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The Year Ahead

Wherever you look in South East Queensland, construction sites are hives of activity – apartments, childcare, health, housing developments, major infrastructure projects, retail, industrial hubs and education developments are being designed, engineered and built on what seems like an unprecedented scale.

At Inertia, we are excited about the year ahead, and when we asked the team what is exciting them the most they came up with a very long list.

So, we sat down with two of Inertia’s Directors, Scott Clements and Dave Kelly, and Senior Structural Engineer & Team Lead, Chris Beale, to see what it is about 2018 that has them fired up for a stellar year.

Scott: There’s no doubt that there are some major projects in the works that have the potential to transform areas of the city, many of our suburbs and the whole of South East Queensland. Personally, I’m looking forward to 2018 being a year where progress is made; Cross River Rail, Brisbane Airport Second Runway, Queens Wharf and Howard Smith Wharves are all major projects that will make a real difference to Brisbane’s CBD and are all starting to hit their straps.

Chris: I agree, there are also some exciting projects throughout the rest of the city. The Valley Heart Retail Project is one that Inertia are really proud to be a part of – it will transform the Brunswick and China Town Malls and give them a new lease of life. I think that this type of regeneration project is what will help transform and modernise a lot of the city fringe and compliment the overall appeal of Brisbane.

Scott: Monarc at Everton Hills is a great example of this – we’ve just completed some concept work – and when the project gets the go ahead it will be an outstanding example of how master planning can develop an infill site and create a destination precinct. What I like about this development is the consideration that has been given to the project timings, so that stages of the development are completed in line with the roll out of Queens Wharf and the other major CBD projects.

It’s also going to be a great example of how we can take an integrated approach to engineering a solution, we’re acting as boutique consultants with an integrated flood, civil and structural design service to solve problems – watch this space as Monarc is going to be a spectacular addition to Brisbane’s northside.

Dave: Looking at the vision for Monarc, with its focus on retail and medical, I think this is something that we will see more of in the inner 15Km ring around Brisbane. Space will be at a premium, so there will be moves to create more infill projects, similar to Monarc, that spur on development in the suburb.

Townhouse design is something that is going to change in the year ahead. If you look around Brisbane, if it is flat, it has been built on. A lack of flat areas in the inner suburbs means that sites will be challenging – steep slopes, rock, existing infrastructure.

Alongside our partners, we are going to be working hard to unlock the possibilities that infill sites have for residential developments.

Chris: Our structural, civil and flood teams love getting their teeth stuck into sites that require a bit more thinking and creativity than the norm. I think we will see a number of projects in 2018 that need the complete Inertia approach to help avoid headaches further down the line.

Scott: There’s also the changing nature of the townhouse market – what were seen as starter homes and downsizing residences are now becoming highly desirable. Demographics are changing and to meet those changes so are designs. Budgets are increasing, and a premium is being placed on liveability, design and access to Brisbane city.

Dave: We have a project in Norman Park that is a good example of this – 10 Executive townhouses that use construction techniques similar to those seen in apartments – suspended slabs and basement excavations to maximise space and create premium residences in keeping with the suburb and its prime location.

Chris: Inertia’s flood team really came to the fore on this project. Flood analysis was crucial due to excess runoff during major storm events.  We developed a 2D model to determine characteristics under the existing conditions for a range of storm events, which meant that we could look at how each scenario would affect the proposed development and downstream properties.

We then factored in additional key considerations so that sewer, water and stormwater implications are taken into account across the multiple project stages. Our approach really gives our clients the confidence that we can mitigate for whatever the wild Queensland weather sends their way.

Dave: Yes, we love a challenge, I’m really looking forward to seeing how our cliffside townhouse designs for an interesting site in Newmarket are realised. Look out for updates on this one as the project progresses.

Scott: We also can’t look at 2018 without talking about the Commonwealth Games and the focus that they will bring onto the Gold Coast and the whole of South East Queensland. 1.5 billion watching on TV, 1.5 million spectators attending events and around 670,000 visitors will be seeing what Queensland is all about.

Dave: It will be interesting to see how this further tourism and spotlight on south east Queensland affects the economy and in particular investment into our industry.

Scott: At the other end of the glamour scale, the changes to the masonry code will never set the pulse racing, but from an engineering perspective have the potential to help us get a lot more out of block walls.

We’re lucky to be in an industry that constantly evolves in terms of materials and technology. Part of the fun that we have every year is keeping ahead of curve and making sure that we are across new materials, technologies and what they can do for our clients.

Chris: Up the coast, Rhythm on the Beach is going to be a great project to work on. Again, it is another project our team will enjoy, as the boutique design and styling will mean that we are not working on a typical project. To make sure that the client and the eventual property owners get the best possible commercial and lifestyle result, we have got to ensure that out structural designs fully compliment and support the overall aesthetic.

Scott: I’m also looking forward to drinking lots of coffee….and the odd beer. For us 2018 is also going to be about catching up with our clients and partners to see what 2018 holds for them and discussing how we can better assist them to reach their goals.

With so much going on, taking half an hour to catch-up is going to be an important part of what we do. When time is precious, the investment in collaboration and forming partnerships is going to be vitally important.

Dave: I agree, 2018 is going to be a year that moves at a million miles an hour – it is already February – so for me connecting with people and projects over a coffee or a bite to eat is a great way to catch up and see what we can do together to bring projects to life.

Scott: Internally we’re also set for a huge year.

We’re recruiting and always looking for talented people who can help deliver outstanding work. To make sure we have the skills our partners need, we are continuing to invest in our people and provide access to the opportunities, tools and resources that they need to grow.

And it isn’t all about the daily grind, our company events, barbeques, trivia nights, our community activities and the annual facial hair festival of Movember will once again be highlights of the year and are very much what Inertia Engineering is all about.

And that’s why we’re very excited about 2018 at Inertia Engineering. If you want to be part of our stellar year as a team member, client, partner or collaborator, we want to hear from you.

Get in touch and we’ll be ready for that coffee whenever you are.

Image credits: The Department of State Development, The Urban Developer, Rhythm on The Beach