DDR Australia continues to increase its considerable presence in the Defence sector. One that commenced in the NT at a Royal Australian Navy base called Coonawarra.
In the beginning
Founded in 2017, the majority Aboriginal-owned DDR Australia has done incredibly well as a business in its first few years and this is in no small part a result of the successful delivery of projects to the Department of Defence.
DDR has worked hard to build relationships with both Defence and the Commonwealth – so much so that the business continues to be re-engaged for Defence projects, not only in the Northern Territory but also across Australia. So how did it all begin? One of DDR’s very first Defence projects was the structural remediation of both wharves at Darwin’s HMAS Coonawarra.
Snapshot of Coonawarra
Located two kilometres from the centre of Darwin, HMAS Coonawarra is a strategically critical Royal Australian Navy (RAN) base thanks to its position at the top of the country. Indeed, it can be considered the gateway to our northern neighbours. The base is home to 12 fleet units of the RAN and comprises two wharf structures.
DDR was awarded the $8.9 million contract for the structural remediation for wharves at HMAS Coonawarra in May 2018 and this was a milestone moment for the business.
Scope of works
The project’s initial scope consisted of:
- Repairs to structural steel
- Ultra-high pressure (UHP) water blasting
- Application of protective coatings
- Removal of marine growth
- Repairs to concrete-jacketed piles
- Removal of lead paint
- Design, fabrication and installation of new stairs
CHALLENGES FACED AND OVERCOME
Marine infrastructure projects can be notoriously unpredictable as a result of tides and other environmental factors. This initial HMAS Coonawarra project significantly enhanced DDR’s marine capabilities and has been instrumental in bringing about the agile, open-minded approach the business takes to all new projects.
Working in stages
Darwin’s extreme tidal ranges
Hazardous materials encountered
Upon commencing works, DDR discovered lead paint in the steel piles and staircases on both wharves. This brought about significant variations to the initial scope, i.e.:
- Repairs to steel piles contaminated with lead and coal tar epoxy
- Supply and installation of new staircases
Working on a live, operational site
Working in a marine environment
Stringent environmental controls
- DDR maintained an 80 per cent Indigenous engagement level during the first year of
- the project
- The final Indigenous engagement on the project was 25 per cent, exceeding DDR’s own internal engagement targets and further highlighting DDR’s commitment to creating long-term employment opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples
A look ahead at HMAS Coonawarra
- Already established Indigenous engagement
- An understanding of wharf operations
- The potential to reuse procedures developed under the original projects
- An existing site establishment and compound