It’s not enough to build better infrastructure for a community. To do the right thing is to also ensure the wellbeing and safety of its members as tonne after tonne of asphalt is being churned out from industrial plants and road after road is being paved. Our responsibility in civil engineering is to truly make these communities more sustainable as we change them.

In asphalt production and services, safety and wellbeing must be ensured from the very first steps to the final product – from workers and the communities living in close proximities to asphalt plants, to the public using the roads we pave.

We maintain rigorous standards of training in health and safety practice for all staff. We also adopted the NSW Roads and Maritime Services’ Worker on Foot program as industry best practice, and are open to innovations which promote employee’s safety. Our priority is that our staff return to their families safe and sound at the end of every working day.

As an innovator in sustainable civil engineering, we are keen to follow global trends with hopes to adopt these technologies in the future – for instance, porous paving as a means to reduce urban run-off. Once paved with a certain type of porous asphalt, roads across neighbourhoods become more harmonious with natural process, letting rain and stormwater percolate through layers of filtering materials – porous pavers, sand or gravel, coarse gravel – to finally infiltrate the layer of soil underneath.

This helps re-establish a more natural hydrologic balance, and lessen the load for the stormwater system by gradually releasing rainwater instead of allowing it to flow freely in large “chunks” into the system. Although this type of asphalt can only support light traffic loads, the result still performs excellently in preventing flash floods and site run-off near factories, commonly caused by impermeable concrete paving.

Asphalt profiling provide roads – especially highways – with better traction and skid resistance for vehicles travelling at high speed, also thanks to the introduction of porous asphalt paving which keeps water from pooling on road surfaces. These asphalt roads are also quieter – with quiet pavement technologies like two-layer open-graded pavements, noise reduction is reported to be reduced by 3 to 10 decibels, the equivalence of reducing traffic volume by half.

To build better roads is just the starting point – we strive to build safer, quieter, and more sustainable facilities for our communities.

At Kypreos Group, people are our driving force: our management, employees, stakeholders, and members of the public. We endeavour to include the larger community in all we do from planning to following-up, we hold ourselves accountable for the safety and health of communities, and we are committed to doing the job right.

Q: What can be made with the equivalent of 252 glass bottles & 300kg of recycled asphalt?

A: A tonne of Yalliphalt – one of the latest innovations in environmentally sustainable civil construction materials in Australia.

Our extensive range of fixed and mobile asphalt plants across NSW includes the latest High Recycling Technology (HRT) Series mixing plants. These plants are the most advanced facilities of their kind in Australia, capable of producing up to 50 percent recycled asphalt. We also have the capability to manufacture Low Carbon Asphalt, reducing energy consumption and emissions through the production process.

In civil engineering and construction, asphalt has been the most environmentally sustainable paving material thanks to its recyclability. As asphalt pavements are 100% recyclable, Kypreos Group is committed to utilising this RAP (reclaimed asphalt pavement) in asphalt mix designs. Now, asphalt is being combined with recycled glass and soft plastics to make tougher and even eco-friendlier roads, driveways, highways and, soon, airport runways.

In August 2018, the first ever “rubbish” road in Australia, Rayfield Avenue, was constructed with Plastiphalt in a northern suburb in Melbourne. Hume City’s mayor Geoff Porter said the amount of rubbish going into this 300-metre stretch of road was comparable to what could be collected in Rayfield Avenue residents’ recycle bins over a 10-year period.

A few months later, in October 2018, ACT Minister for Roads announced the start of the state’s annual resurfacing program for 2018-2019, which will include the trial of Plastiphalt on existing sections of Horse Park Drive and Gundaroo Drive.

Normally, asphalt production involves mixing an aggregate (crushed stone and sand) with bitumen, a by-product of crude oil distillation which acts as a liquid binder holding the asphalt together. The connection to plastic lies in that both bitumen and plastic are polymers, whose long strands of strongly bound together molecules give them the strength and longevity required in road construction. So instead of producing more bitumen, manufacturers can add soft plastic to the mixture, which helps prevent billions of plastic bags and glass bottles from ending up in already gigantic landfills.

