing that, further testing, maintenance and all that sort of stuff.

And we looked at where we sat in the design process and we made the decision that we wouldn't pursue it, and the key lesson there really is again identify, and it keeps coming back to it, identify as early as possible, preferably pre-contract so you can get it written into the specification and it makes everyone's lives a lot easier, but post award just get all those ideas, those good ideas on the table, whether it's through a combined workshop, but you want to bring everything forward so you can address it throughout that design process so as not to cause delays.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thanks Raph.

Hey Ken, there was there was a question on before, it's gone off the screen now and I'll reword it a little bit, but I'm interested to understand from a design perspective, but we got a good understanding and handle on this idea around a circular economy and the recyclability of recycled materials, and I think the specific question there was talking about e-Mesh in concrete, might not be your technical field so I appreciate that, but from a design perspective how familiar are we with these new products that are coming through and what their reusability is I suppose?

Ken Lunty, Technical Director & National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific:

Yeah, so I mean a lot of transparencies come into the material supplier space, they're all starting to produce environmental product declarations, or EPDs, which is basically a declaration of their environmental impact, and in that they outline which stages of their lifecycle they cover.

So there's a lot of information that's out there that's becoming a lot more transparent around what happens at end of life, or, you know, what's happened at the beginning of life for these products, and I think it's about keeping on top of it and looking at it and understanding what information there is there.

So for me as a sustainability professional, I think my role has become more about communicating information in a language that designers and contractors understand.

You talked about cars off the road, you know, like bulbs turned off or whatever it is, or dollars ideally, is the universal language in construction, but I think, you know, there's heaps of information out there.

I have to rely on my team but also the wider Arcadis business or my wider colleagues who are becoming more and more in tune to this information, I'm finding I have pavement engineers, or drainage engineers suggesting products to me and asking me for confirmation on how good it is, so I can actually go and do the further research or look into that more.

But yeah, I think we're entering this new age where you can't just hide information, you can't, you know, carbon is now a criteria that gives you a competitive advantage, you've got every state in Australia setting a net-zero target, lots of the leading corporations or businesses setting their own, whether they're contractors or designers, setting their own net-zero targets, and we have to meet them, and to meet them we have to really look at the stuff that we're using and putting into our designs in our construction.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thanks Ken.

In the last sort of 10 minutes or so we've got for this session, I'm keen to explore with the panel what the future holds, you know, we've talked a lot about the current projects but maybe Raph if I can start with you, where do you sort of see the industry going with recycled materials, and you know, when when will a claim like the greenest freeway be 100% recycled freeway, you know, what is the future?

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors:

Just reflecting on a couple of panels back, there was a conversation that went around, you know, with a lot of change with government policy, contractors, clients in the industry there's a lot of demand for recycled materials, so you know, with the work programs coming up it's easy to forecast what that demand will be.

You know, in the past when it was virgin materials you'd put that to the market, they’d figure out whether they're going to expand and buy new quarries and that sort of stuff, with the Recycled First Program, you know, the recyclers need to look at that demand and figure out where am I going to get all the inputs for that, the feed for that.

So it would be really good to look at the projects that are coming up and looking at the assets that are going to be decommissioned as part of that project and other projects to see what that feedstock actually looks like in the future, to add to the current stockpiles of supply, just to see whether there are issues and enable a little bit more planning.

I guess they’re recyclers, sometimes it's a matter of just seeing what turns up at the gate each day to figure out what they're going to have to mix up and send out the gate.

The other one is actually looking at the materials we're currently using that we shouldn't be.

We trialled a program through Plastics Oceans that came and looked at all the materials that we were using on site and, you know, it was too late in our project to make meaningful change but certainly encourage anyone starting up a project to introduce that, you know, pallets of things coming shrink wrapped 50 million times and that plastic, although being recycled, you know, there's other products that can be used to, you know, support those pallet, and if you get onto it early enough you can push that down into the supply network to create that change and put that into agreement.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:


Chris when are we going to get our one kilometre of 100% recycled rail do you think?

Chris Harper, Alliance General Manager, Shepparton Line Upgrade, Coleman Rail:

What year?

Well that's a good question Scott.

I think that we just need to keep building towards it, key is partnerships, particularly with the operator not just the contractor and the project owner, and really the development of appropriate specifications that will support it.

I'm not sure about that 100% rail recycled but I'm definitely working towards it.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

We can dream, we can dream.

Trevor what about you, where do you see the future going with the recycled materials and the circular economy?

Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McConnell Dowell:

Well when I look back say 10 years the thought of introducing recycled plastic into a noise wall could never have been contemplated at the stage that we did.

And if we can continue on that trajectory, I'm not quite sure what the future is going to hold, where we can go, but all I know is that the window and the doors are wide open to ideas.

