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Meet the Team – Ruwanika

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In 2019, Madsen Giersing welcomed Ruwanika Piyasena to our team in the role of Structural Engineer. Having worked and studied across a range of engineering sectors from buildings to Structural Dynamics and Blast Analysis, Ruwanika applies her wealth of knowledge and experience to each project to find innovative engineering solutions for our clients. We caught up with her to find out a bit more about her journey through the industry.

Why did you become an engineer/drafter?

I became an engineer because I loved maths and physics, so naturally I landed on studying engineering. When it came to choosing between the many different streams of engineering, like mechanical, electrical, computer or civil, the obvious choice for me was civil because I have always been fascinated by structures.

What do you love about engineering/drafting?

I love seeing designs take form into real structures. It makes me proud that I am part of projects that the world will marvel at.

I also love that engineers can find solutions to every problem. I used to watch documentaries about how some of the worlds world most phenomenal projects came to life, and in all of them I noticed one thing; no matter what architectures design and no matter how impossible it is to bring that design a real structure, engineers always have an innovative and practical solution.

What are you working on at the moment?

One project I am working on is an access brow and davit design for FMG. The access brow, which is a gangway that gives access to tug boats, is definitely a challenging yet enjoyable project for me as it includes several mechanical components that require extreme accuracy and attention to detail.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

Last year I accomplished a long awaited dream of mine, which was completing my PhD in Structural Engineering. It was seriously hard work, but I am so proud that I stuck through it.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

I have mostly been working on temporary works projects, however a recent one involving crane support frame for pile driving has been my favourite. When designing this, we had to consider several practical scenarios and limitations as two cranes were operating on the frame simultaneously and we had to rely on existing piles as well.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?

Never be afraid to explore new fields in engineering. As a graduate engineer I used to work on the structural design of buildings, then I started working on my PhD which was in Structural Dynamics and Blast Analysis, and now I am designing marine structures and temporary works. The knowledge I have gathered from each of these fields is priceless.

What excites you about the future of our industry?

The most exciting thing is how we can apply new technology into structural designs. While the basic physics and mathematical theories will always be the base of the designs, we can always improve the quality and accuracy of the designs with new technologies such as finite element analysis, ANN Techniques, optimisation techniques and coding applications.

What would be your dream project to work on from history?

Sydney Opera House. When I was a kid I watched a documentary on how engineers and architects designed and constructed this world marvel. I was fascinated by how engineers invented solutions to all the problems to get the final spectacular outcome that people from all over the world visit Sydney to see.

What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring engineer?

Don’t limit yourself to one field or path. If you have come so far as an Engineer, it is only a matter of time and just a bit of hard work for you to transfer your knowledge and focus to a new area of expertise.

What would your last meal be?

Rice, stir-fried prawns and vanilla Ice cream to finish off.

What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?

The Good Place – it’s an American fantasy comedy series. It was a little different to what I usually watch which are thrillers or mystery, but I enjoyed it a lot.

Who’s the greatest engineer of all time and why?

I admire Antoni Gaudi. He is not an Engineer, but a Spanish Architect. During a tour to Barcelona I got to visit most of his amazing designs and I started admiring his attention to detail and innovative ideas. I also love the fact that Spain is still benefiting from his masterpieces almost a 100 years after his death. If you haven’t heard of Gaudi, look him up – you won’t be disappointed.

Project Completed – Motukea Wharf Upgrade

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Madsen Giersing is delighted to have completed our latest project for Curtain Bros on their Motukeir Island complex in Papua New Guinea. Since 1998 we have been involved in the design and development of many of the facility’s marine structures, and our latest project saw the team design a new general loading and unloading wharf.

Designed to accommodate a 280 tonne crawler crane, Lasse Madsen outlined the unusual elements that make this project one of a kind “This project has a couple of unique design elements. Firstly, the location of the wharf is a challenge as there is a lack of locally suitable rock that we would usually use for support and protection. To overcome this, we designed a concrete mattress on which is placed on the slope to protect the revetment from scour.

“Secondly we were asked to reuse existing materials as part of the structure and were able to recycle curved gas line pipe sections to form supports for the wharf’s dolphins. Part of the way in which we work, is to always look at what the client has in terms of materials and how they can be best used to keep construction costs down, whether that is across temporary works or permanent structures.”