What’s more: in Plastiphalt, the plastic is completely melted into the bitumen like sugar in hot coffee, leaving behind no traces of microbeads that are detrimental to marine life when dumped into bodies of water. The one caveat upon its first introductions was its infancy – only time could tell whether this environmentally sustainable material is also structurally sustainable. On the other hand, this type of asphalt is cost competitive, and improvements have been made to fatigue life, giving road surfaces more longevity and capability to handle heavy traffic.

Before the addition of waste and recyclables to asphalt, companies like Kypreos Group had already been endeavouring to utilise warm-mix asphalt (WMA) technologies to reduce carbon footprints. The lower temperatures required for WMA production and placement compared to traditional hot-mix asphalt means a reduction in both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

These environmentally conscious attempts are not limited to Australia. In fact, since 2002, at least 16,000 km of road in India has been paved using asphalt made with bitumen-modified plastic, thanks to the ingenuity of Dr Vasudesan, dean and professor of chemistry at the Thiagarajar College of Engineering. The very first 20-metre prototype of plastic-modified bitumen road within his campus is still going strong after almost twenty years.

In New Zealand last year, a large-scale trial of plastic-incorporated asphalt was conducted at Christchurch International Airport. 3100 four-litre plastic oil containers went into the 250 tonnes of asphalt laid in half of the airport’s fire station. The mix was specially designed to handle heavy to extreme vehicle traffic loading typical of ports and airport projects.

Joining these major efforts in waste reduction, Kypreos Group is devoted to monitoring our ecological impact and our environmental footprints, through the implementation of eco-friendly technologies and pollution prevention. We are taking strides to build the roads of tomorrow, sustainably.

A major growth region of Sydney


With a projected population of 3 million by 2036, of which the majority is working-age, Western Sydney is considered by the NSW government to be a key growth area in the state.

The region extends from Canterbury-Bankstown in the East to the Blue Mountains in the West, and from the Hawksbury in the North to Wollondilly in the South, consisting of 13 local government areas. Western Sydney reportedly has the 3rd largest economy in all of Australia, as the area alone comprises 8% of the country’s GDP.

Now with more sustainable infrastructure in the near future


In November 2018, Kypreos Group opened our new $20 million facility of State Asphalts NSW in St Marys, Western Sydney. This new plant officially introduced 50 permanent new jobs for the suburb’s residents and is capable of producing 300 tonnes of asphalt every hour. It has put our company’s name on the map of larger government plans – the Western Sydney Aerotropolis (formerly Western Sydney Airport Growth Area) and the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan.

Expected to finish in 2025-2026, the Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan has $2.9 billion invested by the Australian Government. The focus is on road and rail linking the future Western Sydney Airport with key surrounding residential and commercial areas.

Some major projects include construction of the new east-west M12 Motorway to the airport, upgrade of The Northern Road and Bringelly Road to a minimum of four lanes, and a $200 million package for local roads upgrades over ten years. This creation of new infrastructure is one of Greater Western Sydney’s growth plans with $35 billion of projects down the pipeline.

Not only must the new infrastructure be innovative; it must also be beneficial to residents and must not harm our ecosystem. The technologies employed by Kypreos Group – such as warm mix asphalt (WMA) and reclaimed asphalt pavement (RAP) – aim for environmental sustainability, and are used with people’s well-being in mind.

And growing job opportunities to boost the economy


One of the biggest challenges facing Western Sydney in the past was jobs deficit, with a talent pool outsizing the number of vacancies. As of 2015, roughly 300,000 Western Sydney residents travelled outside the region every day for work.

But with the Western Sydney City Deal – a partnership between three layers of government: Federal, State and the local governments in the region – 200,000 new jobs are to be created across a vast range of industries in the next two decades.

The plan is to transform Western Sydney into the single largest new employment space in NSW, creating job opportunities for local residents to work closer to their dwellings. According to the Western Sydney Employment Area plan in 2014, the state government aims for more than half of new jobs in Sydney to be created in this region, by 2031.

