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Taming the land so that others can build
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Geovert has established a name for itself with its extensive ability to stabilise and anchor earth that is in or near a construction site. Anthony Teen, the Director of Geovert, started the company when he saw that he could offer the construction industry a very specific and necessary service. Part of the package that has made Geovert so successful is that they have maintained their equipment and the technology they implement to the highest standards of the industry, meaning that they are constantly investing in more sophisticated materials and techniques.
Geovert was started in 2001 by Teen and his friend Josh Green, identified the need for a specialised civil works and rope access services for larger companies to partner with. Geovert’s name comes from what they do; Geo for their geotechnical work, and vert for their vertical rope access. They operate across many sectors, and this has given them an advantage, says Teen. They can take what they learn in one place and transpose it to solve problems they may find in another sector. They have expertise in road, rail, mining, oil and gas refineries, dams, commercial developments, and are expanding their offerings to the private sector. They were used in a 2006 case study and commercial for Vodafone NZ’s Mobilise ad campaign promoting Blackberry handsets. “I don’t know how well the ads worked for Vodafone, but I know that many people forgot it was a Blackberry ad and thought it was an ad for Geovert,” laughs Teen. The finished ad itself does make the work they do look exciting, and Teen says that aspect is certainly true. “There is never a dull moment,” he comments.
Dealing with tragedy at home
The company’s expertise was even called upon during the recent earthquake in Christchurch. Anthony Teen started the company in New Zealand so this particular event holds a lot of meaning to him and the staff at the company. “We went through some of the areas I grew up in and the devastation to the rural areas, which was not much reported, was truly heartrending,” says Teen. “The expressions on people’s faces when we went to work were almost enough to make the whole thing worth it.” Geovert created a team of specialists that began working in the Christchurch area. There they reinforced slopes, cleared rockfalls, and even conducted some blasting in order to stabilise the area. The New Zealand based company felt it was their duty to help in the recovery efforts as well as help the communities involved. Much of the effort was made to protect houses and businesses at the bottom of the slopes, and was an initiative that Teen saw making a real difference. Their expertise in slope stabilisation and rockfall protection not only covers situations like the disaster in Christchurch but also in everyday projects dealing with roadways and new projects.
Getting to work
Teen says that in recent years, both Australia and New Zealand have been experiencing increased demand for these services as well as clients who are increasingly savvy about the technological developments in the industry. This means that at the same time that they are finding an increased workload, they have made a real effort in educating their clients about the processes and systems that they put into place. “This may also be influenced by heightened public awareness to safety and associated geotechnical or natural hazard risks in today’s society. There is also an increased level of safety required by local authorities for the building consent process,” says the company.
They have also noticed that as the development of land that was once considered undesirable has expanded, as well as the monitoring ability of those involved, issues dealing with earth stabilisation have increased. To answer this they have looked at solutions that are both economical for the parties involved and ecologically friendly. The issue of environmental practices is ever on their mind at Geovert; it’s not something they simply pay lip service to.
Stabilisation and rockfall protection
Within their stabilisation and rockfall protection work, they have an extensive list of services that include blasting & scaling, rock bolting & shortening, passive mesh drapes & netting, active slope stabilisation systems, retaining walls, and debris & rockfall barriers. With this they find that they are able to access many sites with a very responsive mobile team that can react to events, especially at sites requiring stabilisation near roadways. They have plied their expertise in this area in Australasia, South East Asia and the Pacific. With the mesh drape systems they have protected numerous commercial and residential assets, as well as roadways and rail systems.
With the flexible slope stabilisation systems that Geovert utilises, not only can they offer an extended design life with their products, but they allow for the revegetation of the areas that they have installed them on. This gives the end product an environmentally friendly and sustainable appearance.
Ground engineering systems
Geovert began with their ground engineering systems, and has built on these systems over the years. By incorporating themselves into the early stages of a projects development, they are able to provide their clients with support from the second the design process begins until the cutting of the ribbon on the final project. “Between the Australian and New Zealand offices, our engineers draw on their vast amounts of experience working on foundation engineering projects locally and internationally,” says Teen. The supervising team that Geovert employs at every jobsite also insures that not only is the job done on time and on budget – but it is done right the first time.
Rope access capabilities
When it comes to Geovert’s rope access capabilities, Teen says that “it certainly isn’t a job for anyone. These guys work in very difficult environments, and at great heights.” Of course one of the first things Geovert makes sure of is that all of their projects involve a very important focus on safety. In fact, their record shows that Geovert endures considerably lower accident rates using their rope access equipment to accomplish jobs than they would have by adopting different methods to do the same work. Through their development, Geovert has maintained its status as a market leader and innovator in this field, says Teen. Since many of the structures they work on with their rope access team are still actively running, they have put into place systems and methods that either minimise the downtime that is required during their operations, or negates disruptions to their clients workflow entirely. They have built their one-of-a-kind solutions through their experiences across multiple industries, says Teen. “Since we are multidisciplinary, we often find solutions to problems that other, more specialised companies would not have the experience to implement,” he says.
Within their rope access portfolio they boast strong offerings that include everything from inspection and testing to pressure blasting and repainting. Their technical expertise in the testing aspect of the job provides their clients with seamless services and support using a variety of methods. In confined spaces they have implemented technology and methodology that lets Geovert employees operate in almost any environment and location. This is not limited to the vertical, but horizontal tunnels and pipes as well. An important part of what they do is their blasting and painting functions. Coating and painting can often prolong the life of a given structure, repair faults, or even increase efficiencies, and a fresh coat of paint never hurt any industrial structure.
Investing in the future
They have invested into the company and have maintained an AS/NZS 9001:2008 standard for their quality management systems, but have put into place their own systems that also guarantee that the customer walks away pleased with the delivery of their services.
In the near future, Teen sees that mining and public works projects offer many interesting and important opportunities for the company. Their team started small but they have built their capabilities to match market demand, and have learned to do what they do better than anyone else operating in their sector.