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McConnell Dowell

  • 500 - 1,000 employees

Alistair Lim

Being a Graduate Engineer for McConnell Dowell is an exciting and dynamic role, my attention is split between being on site and in the office. At a quick glance my days revolve around preparing and organising upcoming works which involves understanding what the works entail, who or what equipment is required and what paperwork’s needs to be in order.

5.45 AM

Alarm set for 5.40 am, wakeup, quick breakfast, coffee and into the Car to get to site

6.50 AM

Arrive at the site office and ready for a pre-start safety meeting

7.00 AM

Attend the pre-start meeting*
*this is a daily meeting in which the site supervisor runs through a list of safety topics relevant to the day. This involves works that we completed the previous day and any incidents/near misses that may have happened. Topics relevant to the day’s works are often brought up here for example if there are multiple work groups or some high-risk work such as excavation, it is ensured that the Workers are aware what is happening around them on site.

7.15 AM

With the safety briefing completed, I was able to watch the start of some excavation works which the project is doing to uncover the location of a Transmission Gas Pipeline. Before beginning works, a quick START card is done as a site and task specific safety assessment.

checking the S.T.A.R.T card overlooking a field

7.20 AM

Works are underway. One of the number one thing that I’ve learnt on site is that safety is a priority in everything that we do. For all excavation works there are a number of permits that require submission and approval prior to breaking ground, in this case it included permits from both Metro Trains Melbourne and from the asset owner (APA Transmission). This ensure that we have done our checks and understand what other utilities may be in the vicinity of what we’re digging and the conditions to work near them. Given the sensitivity of Gas Pipelines, APA also sent an inspector out to observe the works. This gives the project access to greater knowledge of the asset and its location and the best methods to find and uncover it.

An excavator on a field

12.00 PM

Break for Lunch

12.30 PM

Back to work and I’ve been asked to assist with stocktake of some spare pits and equipment that were leftovers from previous jobs. This entails counting and checking the quality of what spare items we have available to us. The biggest problem I faced entering the construction industry was terminology that people use when talking about tasks or items and these small exercises helps to build a solid knowledge bank so you can become more aware of what was happening around the project.

Purely being on site becomes incredibly helpful when understanding what site is like and the scale in which things happen.  

Old Railway Sleepers

Various Pits / Conduits to be reused where able

2.00 AM

Finished with the stocktake, the next task that I was doing for the day was a dilapidation survey on the surrounding roads that our site will be utilising, this helps to understand what the conditions are around site. For this job we are using a 360-degree camera which will help provide a comprehensive view of the site rather than take individual photos of kerbs, roads etc. The result is similar to what Google Street view would provide.

A 360-degree camera on a field

3.00 PM

Quick break in the site office to give a lookahead for the upcoming works, similar to the pre-start meeting, this gives everyone an overview of what has been planned and an opportunity to assess the potential interfaces between different workgroups and what safety resources we need each day.

Whiteboard on zoom in, Monday written

3.15 PM

With the dilapidation survey completed and my works on site completed for now I’m back into the office to prepare for any other upcoming work. The office is a good place to catch up with emails and ensure that paperwork* is in order for my upcoming works.

*this can involve permits being submitted & safety work method statements being reviewed and up to date.

5.00 PM

Everything is in order, time to go home, reset and start again tomorrow!

a highway