Running with Plan A

BuildingPoint Australia recently added Trimble Tilos to their software portfolio and who better to strike up a partnership with than Plan A, to continue to provide outstanding sales, service, and support to Tilos customers.

Luke Charet, Managing Director at Plan A started his business in 2019 after recognising the value in offering project planning support exclusively with Tilos. With over twenty years of experience in project planning and management, Luke has been adapting and implementing the most current and updated techniques on the market, giving him an edge with some of the biggest names in construction and projects across Australia with Tilos outputs.

Now an authorised Tilos Reseller, we caught up with Luke recently to find out more about Plan A and what they can offer.

Give us a brief history lesson on how the company got started.

In my role with various construction companies, I found Tilos is the best way to communicate a program, so much so I base my business around it.

I think project planning at times can be over complicated, but Tilos makes it very clear and simple to see and understand so I decided to start my own business to use this method to help companies achieve great results.

What have been the milestones in growth that have occurred?

We’ve met growth milestones regularly with new clients, large construction companies, Tiers 1, 2, and 3. Anytime we get a new client we haven’t worked with before leads to future growth by repeat business, mainly because they are so happy with results achieved with Plan A.

Additionally, now Plan A is a reseller for Tilos Software, and we can now provide the software we love as well as the training, it brings another new growth milestone for Plan A Project Planning as a company.

Geographically, what market do you serve?

Plan A serves all of Australia and has great plans to enter New Zealand and other overseas markets in the future.

What are the key services you sell?

These are some of the things Plan A can deliver:

P6 to Tilos conversions – includes analysis, improvements, presentation
Tender Construction from scratch and delivery in Tilos (dynamic planning)
End of month status updates (Tilos à P6 output)
Training in Tilos (beginner to advanced – group/ one-on-one)
Tilos Licence sales and distribution

What is the percentage makeup of your business currently?

We work with some of the biggest construction companies throughout Australia, and I would say our major involvement is with both Roads and Rail, each having approximately 30% share in our current workload, although there’s also a mix of 30% ongoing within the mines and dam markets too. The last 10% would be electrification projects.

Do you consider yourself a big, medium, or small consultant?

We’re currently a small business but with new opportunities with the Tilos reseller agreement, and with current expansion planned soon we are working towards building our Team under the Plan A banner

What are some significant projects Plan A has worked on?

Plan A has worked on many projects over the years, and some of the most recent are

Copper String 2.0 in northern QLD
Gold Coast Light rail
Inland Rail
Coffs Harbour Bypass.
and many more. Visit our website https://Tilosplana.com.au/

What Trimble products do you own and how are they used?

Plan A uses Tilos Software on all projects we work on, roads, rail, civil, dams, etc. For those not familiar, Tilos is a world-class linear infrastructure project management software tool, specifically created to make linear project planning easy. This robust scheduling software combines time and distance into one graphical view, successfully planning large and spread-out civil construction projects.

Why did you decide to buy Tilos?

I started using Tilos 12 years ago and found the ease of communication was needed and appreciated in my business for managers, engineers, project managers, project schedulers, and project owners, as well as all the people on the ground so they can understand the program and critical path.

How does Tilos help with cost and time savings?

Tilos allows me to quickly present a program or an idea or strategy to show, for example, the indicative direction of construction – what end are we starting on and what impacts will affect programs – weather, soil, etc., so by the ease of Tilos we can identify these issues quickly and prevent this from happening and have a plan in place.

What would a job be like without Tilos?

What’s been done forever are P6 and Gant charts which take over many pages to convey a message. Tilos is a true time chainage software tool, not only does it present time location charts but there are some serious tools to help planning. My favourite is the ability to easily produce a mass haul program. With Tilos, this is all done within the one software solution – a one-stop-shop for your planning and scheduling workflow.

How has your Trimble Dealer supported your success?

The best thing about our Tilos dealer is the quick turnaround in the resolutions of issues. Great communication is the key even if the issue isn’t a quick fix, and I’m informed of a time and turnaround to help me work around this to ensure I can still deliver my programs on time to my clients.

What three things do you remember when a project is complete?

For me, it’s the introduction of Tilos software to a broader audience and seeing the client’s ability to understand and recognise our critical paths so quickly and easily. I get great satisfaction as I have been lucky enough to work on a diverse range of large nation-building projects. And most importantly finishing a project ahead of time and everyone is excited to see what the Tilos output looks like.

If you would like more information on how Plan A can help you achieve success when it comes to project planning, call Luke on 0411 367 279 or visit their website tilosplana.com.au

Augmented Reality Platform Turns Risk into Reward for Contractor, Customer, and Community

Founded in 1995, Rolleston, New Zealand-based Blakely Construction is a civil contractor serving Canterbury and surrounding regions.

