Airport takes off with BlueScope LYSAGHT & XLERPLATE®

Construction on Australia's newest and most efficient airport passenger terminal is off to a flying start, with the help of established Adelaide based steel fabricators, Manuele Engineers, and BlueScope Steel.

The A$260 million redevelopment of Adelaide Airport is the largest steel construction project in the city. A completely new terminal is being built which will allow both international and internal flight passengers to depart or arrive through a common passenger concourse, a concept that provides for vastly more efficient use of passenger terminal space.

Developed to meet the needs of domestic, international and regional travellers across all airlines servicing Adelaide, the new airport will be two storeys high with a mezzanine level, featuring state of the art passenger facilities and security systems, a retail centre and high amenity public and airline lounges.

The new 77,000 square metre terminal will be able to accommodate in excess of 3,000 passengers per hour, and up to 27 aircraft simultaneously. The airport's contemporary design includes 14 glass sided aerobridges directly linking aircraft to the terminal building, 40 common use check in desks and nine automated baggage carousels.

Plans for the terminal include greatly expanded freight handling facilities, property development and onsite business accommodation, in anticipation of Adelaide becoming an even more important destination for tourism and freight, due to the new Darwin to Adelaide rail link.

Leading structural steel fabrication firm, Manuele Engineers, is responsible for the supply and installation of the structural steelwork to the main terminal building of the new airport. Another structural steel fabricator, Samaras Structural Engineers, is supplying the structural steel for the two concourses on either side of the main terminal building.

"The main terminal section of the airport encompasses the check in area, baggage claim, retail mall and international terminal. We are supplying 2,400 tonnes of structural steel for the project, as well as 24.7 kilometres of LYSAGHT® Zed and Cee purlins," says Vince Manuele, a director of Manuele Engineers.

Established in 1967 by Vince's father, Vic Manuele, Manuele Engineers is a family owned business, which specialises in complex structural steel fabrication. With over 50 employees, as well as around 70 dedicated sub contractors, Manuele Engineers has worked on many large scale, high profile projects in Adelaide, including the supply and installation of 1,230 tonnes of structural steel for the Holden Plant, and 2,500 tonnes of steel for Westfield Marion, one of the largest shopping centres in the southern hemisphere.

"We are highly regarded in the industry as one of the most capable, efficient and reliable steelworkers in South Australia," says Vince. "We are often approached for the larger projects, jobs that have very complex steelwork incorporated into their structural design, and where there is little room for error."

Manuele Engineers were awarded the A$10 million structural steel contract by builders Hansen and Yuncken. "This is a substantial job for us," says Vince. "Our tender proposal, coupled with our reputation in the industry, convinced Hansen Yuncken that we were up to the job.

"The building consists of very conventional structural steelwork," he explains. "Although, the check-in hall does feature an amount of steel which is quite architectural, incorporating big, wide open spans, with members connecting together via pins. The design requires that some of the structural beams clear span 41 metres."

"The structural design is such that there are a lot of connections between different structural members. This means there is zero tolerance for error, any inaccuracy and it won't fit together. It's extremely accurate work, and to accomplish this within the timeframe is very challenging. Sourcing the huge volume of steel and ensuring that it was all available to meet our construction schedule was paramount."

That's where BlueScope Steel comes in.

All structural beams supplied by Manuele Engineers are fabricated from 300 and 400 grade XLERPLATE® hot rolled plate steel. The largest beams range from 1.2 metres in depth and 24 metres in length, to 1 metre in depth and a massive 41 metres in length. The heaviest beams weight around 11 tonnes each.

Vince says that a preference for using locally produced product was instrumental in the decision to use XLERPLATE® steel. "We are a patriotic Australian company, and we would also prefer to use Australian made product. The quality is superior. And deliverability and lead times are more reliable with a local supplier."

All of the purlins used to complete the structure were supplied by BlueScope Lysaght. "We buy purlins exclusively from BlueScope Lysaght. We have a very strong relationship with them. I chose to buy from BlueScope Lysaght because of their dedication to a project, their attention to detail and their commitment to us as a supplier. I see BlueScope Lysaght's exceptional customer service as a benchmark for all of my suppliers.

"The technical support provided by BlueScope Lysaght, particularly on projects of this type, is outstanding. They are always there to help, and they have the experience and expertise to provide the solutions we need."

According to Vince, BlueScope Lysaght's demonstrated commitment to the project has been a key factor in the job's success so far. "The redevelopment of Adelaide Airport is a key project for the State, in terms of infrastructure, trade and tourism. As soon as we heard about the project, we earmarked it as something that we wanted to be involved in. BlueScope Lysaght were also committed to being involved in the project, for the same reasons. Consequently, they have been very much a part of our team from the word go."

Vince says that while the structure of the building was straightforward, the tight timeframe has been a challenge. "The programme on this job is very demanding. We are working to a very tight construction schedule, it will be a record for us in terms of fabrication and installation. Sourcing the huge volume of steel and ensuring that it is all available to meet our construction schedule is paramount."

He says that on a high profile job such as the Adelaide Airport, there is no room for error. "A good supplier is extremely important, as are short lead times. These days, we are building significantly faster than we used to, because of commercial pressures from clients, who are becoming more and more demanding. Time is always a critical factor. Time is money. That's why it's so vital that our suppliers are reliable, trustworthy, and an integral part of our team."

Construction on the Adelaide Airport redevelopment commenced at the beginning of 2004. The project is due for completion in late 2005.