- Client Name: Department of State Growth (DSG), Tasmania
- Location: Salamanca Building Parliament Square, 4 Salamanca Place Hobart, Tasmania 7000
- Date of Contract: 2018-07-01
- Value of Contract: $150 million
- Contract Name: State Road Network Maintenance Services – North West Region Tasmania
Department of State Growth (Tasmania) – State Road Network Maintenance Services
Department of State Growth (DSG), Tasmania
State Road Network Maintenance Services – North West Region Tasmania
Salamanca Building Parliament Square, 4 Salamanca Place Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Mobilising a new contract can test the resolve of the most resilient of people, and this one had its challenges.
It started with a very short transition time – three weeks. Then, a scope change received just before the contract started reduced this transition time to one week.
“We had to source and recruit 17 new people in two days,” says Dwayne Williams, Contract Manager.
The challenges didn’t stop there.
The contract team had to set up four operating depots across the network, but they couldn’t access these depots until the new contract started and the incumbent service provider left.
“At midnight on Saturday night [when the new contract commenced], we sent two people out to the Queenstown depot, a three-hour drive, to set it up for the next morning,” Dwayne says.
When the crew arrived though, they discovered the depot had been broken into and all the supplies and vehicles they needed to service the contract had been stolen.
The following morning, Dwayne spent hours on the phone to purchase new supplies, only to find that Tasmania had none of the vehicles required.
After several more hours on the phone, he sourced the vehicles from Melbourne and arranged to have them sent to Tasmania on the next available boat. The total purchase amounted to:
- Utes x 15
- Trucks x 4
- Tractors x 3 (to operate the snowplough)
- Snowploughs x 3.
Finally, when the team had most of the supplies back in stock, they started settling into business-as-usual operations. Then they received their biggest challenge of all.
The DSG contract requires DM Roads to maintain more than 2,500 lane kilometres of sealed road and 160 lane kilometres of unsealed road throughout North-West Tasmania.
This includes maintaining unsealed shoulders and verges, drainage infrastructure, traffic facilities (including guide posts, signs and safety barriers), roadside rest areas and amenities, bridges, pedestrian underpasses and embankments, including rock netting and catch fences.
We provide this service from four depots across the region, located in:
- Ulverstone (Depot + Head Office)
These locations were selected to give us maximum network coverage and minimal distance to travel, which enables the team to provide rapid incident response. This proved to be of critical importance when the team encountered their biggest challenge to date.
Within the first month of the DSG contract commencing, just when the team had resupplied the depots and employed new members of the team, North-West Tasmania was hit with three massive weather events, bringing torrential rain, wind, snow and fallen trees, blocking roads and creating hazards.
“We had 96 callouts in that first month,” Dwayne says. “The average is 30 to 40.”
This situation would have been a disaster for any contract, let alone one that just started a month ago, consisting of newly-recruited team members.
“Only four people in the entire crew had a chainsaw ticket,” Dwayne says, “So only four people were licensed to clean up trees [off roads], so they were all working extended hours.”
To make matters worse, the team still had limited supplies, specifically calcium chloride, which was required to clear ice off the roads.
“We sent crews out everywhere to get more supplies, even to Bunnings,” Dwayne says.
They soon found out though that all shops in Tasmania were sold out. All supplies had been purchased by the previous service provider on the contract.
Dwayne was back on the phone again to procure supplies from Melbourne.
“During that first month I slept an average of one hour every night,” Dwayne says.
Despite the challenges encountered on this contract, i.e. new team members, limited supplies and a huge series of weather events, the crew responded and rectified all 96 callouts within the required response time.
“We just didn’t stop giving up,” Dwayne says. “If we found a hurdle, we got over it and made it happen.”
To build the team and cooperative team culture, Dwayne and Transition Manager, Glenn Murray employed 39 new people – all of them local residents, committed to serving their area.
This initiative is part of DM Roads’ commitment to supporting the communities we work in, by employing local residents and procuring supplies from local suppliers.
All depots on this contract were resupplied from local Tasmanian suppliers (as much as was available), amounting to 86% of total spend that went to the local community.
While the challenges of this contract were significant, overcoming these challenges is not the only thing that makes this contract so successful.
The benefits DM Roads delivered to the community in servicing this contract are so outstanding, the contract has been awarded with an ISCA rating (Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia), making this the first road maintenance contract in Australia to receive the award.
An ISCA rating recognises projects that deliver exemplary performance in three areas: environmental, social and economic value. This contract was recognised for producing fewer greenhouse gas emissions, better traffic flow, a cleaner appearance i.e. more effective litter removal, and excellent economic outcomes for the local community.
What makes this award even more remarkable is that it was awarded within one year of the contract starting – the average time is no less than three years.
“We were two years ahead of ourselves,” Dwayne says, “and we didn’t even start the process until four months after starting the contract.”
As if this wasn’t enough, in addition to the ISCA rating this contract also received an ISO 55001 rating – awarded for exemplary performance in road asset management, i.e. zero harm, quality standards and environmental sustainability.
Our environmental initiatives on this contract include our crumb rubber spray seal, which uses end-of-life truck tyres in our road surface treatments. This creates a smoother and quieter ride for road users, as well as reducing fuel use and creating a cleaner environment, as old tyres are used to make a quality product instead of being buried in landfill.
Not wanting to rest on their laurels, the DSG / DM Roads team are now working on their next community initiative.
“There is a bridge and underpass [on the network] that is constantly being covered with graffiti,” Dwayne says.
Instead of continually repeating costly graffiti removal treatments, DM Roads is working with DSG, and paying half the cost required to have the structure painted over with an attractive mural, painted by a local artist.
It’s efforts like these that lift this contract from a simple service provision to an initiative that benefits Tasmania.
“The awards are great but it’s not just about awards,” Dwayne says, “it’s about doing good for the state and the local community.”