Archive for July, 2013

The Municipal Engineering Foundation has made two scholarships up to the value of $1,000 each available to attend the 20th National Works and Engineering Conference to be held in Bendigo on 26th and 27th September 2013.

To apply please send and email to CEO IPWEAvic, Dr Anne Gibbs, ( stating your Name, Organisation, Position, a brief outline of why you should be given the scholarship, and your contact details.

Preference will be given to rural engineers.

Applications close Friday 6th September 2013.


2014 IPWEAvic Public Works Conference
To be Held on 26th 27th March 2014 at The Hotel Windsor, Melbourne

The Institute of Public Works Engineering Australia (IPWEA), Victorian Division, have been convening the outstandingly successful IPWEAvic Public Works Conference for a number of years. This event is recognised as the key annual public works technical event for the local government and public works sector and attracts over 150 participants, including both managers and Councillors from local government as well as consultants and contractors.

The conference is to be held over two days at The Hotel Windsor, 111 Spring Street Melbourne on 26th and 27th March 2014.  The Annual IPWEAvic Awards for Excellence will be held at a Gala Dinner on the evening of Wednesday 26 March 2014.

In 2014 the IPWEAvic Public Works Conference is themed around Engineering a Liveable Community.  The program has been divided into 4 distinct technical streams

  • Stream A – Roads, Traffic, Transport
  • Stream B – Project Management
  • Stream C – Waste Management
  • Stream D – Asset Management

The Conference Committee is seeking presentations that will stimulate and expand thinking in line with each of the conference streams within the conference theme:  Engineering a Liveable Community.  If you would like to be considered for presenting at the conference please send in an abstract by Friday 30 August 2013 to for consideration by the conference committee

Abstract Submission

Abstracts are to be submitted by email to by Friday 30 August 2013:

  • The abstract must be typed, no less than 100 words, no more than 300 words
  • Include 10-20 key word description of the abstract and 100 word biography to introduce presenting author
  • Abstract file to be named yoursurname_abstract.doc emailed to
  • Lodgment of abstract does not indicate automatic inclusion into the Conference program
  • Lodgment of abstract acknowledges consent to publication of presentation on IPWEA website
  • Communication will be with presenting author only. Abstract receipt & acceptance acknowledged by email.
  • Presenters will be required to fund their travel, accommodation, conference registration & other costs
  • Successful authors will be notified in October 2013; specific speaker instructions and timings will then be provided

Register your interest in attending or sponsoring by email to with contact details.

The recent VAGO Report - Organsisational Sustainability for Small Councils tabled on 12th June 2013 identifed some finanical sustainabiltiy indicators for counsils.  These are reproduced below

Financial sustainability indicators for councils

Indicator Formula Description
Underlying result (per cent) Adjusted net surplus/ total underlying revenue A positive result indicates a surplus. The larger the percentage, the stronger the result. A negative result indicates a deficit. Operating deficits cannot be sustained in the long term.Underlying revenue does not take into account non-cash developer contributions and other one-off (non‑recurring) adjustments.
Liquidity Current assets/ current liabilities Measures the ability to pay existing liabilities in the next 12 months.A ratio higher than 1:1 means there is more cash and liquid assets than short‑term liabilities.
Self-financing (per cent) Net operating cash flows/ underlying revenue Measures the ability to replace assets using cash generated by the entity’s operations.The higher the percentage, the more effectively this can be done.
Indebtedness (per cent) Non-current liabilities/ own-sourced revenue Comparison of non-current liabilities (mainly comprised of borrowings) to own-sourced revenue. The higher the percentage, the less able to cover non‑current liabilities from the revenues the entity generates itself.Own-sourced revenue is used (rather than total revenue) because it does not include capital grants, which are usually tied to specific projects.
Capital replacement Capital expenditure/ depreciation Comparison of the rate of spending on infrastructure with its depreciation. Ratios higher than 1:1 indicate that spending is faster than the depreciation rate.This is a long-term indicator, as capital expenditure can be deferred in the short term if there are insufficient funds available from operations, and borrowing is not an option.
Renewal gap Renewal and upgrade expenditure/depreciation Comparison of the rate of spending on existing assets through renewing, restoring, and replacing existing assets with depreciation. Ratios higher than 1:1 indicate that spending on existing assets is greater than the depreciation rate.Similar to the investment gap, this is a long‑term indicator, as capital expenditure can be deferred in the short term if there are insufficient funds available from operations, and borrowing is not an option.

Source: Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

Risk assessment criteria for financial sustainability indicators

Figure A2 Risk assessment criteria for financial sustainability indicators

Source: Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

Overall financial sustainability risk assessment

Figure A3 Risk assessment criteria for financial sustainability indicators

Source: Victorian Auditor-General’s Office.

The Victorian Auditor General’s Office has released a report on the Orgnisational Sustainability of Small Councils, tabled 12th June 2013.

Find the report to read at this url

Findings included advice around:

  • Financial trends
  • Effective financial planning and asset management
  • Effective and efficient service delivery
  • Recruiting and retaining qualified and skilled staff
  • Population ageing and/or population changes
  • Defined benefits superannuation shortfall
  • Support and guidance

The 7 Recommendations made:

  1. Councils should clearly identify and publicly report their sustainability challenges and associated strategies and actions, including how they will monitor, report and evaluate their effectiveness, using relevant and appropriate performance indicators.
  2. Yarriambiack Shire Council should develop a long-term financial plan and all councils should update their existing plans in accordance with better practice.
  3. Councils should review service planning and delivery in accordance with Best Value Principles as a priority, including:
  • assessing overall service delivery levels to determine appropriate levels and provide the rationale for their decision
  • consulting with their communities on their ability and willingness to pay for desired services in the development of the council plan
  • developing a plan to regularly review all services over time.

