Metrocorp Technologies

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Metrocorp Technologies
Metrocorp Technologies
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Working in some of the harshest environments in the industry

David Short, CEO of Metrocorp, says that his company does some of the most complicated and specialised work out there. “It’s not a job for everyone, but we do it very well,” he says. Their journey began 20 years ago with the founding of Metrocorp, which began as business with a core operational focus on remedial engineering, concentrating on the structural repair of buildings.

They have since expanded their offerings to include infrastructure, tunnel, and other major repair capabilities. “Over the years we have moved more into the structural repair of infrastructure, like bridges, tunnels, dams, and wharfs,” says Short, trying to provide a quick overview of all the functions that they are able to fulfil. Presently, Metrocorp has been receiving acclaims for their work on many of their tunnel projects. “There were three awards in 2010, and all of them were associated with the structural repair of tunnels. One was for a job that was done over ten years ago and is still in very good condition. The other two were associated with a very large job that we only recently completed. This was the structural repair of two kilometres of tunnel in the Hurstville/Rockdale area.” Besides the recognition that they have received for their various projects, they have worked to live up to their own high standards.

“It is highly specialised work,” says Short. “It is also done in potentially dangerous environments, but we have many years of experience in this and over that time we have developed systems and methods that allow us to go into those environments and carry out our work safely.” Thankfully, with the high levels of controls that Metrocorp has in place they have experienced very low levels of illness or injury related to the work. “We use ventilation in the confined spaces, and we monitor for gasses. We also provide intrinsically safe lighting systems, and we monitor the flow conditions.” This last point is important, says Short, because they are often rehabilitating important infrastructure that is still active. “The guys are working in the sewer flow because it is just impossible to shut down something that big or important.”

Along with their unique abilities in repair, especially with the structural repair of tunnels and sewer systems, Metrocorp is dealing with some very hostile environments. With this in mind they have developed stringent safety and monitoring systems that are meant to protect their workers, minimising the possibility of accidents and injury. Short attributes the lack of job-related illnesses to the strict decontamination processes they engage in during their time working. “We are very concerned about our worker’s health, and we demonstrate it through our processes,” says Short.

Interesting but difficult

The industry as it stands now is a very robust and interesting one, Short explains. “Over the last 10 years in the tunnel restoration aspect of the business we have been able to reduce the price by 50 per cent and we have been able to increase the speed in which we can do the rehabilitation by a factor of 10.” These are not small numbers for their clients. When infrastructure reaches its end-of-life, Metrocorp can do it faster, cheaper, and with little to no impact on the demands placed on the infrastructure systems during the time they are working on them.

“What has allowed us to do this is innovation across the board,” says Short. He says that everything from surface preparation, to the introduction of hydro-demolition technologies (and other process improvements) have allowed for this expanded capability. “We are really good problem solvers, but we are sensible. We are growing, but we are doing it in a comfortable way, in a sustainable way. If we take on a contract, then the client can be assured that we have the human resources, the financial resources, and the expertise to deliver that contract at 100 per cent,” says Short. He wants to make sure that Metrocorp will not overextend themselves, but will still keep on challenging their abilities and honing their skills.

They are sometimes in a difficult position: the work is hard, specialised and skilled labour is in demand from other sectors, especially the mining sector. But Short says that the real challenge of getting quality skilled people is to keep the work interesting. “We want to build a real sense of team work with our people; we want it to not be just a job.”

“We are also able to take on huge restoration projects, and I think that it speaks to our capabilities that we have developed in managing large projects,” says Short.  Their expertise in managing their skill pool and capabilities has translated into success on the ground; it also has built a reputation for them as an organisation that is able to take on any job, and do that job well.  For the future, Metrocorp Technologies is looking to maintain organic and sustainable growth. The difficulties that they sometimes experience in getting the skills they need in the workers they need indicates to them that they must continue to grow within the constraints of the market and not overreach their capabilities. “This type of growth is the most appropriate path if you want to maintain the level of services that we now do. If we want to maintain this excellence; it primarily has to be through organic growth,” says Short.