We spoke to John Williams, CEO of Meinhardt-Bonacci, about the Australian construction and engineering industry, and how the company strives to provide innovative, green, and quality services to clients across the globe
Writer: Marcus Kääpä | Project Manager: Eddie Clinton
The Australian construction and engineering industries are in a state of continual evolution – production efficiency, sustainability practices, and new design challenges and techniques to successfully implement innovation in the sector are the driving forces of positive and progressive change.
However, this has not come without its challenges. For Meinhardt-Bonacci, the specialist engineering firm under the banner of the internationally spanning Meinhardt Group, an example of these challenges is shown through the slowed implementation of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) due to obstacles in the past year.
DfMA is aimed to develop innovative, sustainable, and efficient industry techniques to reduce on-site construction assembly and project costs and is implemented in a wide array of sector projects across the board. This has been affected by multiple challenges, including the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Despite this, the firm is steadfast in maintaining its quality service while adhering to all necessary safeguarding measures to reduce the potential spread of the virus.
As a key branch of the overarching company, Meinhardt-Bonacci are a specialist structural, civil, and façade engineering firm that commit themselves to producing innovative design solutions to meet the various needs of international clients since its original founding in 1981.
“We now have a combined 60 plus years’ experience of service within the engineering industry,” begins John Williams, CEO of Meinhardt-Bonacci.
“Both in Australia and internationally we have built a good reputation for our high-quality service, innovative ideas, and cost-effective designs.”
Today, the firm stands with a global team of 5,000 individuals across 52 offices delivering projects of the highest quality to industry clients. The teams based in Australia alone serve the aforementioned clients from offices in a variety of locations including Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Adelaide, and Auckland.
“Our strong base and clientele in Australia, as well as robust global presence granted by our quality services in the sector provide us with an advantage in the industry and stand us apart from competitors,” John Williams tells us. “While providing engineering services, our branch now also offers clients of the Australian market on investment and technical advisory services across the entire project cycle through our subsidiary ‘MGI Capital’.”
This expansion of services provides industry clients with broader options and presents the firm with equally broader opportunities for expansion and growth to serve a wider customer base. It also provides Meinhardt-Bonacci with the grounding and consolidation of varying industry sectors to meet the needs of those clients.
In January 2020, Bonacci Group merged with the Meinhardt Group with the purpose of broadening the expertise of both companies and combine their international experiences to grow and better serve their client base in the construction and engineering industry.
This merge has allowed the company to achieve exactly that, and it is shown through each of its impressive international projects.
One of these is the Ribbon Hotel, located in Darling Harbour, Sydney - a redevelopment of the Sydney IMAX Retail and Entertainment Complex. It is known for its magnificent views of the harbour frontage and the complex showcases a 22-storey tower cantilevering 27 meters horizontally.
“The Ribbon Hotel provides a six-star hotel with over 400 rooms, serviced apartments, a world-class IMAX theatre, quality restaurants, and a retail space with a function centre,” John Williams explains.
“The complex will feature large floor plates up to 3,500 meter-squared, all interconnected with voids and stairs, providing efficient and collaborative space.”
The project is an aspirant of a six-star Green Star design. In order to achieve this level of sustainability, tri-generation green technology is implemented to provide the complex with low carbon electricity, heating, and cooling, as well as the integration of solar panels to the curved ribbon roof to provide on-site electricity.
“The building is a special project to Meinhardt-Bonacci as we are proud to work on a project that will become an architectural focus and landmark for Sydney in the many years to come,” John Williams tells us.
“It presented as a challenge in terms of engineering design and innovation that the team was happy to tackle. They provided innovative ideas as the project encountered some unique and unusual design constraints and challenges in order to achieve the unusual curved architectural form,
“The curvilinear shape required raking columns on both the east and west building envelope resulting in large lateral loads that were resolved via a strut and tie system,” he adds.
This complex exemplifies Meinhardt-Bonacci’s growth and broadening of services, as well as the professionalism provided by a firm with decades of industry experience and know-how.
“The acquisition from Meinhardt has greatly benefitted the company,” John Williams says. “Meinhardt-Bonacci can now offer more engineering consultancy services, such as the addition of building services (hydraulic, fire, and mechanical engineering), detailed design engineering, and certification of BMU support systems to our clients and projects.”
Onward and upward
Amid the hard work, innovative projects, and aforementioned challenges, a key factor to the driving success of Meinhardt-Bonacci is its relationship with its supply chain partners – individuals and businesses that are highlighted as an important aspect of past, present, and future company endeavours.
“We are part of the ‘Prequalification Scheme for Consultants in Construction’ which enables us to provide quality engineering consultancy services for government-funded schools and hospitals in which we are always engaged in,” John Williams explains.
“We have also recently been successful in being regarded as an Authorised Engineering Organisation (AEO). Meinhardt-Bonacci will be able to deliver and engage in engineering services collaboratively with Transport for NSW (TfNSW).”
Over the coming years, the firm’s key priorities are to continue with its successes in school infrastructure and NSW health projects, as well as increased collaboration with its building services and subsidiary branch MGI Capital, and working with TfNSW closely on various projects including the engineering and design for bridges.
Meinhardt-Bonacci remains steadfast, innovative, and progressive as it moves through 2020 and into the new year.