Case Study: Bushfire Recovery Needed Expertise to Save Money

Recovering from a severe bushfire looked like a costly exercise, but with a combination of creative thinking and data-driven insights, thousands of dollars was saved.

The Client

Quanta Lines are part of the Quanta Services network, a Fortune 500 company employing 40,000 people.  They provide fully integrated solutions for the electric power, pipeline, industrial and communications industries globally.

Quanta Lines provide energy infrastructure construction throughout Australia.

The Challenge

The 2019-2020 bushfire season was the most extreme and widespread that New South Wales, Australia has ever experienced. The fires burnt over 5.4 million hectares causing extensive damage across the state, including damage to lines which needed replacing.

Quanta Lines planned to build a new substation to allow a connection to the Upper Tumut to Yass 330kV transmission line however, the damage caused to the existing lines by the bushfires was significant.  Overall, 9% of the transmission line route length and 2,681 transmission line structures were impacted.  

Contractors were engaged to put in the new substation to enable a different route to be used in order to distribute power to new developments in the area.

For the substation to go ahead as planned, the structural integrity of the existing transmission line route lengths and structures needed to be assessed.  The extent of the damage caused by the bushfires was not entirely understood. There was significant visual damage to the existing transmission lines which posed a real challenge.  

To design the cut-in to the new substation, understanding the structural integrity of the existing transmission structures was critical.  Quanta Lines wanted a partner to assess the bushfire damage and chose Groundline due to our experience in asset condition assessment and integrity testing for transmission and distribution line services.  

In addition, the transmission line that needed building had big spans, so Quanta also recognized  our experience in long transmission lines.

What We Did

Utilising our experience in asset condition assessment and integrity testing, Groundline initially undertook a site visit and inspection to gauge the extent of the damage and the remaining integrity of the structures. This determined whether they were suitable for use in the new design.  

Our engineers were then able to determine which structures required strengthening, which needed full replacement, and which were undamaged.  

The team were then able to use our construction knowledge to propose the right methodologies for the Quanta Lines contractors to follow and implement for the strengthening work. These methodologies minimized the amount of steel required to be removed, saving time and money whilst improving worker safety.

The Results

Groundline’s input and expertise ensured the existing line could still be utilized with minor structural strengthening.

As a result of the assessment and consulting work, Quanta Lines no longer needed multiple new transmission structures. They were able to conduct minor structural strengthening work  rather than having to replace all of the damaged structures.  

Quanta Lines said the work done by Groundline saved them hundreds of thousands of dollars in procurement fees and scheduling impacts.  

Quanta said the savings enabled them to proceed with other projects that might otherwise have been put on hold.

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