Proud to be a part of the force making these changes happen, we want local companies to be part of all innovations, and focus on working with local business to provide jobs and to boost the region and the state’s economy.

Our place in the plan


We believe quality asphalt production and services are crucial to any infrastructural innovations. The ultimate, long-term goal must be improving the quality of life for the people living and working in Western Sydney, making the region attractive to skilled workers and investors, and liveable and sustainable for its communities.

Kypreos Group is committed to involve communities throughout our projects. Workers’ and the public’s wellbeing and safety are at the core of our values. For more details about our services and contributions to NSW and Australia’s growth.

For over 10 years State Asphalt Services & Sydney Road Profiling have been the contractor of choice by NSW Government for pavement maintenance on this iconic Australian mantlepiece. Most recently in 2022, State Asphalt Services was chosen to upgrade 3 x lanes on the Bridge. This involved precision planning and flexibility in resources to ensure minimum inconvenience to the public. Our crews have delivered this project during public holiday weekends, when traffic is at it’s lowest point, re-opening for the commute to work for Sydneysiders as normal daily traffic resumes.

On 19th March 2012, the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge celebrated its 80th birthday. This monumental occasion called for complete re-profiling of the deck to improve the waterproofing and asphalt surfacing, reducing the need for later reactive maintenance. Except for small-scale trials prior to its start, the project was the first ever of its kind since the Bridge’s construction decades ago.

Sydney Road Profiling (SRP) – part of The Kypreos Group – took on the entire milling works. From organisation and management to execution of this mammoth part of the operation, we delivered.

The Project


Commissioned by Road and Maritime Services (RMS) alongside several other contractors, SRP and The Kypreos Group were allowed two weekends and another for contingency to complete the milling, with approximately 8-10 hours per weekend.

Without needing the back-up weekend, The Kypreos Group wrapped up the operation within the allotted time, with stellar outcome. Surveying of the milling job after it was done showed that all levels were within a minute ± 5mm. This profiling ensured a clean, flat base for the new waterproofing membrane and the new and smoother asphalt driving surface for travelling vehicles.

Client Challenge


The most challenging aspect of the Harbour Bridge re-profiling project was the sheer amount of logistics that went into it, all having to comply with the time allowance. The status of Harbour Bridge as one of Australia’s largest iconic structures and key transport gateways gave the project high publicity, adding to the already immense pressure. This was a road that had to be opened on time, no matter what, so there was no room for error.

Assembling all the pieces of plant and trucks was a tough task given the central location of the job site. All approaching roads had to be closed off with the help of police escorts. This massive number of workers and equipment, all in a restricted site rushing against time pressure, raised the risk of injury significantly which required immense care and thorough planning to minimise.

Also, there was the critical need to moderate the amount of water used to curb the dust produced during milling, since a too-wet milled surface would hinder the subsequent application of the waterproofing membrane.

What We Delivered


By committing to taking on the responsibility of organising the entire milling works, SRP and The Kypreos Group stood out. Few other profiling companies would want to manage a project of this size from start to finish like requested by RMS: most organisations would prefer simply hiring out their machines and operators and leaving the management to another party.

This thorough commitment involved fortnightly planning meetings with RMS to discuss, in painstaking detail, options to tackle the project and to solve any restrictions as they cropped up. It also entailed hiring and managing additional external labouring crews and profilers, trucks, jackhammers and bobcats.

The Kypreos Group brought our entire fleet of profilers to this operation: Wirtgen W210, Wirtgen W2000, Wirtgen W100F, Wirtgen W350, Caterpillar PM-200, Caterpillar 226B, Bobcat S250 plus various trucks and air compressors. On the second night, there were over 75 pieces of plants and more than 120 people all managed by us, of that 8 pieces of plants and 18 workers were in-house.