The Department of Planning and Community Development should:

  1. review and update its asset management guidance
  2. consider making the development of a long-term financial plan mandatory and provide support and guidance in the development of these
  3. routinely review the guidance and support it provides so that it is aligned with areas of highest need and addresses gaps in councils’ capability and capacity
  4. expedite implementation of the planned local government performance reporting framework and make sure it includes appropriate sustainability indicators.

Mildura Solar Plant has opened.  It is capable of providing electricty for 500 homes.

Click on the picture from ABC Radio for more information






Read this artilce from the Weekly Times 17th July 2013 edition regarding the project






Stuck in Mud

July 21, 2013 | No Comments | News

This man is stuck in mud. Click here to find out how this man was rescued from a muddy situation.

Click here to watch a one minute utube video of a man getting his construction materials to the higher floors of a multi storey building

Click here to watch a u tube clip of a “runaway” concrete buffer in the US

IPWEA is undertaking training in Melbourne on NAMS.PLUS2 on 24th July 2013.  Details

As you would be aware NAMS.PLUS2 is an IPWEA product and a tool to help councils write their own asset management plans in accordance with the IIMM and it also provides access to:

  • A suite of asset management planning templates.
  • A guided pathway to sustainable service delivery (220 page eBook).
  • On-line modelling.
  • Self-assessment maturity model (NAMF).
  • On-line Help Desk support service.
  • Training and support.
  • On-site support and assistance options.

All this at a very reasonable price.

Details of the IPWEA NAMS.PLUS2 online guided pathway for asset management planning can be found at .

This event was held on 11 July 2013 at ARRB offices in Vermont South and was generously sponsored by ARRB


Pavement Asset Management Fundamentals, Jon Roberts, Principal Research Engineer- Asset Management

Types of data collected relevant to pavements include:-

  • Traffic data
  • Climate data
  • Drainage data
  • Strength data
  • Environment
  • Road safety

STEP is used to estimate remaining life (structural testing evaluation pavement).

A TDS vehicle is soon to be delivered to ARRB.  It is suited to use on long stretches of road and gets best results from travel at 40 to 80 km/hr and will be used on main highways work in the first instance.  There is at least one years work booked for the vehicle when it arrives.   After that time it can be considered for use on local roads.  Possibly another unit may be purchased.

An alternative method for use on local roads to measure strength is the falling weight deflectometer.   The deflectograph is best for urban streets and short lengths of road giving results every 100m.  The benkelman beam can also be used.

High roughness and cracking in a pavement does not necessarily translate into a low strength pavement

Pavement Performance Modelling and the LRDS, Dr Tim Martin, Chief Scientist – Asset Management

A local roads deterioration study was undertaken between 2002 and2011 including 236 organisations.  The results of this study will be presented at the ipwea public works conference in Darwin in August 2013

Selecting an Appropriate Surfacing for Your Needs, Kym Neaylon, National Technical Leader – Pavements and Surfacings
Roughly 90% of Australian road pavements are sprayed seal and 10% are asphalt
Good drainage is the key to a good pavement

Low traffic loading generally have a spray seal pavement whereas high traffic loading generally require an asphalt pavement.   However the Hume Hwy is a sprayed seal pavement with high vehicle loading a but here the traffic is not stopping and starting so a spray seal is acceptable.

There are many different surfacing treatments available.   Australian roads technical reports explain when best to use each type of surfacing.  Here are some rules of thumb

  • Single/single sprayed seal     7mm -> 10 mm-> 14 mm  Used for light traffic with the stone size increasing as the traffic loading increases which increases the amount of bitumen on the road.  Bitumen should be placed 2/3 of the way up the stone.
  • Double/ double sprayed seal  10/5 -> 14/7- >14/10
  • Polymer modified binder PMB   S10E – > S15 E -> S20 E
  • Reinforced seal ( bandaid treatments) – fibres -> geo fabric
  • Asphaltic concrete ( significant traffic loading)  AC7-> AC10 -> AC 14 – > AC 20

Never use a highway mix for a residential job
Highway mixes are designed to resist rutting and heavy traffic loading
Residential roads want lots of bitumen as they sit there and deteriorate in the sun.
Treatments :  Given traffic loads and function of pavement there are many tools available to assist in determining appropriate treatments.  Look in AustRoads Guides.

Challenging job surfacing a runway in Oslow in WA which was built on a salt pan with salt pan.

Optimum Mix Designs and Q&A Specifications, Shannon Malone, Laboratory Manager
Consider the VicRoads 400 series
There are 152 general and conditional mixes
This gives opportunity to pick a “green” mix where possible

How long will your concrete bridge last? Dr Ahmad Shayan, Chief Scientist – Concrete Technology, Materials Sciences
ARRB has developed a service life predictor for concrete bridges.
Steps in rehabilitation of an Existing structures

  • Field study
  • Patch repair
  • Apply Catholitic protection
  • Replace corroded steel

Alkali – aggregate reactor ( AAR) Diagnosis

  • Visual observations
  • Micro structural experiment
  • Residual alkali content
  • Experience
  • Strength


  • Select no reactive aggregate
  • Check cement composition ( C3A, SO3 , alkali)
  • Use supplementary cementitious materials in correct quantity
  • Use appropriate admixtures to reduce water content
  • Verify low permeability of low concrete

Freight and Heavy Vehicle Considerations on Local Roads, Adam Ritzinger, Specialist – Freight and Heavy Vehicles
Asset Owners and the Freight Industry have differing emphasis on their needs of the road freight network.  This gives rise to problems and opportunities.
We need to be aware of the next generation of heavy vehicles, some of which are not suited to Victorian Roads.
ARRB has developed the PBS route assessment tool RAT with MAV

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