The South Island town of Wanaka, New Zealand, about an hour’s drive from Queenstown, is a popular lake and mountain resort community situated on Lake Wanaka and in the shadow of Mount Aspiring National Park.

In an effort to modernise the community’s central lakefront, the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Wanaka Community Board initiated the multi-year $3.7 million Wanaka Lakefront Development Plan.

Training Leader Looks to Fill the Technology Gap on Heavy Equipment

As a company that prides itself on adapting to the needs of students and employers, Major Training Group, one of Australia’s oldest registered training organisations, is pushing the boundaries again.

Since its founding in 1998, Major Training has supported the construction industry by providing training and certification services to individuals and companies across Queensland, Brisbane, Sunshine Coast, Ipswich, and The Gold Coast. Heavy equipment ticketing is a large part of its services, with training on excavators, front-end loaders, dozers, graders, backhoes, skid steers, and compact track loaders.

In partnership with Trimble and SITECH, the Trimble authorised dealer, Major Training is expanding its comprehensive training and certification curriculum to include technology, specifically the GNSS-enabled navigation and control of heavy machinery.

Australian businesses working together to keep improving safety

Best of Breed innovation between Webbair and SITECH Construction Systems has produced a ground-breaking Dynamic 3D Motion Control System (SMC)

Webbair together with SITECH Construction Systems has produced a ground-breaking Dynamic 3D Motion Control System (SMC) thanks to extensive field testing and collaboration with Winslow Constructors. Most importantly, this technology is ready to go and is currently being rolled out on worksites.

This Best of Breed innovation is the direct result of industry collaboration between key Australian industry businesses who each have a commitment towards increased safety through continuous improvement. Together they have created a tangible innovative response to an industry need that is unparalleled in the construction sector.  In their continued pursuit of excellence, Winslow Constructors dedicated both machinery and personnel to facilitate extensive field-based trials by creating mock-sites. This ensured on-hand expertise was available and real-life scenarios were considered with the technology being rigorously verified.

Winslow are industry leaders in the civil construction space and having the SMC solution in their stable shows their commitment to innovation and safety whilst maintaining productivity and efficiency.

“Adding this type of engineering control to our existing set of Safety Controls and Procedures (alongside our best-in-industry locating, exposing, mapping and modelling capabilities), will set us apart from the competition.  It will significantly help us on our journey to continually improve safety.”

(Hugh Peck - General Manager Winslow Group Services).

Webbair Engineering Director Peter Stanley had this to say about the project.  “An SMC type satellite-based 3D control system has been the Holy Grail for safety conscious companies for several years now. The project has thrown more than a few engineering roadblocks in our path and it’s very satisfying to finally see a product ready to go to market.”

 

The SMC system takes 3D motion control to the next level, providing full failsafe systems, dynamic in-field definitions of restriction zones, supervisor key lockout and is fully compliant in the rail industry based on the base motion control system which is already currently used by Tier 1 companies and rail providers nationwide. Using Webbair’s thorough knowledge and expertise of motion control requirements, this system ensures that no stone is left unturned and implements a safety-first procedure with true “proportional” machine control.  Combining the industry recognised PME motion control systems and the Trimble Earthworks machine guidance solution means the system is built on proven technology and brings with it the respective productivity and safety benefits.

The SMC system will deliver robust engineering controls to keep machines out of any pre-defined high-risk areas and significantly reduce risk of sub surface service strikes that are extremely costly in both money and time.  Allowing for the operator or supervisor to add in any new hazards or high-risk areas on the fly without requiring them to be defined digitally is potentially one of the biggest benefits of the system which was demanded from the market at the start of the due diligence phase.

Joe Lloyd from SITECH CS has been on the journey with Webbair from concept to completion and is incredibly satisfied with the result.  “From the initial engagement with Webbair to signing the MoU, we have had a strong focus on delivering a real dynamic and flexible system that meets the requirements discovered during our due diligence process.  One of the key elements to the design of the system was utilising the Webbair PME system to allow for dynamic limits to be entered manually in the field and locked by the supervisor.  Having this functionality was imperative to keeping machines working under protection when new hazards were identified in the field.  We are extremely pleased to be able to deliver this unsurpassed 3D motion control system to market.  We would like to acknowledge the team at Winslow Constructors for their part in this success.  Allowing us to rigorously beta test the system for the past 4 months in the real world was a real commitment from them, showing a dedication to improving and innovating in the safety space”.