All the operators were handpicked for the project and needed to be able to work quickly and, most importantly, accurately while under immense pressure, and the machines must be in perfect working order. SRP and The Kypreos Group had unique stickers made for all the trucks and plant so they were easily identified and contactable, the plant movements were planned out to the metre. Everything was timed and organised to the quarter hour. The success of the project was down to such detail and strict safety management.

If you are in search for quality, safe and sustainable asphalt production and profiling services, The Kypreos Group is at your call. Visit our website to browse what we deliver. 

$211.2 million was the estimated value of the Australian future transport market, as of 2016. According to a 2018 report from the Centre for Future Work at the Australia Institute, the transport sector is the ninth largest employer in Australia, with 625,000 workers.

The industry is constantly shifting, with the most recent government’s plan already in motion – the Future Transport 2056 strategy is a vision for the next four decades of transport in NSW, covering motorway, rail and light rail. Such expansion puts great demands on the state’s infrastructure, calling for two supporting strategies – the Regional NSW and the Greater Sydney Services and Infrastructure Plans.

Although it is impossible to predict with precision how far the future’s transport can go, there are positive signs of a focus on sustainability as an integral part of innovation. Here are what can be expected from the transport system of the (near) future, and why, in our view, infrastructure innovation must be at the heart of these changes.

1. Human – workers and the public – at the centre of innovations

4/7 global megatrends listed on the NSW’s Future Transport site are about the public. These range from customer demand and flexibility with life and work, to adapting to an ageing population and the promotion of healthier lifestyles, and to workers’ health and safety.

Public transport will be promoted as a means to keep the public healthy through walking for short trips to stations and stops. As the public become more and more informed through social media and the web, they have more say over what should be provided in terms of public transport services. To keep up with convenient ride-share services, public transport systems are increasingly incorporating technologies like real-time updates and live timetables, to maximise convenience for commuters.

Convenience and safety Issues such as passenger congestion or slippage on station platforms are being addressed and thoroughly researched by the Australian Centre for Rail Innovation. For consistent quality of the railway network, Kypreos Group are one of those who deliver end-to-end niche rail projects, including ones with difficult access; for instance, the 20km of the Down Relief Line from Auburn to Granville back in 2005-2006.

With the rise of the “gig economy”, employees in the sector face foreseeable, rising risks of insecure work, lack of proper training, and weaker reinforcement of safety standards. However, at Kypreos Group, we are proud to keep a long-term vision, treating our employees with respect and integrity. We uphold strict training procedures, and are constantly adopting new technologies in safety and health management. Our work culture is one of continuous learning and performance improvements, and we are committed to developing and retaining Australian talents.

2. Increased harmony with our planet

It is essential that the future’s transport be environmentally sustainable, with minimal impact – noise, waste, emissions – on the natural ecosystem which we are a part of. Better public transport systems would encourage people out of their cars, to instead walk, cycle, and take buses and trains. This helps reduce private passenger vehicle trips, which produce ten times more GHG emissions than rail and light rail and thirty times more GHG emissions than NSW buses.

As the transport sector relies heavily on fossil fuels, it is crucial to invest in an overhaul, transitioning forms of transportation to renewable sources of electricity. Consequently, this requires extensive modification of roads and fuelling stations to suit new types of vehicles.

Asphalt is an indispensable component of a better infrastructure network for many years to come – its recyclability and strength makes this material future-proof. To make it even more eco-friendly, companies like Kypreos are moving towards using warm mixed asphalt (WMA). Made at a lower temperature than traditional hot mixed asphalt (HMA), WMA is a more energy efficient option, helping to reduce emissions during asphalt production.

3. Rapid technological innovations

Nearly 90% of the existing timber sleepers in Australia will need replacement by 2025, according to researchers at the University of Southern Queensland. Civil composites research is being done to address this costly problem, hoping to revolutionise the Australian infrastructure industry with the use of fibre reinforced polymer composites in civil engineering and rail/road construction.

Meanwhile, in September 2018, Australia’s very first on-demand driverless car was revealed in Perth. These futuristic cars are expected to become the dominant vehicle on Australian roads within two decades and can potentially remove 90% of on road crashes.

