When you’re selecting a microtunnelling contractor to complete your project, taking into consideration their mobility is a crucial factor in ensuring you have a higher chance for a successful outcome within time and budget constraints. If your chosen contractor cannot reach the job site within a short timeframe and arrive fully prepared with the correct equipment, they won’t be able to get the job done efficiently.

Increased efficiency

A mobile microtunnelling contractor can arrive at a job site — at any location — and bring with them a sufficient number of personnel and the correct equipment to carry out works. This affects the project in a key way — increased efficiency — which means trenchless installations can be completed on schedule and project managers can focus on construction of the rest of the pipeline.

Mobile microtunnelling contractors are generally experienced at working in different locations, so they are more likely to have good systems in place, be fully prepared with the right number of staff and have the correct equipment including spare parts and back-ups.

For example, at Edge Underground, we have between four and six mobile crews depending on demand who have extensive microtunnelling experience in Australia. This experience means we have developed a system for transporting equipment and organising personnel that is efficient and seamless, while having multiple crews gives us the option to split up teams to bring in more personnel if required.

The experience and expertise to complete any job

Another key reason you should choose a mobile contractor is they are more likely to have increased expertise and experience from having worked on job sites at a variety of locations across not only the state but also perhaps Australia or internationally as well, so they will know how to deal with different ground conditions and what to do if there is an unexpected change.

This gives them familiarity with the equipment and how to best adapt cutter faces for different ground conditions, which is paramount to achieving successful outcomes in microtunnelling.

The added benefit of having a mobile team that has worked across different states is that they will be familiar with different work practices. This better equips them to know what to expect during construction and any confusion or problems is less likely to hold up construction.

A network of experts to call on

At Edge Underground we have team members who have worked in most states of Australia, and many of them have worked overseas as well, and one of the key benefits we’ve found from this is that we have access to an international network of microtunnelling contractors who we can call on if we do happen to come across a problem.

We’ve found this gives project managers a sense of security knowing that their contractor has an additional support network to help them find solutions to overcome any unexpected challenges that may arise, which is something that most other microtunnelling companies with crew members that have only worked in Australia cannot offer.

This can be a problem for them as, for the most part, these companies can be hindered by the effects of industry competition, which often encourages them to keep their knowledge a secret and therefore rely solely on the skill set of their workers. This means that they are rarely being exposed to new or better ways of doing things.

Competence and training still matter

When selecting a mobile team, it is important to look for a contractor that takes training seriously to ensure the team is able to carry out installations in a safe and professional manner.

The teams at Edge Underground have received a high level of training so they have an in-depth knowledge of drilling techniques and best practices. As the inventor of the AXIS guided boring system, I am able to provide every team member with a unique insight into drilling techniques and best practices when using the machine, ensuring they have all the tricks and tips to get the job done on time, on budget and to a high standard.

When you select a mobile crew that has a solid understanding of the equipment being used, and the experience of working with different ground conditions, you have a higher chance of having a successful microtunnelling installation.

About Stuart Harrison

Global microtunnelling pioneer Stuart Harrison is the Managing Director of Edge Underground, where he specialises in on­-grade microtunnelling installations with millimetre accuracy. Stuart is also the inventor of the Vermeer AXIS Guided Boring system, and he is constantly working to improve the effectiveness of this and other trenchless systems used in the installation of gravity sewers.

To discuss your next microtunnelling installation, contact Stuart on 1300 JACKED or at [email protected]

Lauren ‘LJ’ Butler is the Assistant Editor of Utility magazine and has been part of the team at Monkey Media since 2018.

After completing a Bachelor of Media, Communications and Professional Writing at the University of Wollongong in 2014, and prior to writing about the utility sector, LJ worked as a Journalist and Sub Editor across the horticulture, hardware, power equipment, construction and accommodation industries with publishers such as Glenvale Publications, Multimedia Publishing and Bean Media Group.

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