Rapid Growth Projects (RGP 5&6) - Marine Works


Customer: BHP

Contract: Design and Construct

Location: Pilbara, Western Australia


Ports & Coastal Solutions Australia


Fast Facts

  • 1650 m of new wharfing constructed over 2 projects
  • Over 600 steel piles installed
  • 30 berthing dolphins constructed
  • 500 tonne wharf modules lifted into position by heavy lift ship
  • 350 person peak workforce
  • 7% indigenous employment

During the Australian resources boom (2004-2014), McConnell Dowell was engaged by BHP to deliver two new iron export wharves on a fast tracked program to support their rapid growth program (RGP) initiative.

RGP5 involved the construction of a 900 m main wharf; 17 berthing dolphins; transfer decks; wharf conveyors and an elevated conveyor to a transfer station. RGP6 involved the construction of a 750 m main wharf; 13 berthing dolphins; transfer decks; wharf conveyors and an elevated conveyor to a transfer station.

To meet the fast tracked program, while delivering safely and to a high quality, the McConnell Dowell team broke new ground in large-scale marine modularisation, making it central to our construction approach.


For each project, up to sixteen topside modules each measuring 50 long x 30 m wide and weighing up to 500 tonnes were fabricated in China, shipped to Western Australia on a Heavy Lift Vessel and lifted into position on the pre-driven piles.

Approximately 7,000 m3 of precast concrete planks and 6,000 m3 of insitu concrete completed the deck structures. McConnell Dowell’s Batam fabrication facility and Perth precast yard also contributed to the modular solution with temporary works items and precasting of the wharf deck panels.

McConnell Dowell developed and implemented a new temporary works system - allowing land access for all work areas and reducing the reliance on scaffolding, punt access and harnesses. This system is now used on all McConnell Dowell marine projects.

For each project, the plant fleet included 13 barges to service the various workfronts. This large flotilla of craft required constant logistical management to maintain construction efficiency and to ensure coordination with port operations and other stakeholders.

McConnell Dowell's peak workforce was 350 personnel with 7% of the team being local indigenous trainees participating in the Pingku Program. This program was a BHP initiative aimed at developing employment pathway options in the building and construction industry for young indigenous people in the Pilbara region. McConnell Dowell was a strong supporter of the program offering traineeships in construction, administration and warehousing.

The projects were completed safely, on time and within budget, leaving a positive relationship between McConnell Dowell and BHP, and leading to McConnell Dowell securing numerous other major marine projects in the Pilbara.

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