A month later, a Gold Coast tech firm announced that all-electric passenger planes could be put in commercial use in as little as four years. As of now, battery-run airplanes are already in use, but on smaller scales such as for pilot training. In 2019, Qantas said they would consider adding hi-tech amenities to their long-haul aircraft – VR meditation, gyms, cafes. To keep up with these ambitions, airport infrastructure would require intensive updates, which we are eager to contribute to.

 

We at Kypreos Group endeavour to deliver innovative and sustainable infrastructure, to better serve our communities. Our elite fleets are suited to a vast range of civil engineering services, from plant hiring and haulage to asphalt production and precision road profiling. To see our past and current contributions to building better transport facilities for NSW, visit our website.

A snapshot of the construction sector

As of 2018, Australia’s construction industry comprises 8% of our GDP, contributing $134.2 billion to the country’s economy. This largest non-service sector is attracting increasing investment as population rises rapidly and construction work in urban areas is speeding to catch up, with a consistent 2% growth in the total number of active projects every quarter. At the heart of these developments are the 1.1 million—and soon many more—Australians working in construction in various capacities.

The role of our people and our responsibility to them

To manage heavy building materials and large, potentially dangerous pieces of equipment, the construction industry needs strong and trustworthy hands. No matter how advanced, no excavators or road profilers can function without qualified people behind the wheel and no projects can take shape without skilful minds working out the nitty-gritty.

People are at the centre of this sector we are in. They contribute their strengths and skills, and the leaders in the industry in turn must provide them the training and support they need to perform at their best. This support can come in the form of professional training and career guidance.

Professional training and safety management

With a large part of companies’ investment going into machinery, it is crucial to have skilled, qualified workers to operate and maintain these pieces of equipment on a regular basis and to a strict standard. Doing this helps the machines last through years of extensive labour and become worth the initial expense.

The NSW Government expenditure encourages a focus on investing in skills development for all construction workers at every level. At the very basic, construction companies are obliged to provide employees with workplace-specific inductions at the beginning of every project. Safe Work regulations require any person new to the construction industry and carrying out construction work to complete general induction training (to receive the “White Card”), but in most cases, all workers starting at a new site are encouraged to participate in this induction, where they can familiarise themselves with the health and safety matters specific to that construction site. There is also task-specific training which aims to equip workers with crucial information and instruction to undertake a particular construction activity regarding the risks and control measures relating to that task.

Rigorous monitoring and assessment of safe working conditions and employees’ health is ingrained in our everyday procedures. Our safety training is well in line with government requirements—our safe systems of work have been measured and audited against both federal and international management system standards and consequently accredited against these benchmarks.

Safety of both the community and our personnel is what we consider success. It is our absolute priority to ensure that our people return safely to their homes and families at the end of each workday.

Career development

At Kypreos Group, we foster an environment of continuous education and support for our people—our most valuable asset—to advance their career paths.

Our training and development process is a planning and review circle, designed to support, challenge and encourage staff to reach their full potential. At every level of management, there is guaranteed to be regular, meaningful performance evaluation with supervisors who strive to give constructive feedback. We also provide clear development plans for staff to be aware of where their contribution fits into the larger goals of the company, and to effectively align their individual goals with the company’s operational and strategic objectives. All these practices enhance trust and ensure ongoing, open communication.

In the past, our graduate program has helped aspiring workers gain their footing in the industry, through providing these graduates with the mentorship and guidance of our senior staff, who are experts in the sector. Also, as a growing percentage of our workforce surpassed 10 years of service, we developed the 10 Year Club as a way to express our gratitude for their lasting contribution to our growth, and to recognise and celebrate their achievements.

We believe that showing genuine appreciation to staff and maintaining high levels of employee engagement is the key to staff retention and the fostering of a strong company – worker relationship.

When skilled and conscientious people are at the heart of what you do, it is your job to nurture their capabilities.

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The Kypreos Group is committed to promoting training and skills development opportunities. We deliver the right people with the right skills at the right time, to deliver company objectives and outcomes. To know more about our standards in safety and professional training, and to see the major projects carried out by our people – visit our website.