I don't think we've kind of said enough up here today about the supply chain, they are really leading the front.

I'm having suppliers come to my door regularly saying have you heard of this, do you want to try this, you know, they are really, for me, the engine room of innovation.

I don't think we've given quite enough credit up here on this panel today, so I really couldn't say where we're heading, all I know is I'm proud to be part of it and the trajectory is fantastic.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And Ken, you’re our resident sustainability expert, hopefully you're going to be a bit more optimistic in terms of the year that we get our recycled kilometre of road or rail, where do you think the industry is heading?

Ken Lunty, Technical Director & National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific:

I think historically, if you look at it, government typically sets the regulation, and the policy, and the specifications, industry has to meet those specifications and then inevitably overtakes those specifications, starts to innovate, starts to cost effectively deliver things because those specifications become very, well either constrictive or easy to meet.

I think we're at that point now, especially in the last five years where our industry has overtaken the regulatory environment that's been set by government, so I feel like the next five years or the next 10 years we're going to see government raise the bar for industry to then start to innovate freely.

Again we've talked about performance specifications today quite a lot, I think, you know, probably wouldn't be alone here in terms of endorsing that and looking to see stuff like that, different ways of procuring infrastructure, we're starting to see carbon as a tender requirement in terms of a success criteria for joint ventures to tender against, we're starting to see prices on carbon, we're setting you know net-zero targets set by government agencies, so I feel like the future is going to be a bit of reform in terms of driving more sustainable outcomes and trying to bring a lot of this innovation that's already happened in industry and help accelerate it again in the right way to go forward you know.

I’d like to see carbon footprints having to be on every drawings right, because that's what our clients are asking for.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

And last question, I'll get the entire panel to respond to this, one minute response only because we're running out of time quickly.

So what's the, you know, from the various discussions throughout the whole of today, you know, with all the different presenters that we've had in all the different discussions in the Trade Hall displays, what's the one thing I think you'd pass back on to your projects, or the next generation of engineers coming up through delivering projects?

Raphael Touzel, Project Director, CPB Contractors:

It is that sustainability shouldn't have any we, similar to safety, you know, it's a shared planet so it's incumbent on us to improve it.

There's a danger that sustainability initiatives can be project, they live for the life of the project and then they're shelved and we try to come up with new things similar to safety, so we need to make sure that we build on each other's ideas through this knowledge sharing and take them until they become BAU, whether it's our idea, your idea, another industry's idea, in other countries we've got to keep building and just make it BAU, and that comes through collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Chris Harper, Alliance General Manager, Shepparton Line Upgrade, Coleman Rail:

I agree and, you know, innovation might have been seen as a competitive advantage but it's only good for the time that you had it, and knowledge sharing is 100% the key to growing the tidal wave of success.

But my key thing would be don't give up, don't take no for an answer and just keep persevering because you can get there, you just got to make sure you stop any blockers.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:


Trevor Cruden, Project Director, McConnell Dowell:

Yeah, look the message that I keep taking back to the business, and there's no surprise that the people that I report to are about my age and have come through a similar experience.

It's to continue to calibrate what is possible, changes in government policy will make it a lot easier for people like me who are very supportive and trying to actually undo the damage we did in the first half of their career in the second half of our career, so it's really important that those people, business leaders in construction companies and design houses stay contemporary and understand what is possible in this decade.

Ken Lunty, Technical Director & National Discipline Lead, Sustainability, Arcadis Australia Pacific:

Yeah I think for me, there was a person on the panel before this one he said you know it's a lot easier to say something can't be done than to basically find a way to do it right?

And I think what I take back is confidence from this whole day and yesterday, that there's a lot more that can be done than we previously assumed, and there's a lot more openness and commitment to these things from, I guess, the traditional kind of construction leading personality I suppose.

I think it's about bringing the ideas to the table and having the confidence that they will be heard now, you know, and I'd say, even five years ago I wouldn't have confidently been able to say that, but I think after today, you know, I can take that back to my company and say you can confidently talk to people outside of the sustainability industry and propose new ideas.

Dr Scott Taylor, Director Engineering and Innovation, Major Road Projects Victoria:

Thank you panel, and I think seeing very clear message there around making sure we're challenging and innovating and, you know, looking for new opportunities.

So please join me thinking Ken, Trevor, Chris and Raph thank you.

Text: Victoria’s Big Build. EcologiQ Greener Infrastructure Conference 2022. Victoria State Government.

Thank you.

Well what a fabulous panel to end on that was amazing, inspirational and gives me great hope I must say.

Text: Victoria’s Big Build. EcologiQ Greener Infrastructure Conference 2022. Victoria State Government

Victoria State Government.

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