Why the SMC Solution

The PME400ME Component has the following features:

  • Full smart height limiting with ground reference sensors.
  • Slew limiting fully adjustable limits from cab.
  • Full virtual walls
  • Corridor setup and limitations
  • Maximum radius
  • Cabin protection, minimum radius
  • Dig depth control
  • 3 colour touch screen
  • custom motion cut valves with emergency override facilities.
  • Supervisors key switch

Motion cut is provided to the following movements:

  • Boom Up
  • Boom Down
  • Arm In
  • Arm Out.
  • Slew Left
  • Slew Right
  • Blade Down (On Limitation where applicable)

The SMC Dynamic Control Section has features which takes information from both the Trimble 3D Earthworks system and the PME system and then implements the appropriate motion control lockouts avoiding strikes.  Importantly, it also allows dynamic limits to be added manually in the field if new obstacles are identified that are not included in the design file, this is imperative to keep the machine working and enable flexibility whilst reducing down-time.

Live Limitations that are setup in the digital design files: These limitations, or no-go zones, are predetermined at the planning stage of a site or added along the way as the site works progress. Obstacles such as power lines, bridges, buildings, geofences, underground telecommunications, gas lines, and electrical lines can all be built into the file and as the machine moves around the site it will be continually monitored through GPS and motion controlled to stop the machine from hitting any of the above.

The applications for such ground-breaking technology are endless and never has there been a solution for machines to be aided in control within the working environment from the planning stage right through to the completion of the project.

The SMC system provides the following features and benefits, all of which means the machine works as and the operator is always protected by the system ore readily aware when protection is less accurate.

  • Dynamically add limits in the field in real time; the system is not wholly reliant on updated digital designs being supplied. There is no need to wait for new digital designs to keep working under protection. Hence field employees are given with the full flexibility to adapt based on data received, whilst maintaining protection and maximising production times.
  • Fully proportional valve control means that the machines hydraulics are protected reducing wear and tear on the machine and the operator is truly safe in his seat without the risk of jolting or sudden unexpected movements.
  • Stops only the motion of travel that caused the alarm and allows that to be reversed immediately to come out of the danger zone. It does not lock up the whole machine or make the operator wait until he can remove himself from danger to be safe.
  • Full redundancy and manual override facility to ensure operator safety protection and ability move away from danger immediately.
  • Full fail-safe system with machine locking out with loss of accurate positional GPS data or any software crashes. This means the operator is confident he is protected all the times without having to focus on a screen and can’t miss a visual warning that could mean he is many metres out of position and allow him to breach exclusion zones.
  • Logging of alarm events for historical QA and safety incident reporting.

 

Watch this space for the upcoming official product release.

Contact 1800 748 324 for more information.

CCF Qld and SITECH CS – a perfect partnership

With a membership that aligns strongly to SITECH’s client base, it’s no wonder the business is the Civil Contractors Federation of Queensland’s technical partner.

The Civil Contractors Federation Queensland Limited (CCF Qld) represents the interests of the civil construction industry in Queensland and ‘aims to enhance the prosperity of members’.
It provides the industry with assistance, expertise and support on industry issues.

CCF Qld advocates for the interests of the industry to all levels of government.

With offices in all states and territories, as well as a national office, CCF Qld covers local, state and national matters facing the civil construction industry.
It also has three Queensland Civil Industry Training Centres located in Brisbane, Townsville and Cairns.

CCF Qld says it is dedicated to servicing the industry and members in six primary ways, ensuring that protecting the industries interests are at the forefront of our delivery:
• Representation and advocacy
• Information and news
• Resources and expertise
• Offers and discounts
• Events, networking, advertising and sponsorships
• Training and careers

SITECH general manager Tim McPhillips said the partnership was a perfect fit for the business.

“The CCF Qld’s membership is mainly smaller to mid size operators and that’s a huge and important part of our client base,” he said. “They’re the cornerstone of our business. “The federation supports the very people we work with so we wanted to be a part of that.

“It’s services, encompassing such elements as advocacy and training, mesh with our business aim to support our clients through our products, training and service. “It is also another way we keep in touch with our clients as well as reach potential clients.”

Tim said the federation’s support of operators in regional areas also suited SITECH.

“We’ve a strong customer base in regional Queensland too, so to lend support to the organisation that helps regional Qld operators is something we’re keen to do,” he said.  “We could spend the money we invest in the CCF Qld in other areas, such as direct marketing, but we believe this organisation is doing good things for contractors in our state, and that’s something we support.”

The federation’s chief executive officer Damian Long said they were ‘proud to partner with a supplier who is known for their quality within the industry’.

“SITECH provides seamless integration from top to bottom in construction-related technology and project control,” he said.  “The business is known for the effort it puts into research and development; and for its customer service and training. “It is continually striving for improvements in productivity and safety for our industry. “SITECH’s commitment to the industry is evident through its support of CCF Qld.
“They’re the perfect technical partners for our federation.”

To find out more about the CCF Qld go to https://www.ccfqld.com/
To learn more about SITECH and how it can help your business go to https://sitechcs.com/