Designed and built as a set of structural elements to support the everyday operation of communities, infrastructure—roads, rail lines, electricity lines, water delivery systems, airports—makes up the scaffold for our day-to-day life. Infrastructure sustainability (or IS) is concerned with all these types of infrastructure, including but not limited to social facilities, ports, airports, telecommunications, waste management, water distribution, and other utilities. It refers to the capabilities to design, construct and operate infrastructure in ways that help maintain non-renewable resources, minimise pollution, and utilise renewable/recycle/reusable resources, so as to guarantee that the infrastructure can continue to function indefinitely.

In a restless time of threatening climate change, pollution, and resource depletion, it is now more imperative than ever to reinforce the standards in civil engineering and construction regarding infrastructure sustainability. The first step is for organisations to fully understand the benchmarks that are standard in Australia and other parts of the world, to then be able to implement them appropriately and with optimal efficiency.

How is infrastructure sustainability evaluated in Australia?

In Australia, the official organisation for IS was founded in 2007, under the name Australian Green Infrastructure Council (AGIC), as a result of a collaboration by 19 industry organisations. In 2012, it evolved into the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

Developed by ISCA, the IS Rating Scheme have become the only standard set of benchmarks for sustainable infrastructure planning, design, construction and operation in Australia and New Zealand. The system aims to evaluate the sustainability performance of the quadruple bottom line of infrastructure development: Governance, Economic, Environmental, and Social). Such a comprehensive approach has proven to be effective in fostering continuous maintenance and improvement of IS across multiple sectors, especially in public transport and other civil constructions.

In September 2017, based on the IS rating tool v1.2, ISCA launched the IS International Rating tool and the IS Operations tool. A credit-based, flexible rating framework, it is applicable to both developed and developing countries. Its development was in alignment with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Currently, the system is only used in Australia and New Zealand.

(The details of the IS Rating Scheme can be found on ISCA’s official website here.)

What are the other systems currently used in the rest of the world?

Outside of Australia, another commonly used system in IS evaluation is BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). First published in 1990 by the BRE Group (Building Research Establishment) in the UK, it is now one of the world’s leading IS method for masterplanning projects, infrastructure, and buildings. BREEAM covers the entire lifecycle of all built environments (buildings, roads, ports etc.), from new construction to in-use and refurbishment. Its specialty lies in that it places the wellbeing of inhabitants of built environments at the centre, while helping to presere natural resources and improve properties’ value. BREEAM has been used extensively in 83 countries, to register over 2 million buildings and award over 500,000 certificates.

Also developed by the BRE Group, CEEQUAL (Civil Engineering Environmental Quality Assessment and Award Scheme) is an evidence-based IS assessment, rating, and award scheme for civil engineering, landscaping, infrastructure, and public projects. Coupled with BREEAM, it has become influential in shaping the IS agenda for a vast range of infrastructure projects.

Why infrastructure sustainability? Why now?

The current Australia’s population of 25 million is projected to rise to 42.5 million by 2056 and to 62.2 million by 2101. This means that is is most likely impossible for the country and in particular the construction and civil engineering industry to rely solely on our depleting reservoir of non-renewable energy and other non-renewable resources.

To support such growth in the size of Australian communities, sustainability is one of the most effective aspects when constructing public infrastructure. Widely implemented, infrastructure sustainability will assist us in optimising our long-term environmental, social and economic outcomes. At the moment, many companies in the sector—the Kypreos Group included—have already integrated multiple innovations in sustainable construction into our processes. For example, in the past two years, several roads in the ACT, Victoria, and NSW have been paved with environmentally friendly asphalt containing tonnes of recycled glass bottles and plastic bags. This usage of recycled asphalt products contributes greatly to lowering carbon footprint.

Above all, the key is to improve organisations and individuals in the industry and the general public’s awareness of infrastructure sustainability, for its to truly create strong impact across all construction and engineering sectors.

