- In last week’s D&Ri newsletter, and in the June-July 2020 print issue of the magazine, we featured the contractor Delta Group’s recent chimney demolition at the Hazelwood power station project in Australia. Here, we revisit the project from the perspective of the client, energy supplier Engie. Ian Needham, head of stakeholder engagement, Hazelwood Rehabilitation Project, talks to editor Steve Ducker.
When did you start talking to Delta about the Hazelwood project?
Delta Group was one of three contractors that Engie Australia shortlisted as part of a comprehensive EOI (expression of interest) and tendering process that led to the contract award in late 2018.
As principal contractor, Delta Group has led a broader team of national and international subject matter experts, specialising in demolition engineering, who have been involved in developing the demolition approach so as to develop a safe and effective programme of works, and demonstrate to regulatory agencies and key stakeholders a robust process to meet legislative compliance.
What was it in their history or track record that made them a good fit for this job? Have you worked with Delta before?
The Hazelwood Mine & Power Station Demolition Project is the first of its kind for Engine in Australia.
Delta Group shared our commitment to safety and the environment that was essential criteria in selecting an appropriate contractor. Delta Group also demonstrated financial, organisational, human resources, industrial relationxs and operational capacity to manage a project of this significance and scale.
What were the main considerations for a demolition project on a 4,000-hectare site?
The first consideration was the safety of workers and of the local community, particularly the effective management of all risks associated with asbestos and to ensure complete regulatory and legislative compliance at every stage and across every facet of the agreed works program.
Stakeholder engagement was also important. “Our social license to operate” is very important to Engie, and relies on transparency to key stakeholders, regulatory departments, and our local community.
There was a lot of public interest in Hazelwood – how big a factor was that in your choice of contractor and how did it influence conversations between you and Delta during the project?
The decommissioning of Hazelwood has been of high interest since its closure in 2017. The local community has strong long- term connections to Hazelwood.
We recognise the emotional attachment this project has to region, and has invested time and resources in ensuring a transparent, well communicated, and safe project is being carried out while showing the upmost respect to the local sensitivities of the area.
Delta Group has had a long-standing connection to the area, and committed to engaging with the community. Creating jobs for locals was a critical element of the contractor selection.
Did you insist on any particular specifications or methodology in how the job was executed, or was it left to Delta?
Yes. A project such as this requires a team orientated focus. Whilst Delta Group intellectual property is critical to the success of the project, Engie via independent subject matter experts, ensured they remained engaged with all stages of the methodology development and implementation of the works.
Engie’s website says the demolition represented the culmination of an enormous amount of pre-work and planning. What form did this take?
From the EOI and tendering stage to the chimney fell event was 16 months. In that time thousands of hours went into planning and preparing for the demolition of the chimneys, and thousands of hours more for the overall project.
The project has involved developing and executing a safe and effective programme of works, for example:
- Engineered risk assessment of all possible demolition methods – for chimney stacks and all structures
- Blast modelling, design and management
- Asbestos surveys and identification, management and removal, onsite containment, measuring, monitoring and reporting
- Wind and weather modelling for dust (plume) as a result of chimney fells
- Extensive community engagement
- Consultation with key stakeholders – Victorian government regulators, local emergency services
- Emergency response planning, training and management.