For councils around Australia, asset management is a crucial responsibility, one that is becoming increasingly difficult to manage as more climate-related issues arise. From extreme heat to devastating floods and severe storms, councils often spend significant time and resources recovering and replacing damaged assets, causing community and environmental disruption. To eliminate this, councils are turning to innovative solutions to manage assets proactively.
Though essential, asset management is often costly and invasive, inconveniencing not just residents but the environment as well – with construction and prolonged use of chemicals affecting flora and fauna.
Managing assets with the future and changing climate in mind is critical in helping councils recover from disasters with ease, and prepare for an uncertain new world of challenges.
The main obstacles all levels of government face in asset management are securing funding to complete necessary works, environmental disruptions and inconveniencing the community due to prolonged area closures and disruptive construction noise.
Therefore implementing proactive, sustainable and non-invasive solutions is critical for councils to create safe communities, both now and in the future.
Mainmark – an internationally-recognised ground engineering and asset preservation specialist – provides non-invasive and low impact solutions that remediate assets instead of replacing them, saving resources, costs and the environment.
Managing assets for future challenges
In recent years Australia has faced unprecedented natural disasters, which have forced councils across the country to carry out extensive asset management and rehabilitation.
Asset management and rehabilitation are commonly performed on a reactive basis – taking place after disasters have struck or in response to infrastructure problems.
Reactive asset management is essential, but as climate change accelerates, governments need to adopt a proactive approach to securing future assets in anticipation of these extreme events and to minimise impacts in environmentally sensitive areas.
Additionally, when constructing new infrastructure, such as seawalls, buildings and footpaths, councils should plan and consider an asset remediation plan to manage and prevent issues before they arise.
Issues such as ground subsidence and instability, which can manifest in infrastructure as uneven flooring and cracks, are usually remedied through re-levelling – an often time-consuming, expensive and disruptive process.
Mainmark’s state-of-the-art resin injection solution, Teretek®, offers asset remediation with less labour and disturbance for the community involved – remediating and fixing existing assets, instead of replacing them entirely.
Sustainable remediation for all kinds of locations
Replacing disaster-affected or damaged infrastructure in its entirety provides tangible results in the short term, but when looking at the long term can be unsustainable and costly.
Fortifying and improving existing infrastructure to eliminate future rebuilding or replacement is a sustainable way councils can secure assets, reduce costs and lessen environmental impacts. This can be done by strengthening existing infrastructure, increasing its durability and tenacity, and improving the ground-bearing capacity of the surrounding area, securing the infrastructure.
Asset management in environmentally sensitive areas is especially precarious, as necessary steps must be taken to preserve and protect the natural surroundings.
In ground-bearing capacity improvement projects, it is critical that the deployed solution is sustainable for the environment and doesn’t result in soil or groundwater contamination and disruption to flora and fauna.
Mainmark’s Teretek® is environmentally inert – meaning it has no effect on the wildlife, soil quality or groundwater of the surrounding area.
Teretek® helps to solve pre-existing soil weakness or subsidence problems, while providing a strong foundation for prospective building and future infrastructure, and eliminating the need to rebuild foundations.
The keyhole approach to asset management
Building re-levelling and maintenance often involves large-scale excavation. When this excavation occurs in urban areas, it can lead to prolonged downtime, blockades, community inconvenience and disruption.
In traditional excavation, buildings in the affected area often need to be evacuated, meaning the relocation of families for the duration of work in residential instances.
In retail or warehouse situations this excavation means business and activity on the site is forced to cease, heavy machinery or stock needs to be moved, and at mine sites, heavy vehicles and machinery must avoid driving over the affected area.
For these reasons, asset remediation and management solutions that are non-invasive to the environment and surrounding area are crucial. Mainmark offers Teretek® as a ‘no mess, no excavation’ substitute to conventional re-levelling methods.
With Teretek®’s application process likened to keyhole surgery, this method results in less disruption to the community, no prolonged site closures, and no loud construction noise.
Case study: Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve causeway
Tidbinbilla Nature Reserve, located in the Australian Capital Territory, consists of more than 54km² of protected environment and is home to ample local flora and fauna.
In 2021, Mainmark was commissioned to repair a causeway located across Mountain Creek in the reserve that had suffered serious damage from a series of heavy rainfall.
The cause of the damage
The infrastructure of the causeway was significantly compromised in multiple places due to the force of the creek’s water flow, which had intensified to a raging torrent following torrential downpours. Before the rainfall, the area had also been damaged by bushfires, destroying vital areas of protective vegetation.
As a result, the creek’s fast-flowing water was able to breach the causeway infrastructure in numerous places and wash away large amounts of soil fines from the embankment, resulting in several voids and major erosion beneath the causeway.
The causeway features three 12m concrete-reinforced culverts, situated beneath the road and within an embankment, consisting of compacted bedding material and backfill, with an aging bluestone protection wall supporting the culvert pipes.
A ground penetrating radar test commissioned by the ACT Parks and Conservation Service, determined that while the road was structurally adequate for general vehicle use, the load limit had been compromised, preventing trucks and tourist buses from accessing the road.
Ground improvement works were required to stabilise the embankment and re-support the ground beneath the road, protecting the culverts’ long-term performance and stopping further damage.
Non-invasive remediation: fixing the causeway
Due to the causeway’s environmentally sensitive location, replacing the existing culverts was quickly ruled out as an option.
Due to the difficulty of the project, Mainmark was commissioned to provide an environmentally safe, non-intrusive and cost-effective remediation solution.
The solution would need to fill the voids, strengthen the weakened backfill within the embankment and re-support the surrounding culverts and concrete roadway – so the bluestone protection wall could then be repaired.
The solution also needed to provide long-term protection against further erosion and prevent water infiltration into the bedding and embankment.
Mainmark’s Teretek® engineered resin was deemed to be the ideal solution due to its ability to increase ground-bearing capacity without damaging the already compromised culverts.
Before commencing the project, a leak barrier was constructed between the work zone and the creek to ensure the ongoing safety and protection of the surrounding area.
Backed by a 50-year product warranty, Teretek® resin injection treatment commenced, where the environmentally inert engineered resin was injected into the ground through very small tubes.
Once injected into the ground, Teretek®’s resin components combine, triggering a chemical reaction that expands to strengthen the ground and re-level the infrastructure and concrete slabs quickly, creating a long-term solution without a hefty price tag.
The desired result
Mainmark technicians were able to target areas where weak soil and voids had been identified in the ground penetrating radar report.
The project immediately re-established ground support to the embankment and concrete roadway, with little interference to the surrounding nature reserve.
Teretek® proved to be an extremely cost-effective and environmentally safe alternative to replacing the culverts, which would have required road closure and expensive excavation works and may have resulted in environmental damage.
The entire project was successfully completed within two days, after which the road was immediately re-opened to traffic, including heavy vehicles.