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The Kypreos Group take Infrastructure Sustainability seriously. We are conscious about not only delivering quality jobs for our clients but also performing our social and environmental responsibilities throughout the process. We are constantly improving our products and production methods to improve safety, eco-friendliness, and environmental sustainability. To see our innovations in sustainable construction, visit our website.

Civil engineering and disaster management

Natural disasters – bushfires, floods, cyclones, or earthquakes – with their suddenness and ferocity, can severely disrupt the functioning of a society or community and result in mass environmental, economic, and human losses. These serious impacts could be prevented and alleviated with quality civil engineering planning and construction, as the industry plays a major role in shaping the physical fabric of the functioning of our society. Both preparation and post-disaster recovery must be considered throughout the planning, design, and construction process. This way, infrastructures can withstand disruption, absorb disturbance, and can be repaired more quickly afterwards.

Particularly, civil engineers are responsible for developing technologies which, once implemented, can enhance the strength and durability of infrastructures. This is then followed by the construction of infrastructures that are highly resistant to natural disasters. Some state-of-the-art developments are nanotechnology systems used for real-time condition assessment of structures’ safety and security, and identification of incipient damage in structures suffering from long-term deterioration.

In the case of unavoidable destruction and damage, it is then the industry’s obligation to partake in rescue operation and restoration works after the disaster has passed. This reconstruction involves not only recovery, but also improvement to the disaster-resistance qualities of infrastructures. Depending on the goal, adjustments might include watertight construction and floodwalls against flooding, hurricane straps, or soil reinforcement to prevent damages from landslide/mudslide.

Worldwide, countries prone to natural catastrophes have developed construction techniques tailored to most effectively protect manmade infrastructures and dwellers from danger. Japan’s notorious earthquake history of approximately 1500 earthquakes per year means that the country now has the most resilient buildings—including skyscrapers—in the world. The secret lies in that these buildings “dance along” as the ground beneath them moves. Buildings are designed to absorb as much seismic energy as possible, through a process called seismic isolation, in which the structures are put on a form of shock absorber to resist the motions created by the earthquake. These shock absorber systems can be as simple as 30-50cm-thick rubber blocks, used as the “footpad” for buildings. Motion dampers filled with liquid (such as oils) are installed throughout the height of the skyscrapers. Some elegant protective mesh is sometime added as both part of the intentional architectural design and part of the earthquake-proof system.

In Australia — against fire and ice

Every year, Australia suffers from an enormous number of roughly 50,000 bushfires. One of the worst disasters was the bushfire crisis in Victoria back in 2015, claiming at least 100 lives, hundreds of acres of property, and causing nation-wide distress.

To cope with the danger and potential destruction, a number of additional design, specification and construction parameters are essential to building in a bushfire-prone area. The Australian Standard AS 3959 assign risk categories to bushfire prone areas based on six different bushfire attack levels (BALs), from very low risk to extreme risk (Flame Zone). Each new home has to comply with the construction requirements for its zone’s respective BAL classification, regarding the design, composition, and construction/installation of windows, verandahs, carports, floors, roofs, and external walls.

Less severe, but still dangerous, are hailstorms and thunderstorms. A decade ago, most of Sydney’s roofing materials were evaluated as too flimsy to withstand the onslaught of summer storm season. Damages could cost up to millions of dollars to repair. Since then, standards have only gone up, to protect not only properties but lives. Hail netting structures are installed to cover vehicle parking lots, airport parking shade structures, and machinery storage spaces. New types of storm-resistant roofing tiles have also been developed and put in commercial use.

At the moment, one of the biggest challenges in terms of hail-proofing is that solar panels, which have become prevalent in households across the country, are still prone to severe damage by hailstorms. However, the number of hailstorms with hails large enough to cause significant damage is quite low, and efforts are still going into improving the weather-proofing capabilities of this environmentally-friendly form of energy source.

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The Kypreos Group’s mission is to provide the civil engineering industry with quality materials and services which are harmonious with the environment and which stands the test of time – view more of our works here on our website.