Improving Safety and Connectivity in Brisbane’s Western Suburbs

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We have recently been involved in the design and delivery of a temporary load-out jetty for the Georgiou Brady JV as part of the development of the $37 million Indooroopilly Riverwalk.

The new Riverwalk will provide improved connections for road, rail, cyclists and pedestrians and will feature significant improvements in safety and efficiency.

Lasse Madsen discussed Madsen Giersing’s involvement “We’re delighted to have worked on this key project and look forward to seeing our partners in the Georgiou Brady JV deliver an important link in Brisbane’s active transport network.”

“As always our focus was on delivering the most efficient safe and solution to operating in a marine environment and we are delighted that our involvement in the project has assisted out client deliver this project for Brisbane City Council.”

When complete the project will see:

  • A five-metre-wide pedestrian and two-way separated cyclist facility
  • Shared cyclist and pedestrian connection to Foxton Street from the Riverwalk
  • An upgrade of the Foxton Street and Radnor Street intersection to create a safer environment for all road users
  • Connection to the Jack Pesch Bridge and Indooroopilly Rail Station by linking the Riverwalk to the existing path at Witton Barracks
  • A dedicated pedestrian connection to Riverview Terrace
  • Viewing platforms on the Riverwalk overlooking the Brisbane River and the iconic Walter Taylor Bridge
  • Lighting along the length of the Riverwalk
  • Landscaping and wayfinding signage

We are looking forward to seeing this project come to life in our city and will keep you updated on its progress.

Lasse Madsen Appointed CEO of Madsen Giersing

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Madsen Giersing is delighted to announce that Lasse Madsen has been appointed to the role of Chief Executive Officer, with Peter Madsen moving to a new role as a company director, effective 1 July 2020.

After more than 30 years and 1,300 projects delivered across Australia and Asia, Peter believes it is the right time to pass on the baton to the next generation “I’m very fortunate to be able to pass control of Madsen Giersing to Lasse, who will lead our organisation as we look to build on our successes and continue the fantastic work we do for our clients.”

“I will remain heavily involved, but the time is right for me to strike a balance between the hard work of running a business and spending more time with my wife, Ulla, and our children and grandchildren,” said Peter.

Lasse outlined his immediate priorities as CEO, ”For our clients and staff, it is business as usual. We have a very strong reputation for delivering outstanding engineering solutions, and my highest priority is to continue to provide exceptional outcomes for our clients’ projects.”

“As we head into the next chapter of our business, I’d like to thank the people and clients who have helped and supported us, and I know that everyone at Madsen Giersing is looking forward to continuing to work on major projects across Australia and Asia,” said Lasse.

Connect with Lasse on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/lasse-madsen-17b30227/

Join Us – Leadership Position in Boutique Engineering Consultancy

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About Madsen Giersing

Outside the box thinking – an all too common catch phrase for some. Not for us however. At Madsen Giersing (MG) we take the box, and turn it into something extraordinary. Through a collaborative approach and tapping into our many years’ experience, the MG team delivers innovation unlike others in the field.

This approach has led to MG having a proven track record in the delivery of projects across Australia, PNG and South-East Asia, specialising in the innovative design and engineering of marine structures, bridges and temporary works.

About the Role

This is a permanent full-time position available for immediate start based in our Brisbane office.

  • This position offers technical work, project management and business development
  • This position will lead and manage projects within the Marine and Coastal Infrastructure, Temporary Works and Construction Solutions, Bridge and Structural engineering disciplines
  • This position prepares engineering designs, calculations and verifications, specifications, and technical reports
  • This position will further oversee the work of the engineering and drafting team providing input and guidance to the engineers and drafters on technical areas
  • Adherence to internal procedures, processes, and quality measures, which are carried out in accordance with our quality control system, which is third party certified to AS/NZS ISO 9001:2015
  • Over time, this position will grow to assist the Principal Engineer/Operations Manager in the preparation of tender documentation and fee proposals as well as maintaining and growing relationships with clients
  • Occasional travel may be required in line with the development and delivery of projects

To be successful in this role, you will have:

  • A Bachelor’s degree in Engineering
  • Minimum 5-7 years’ experience
  • RPEQ status
  • Project management, contractual, and commercial skills
  • High level technical and problem-solving skills, including the ability to produce practical and functional designs to an extremely high standard
  • The ability to effectively manage projects and consistently meet project schedule timeframes and budgets
  • Solid verbal and written communication and interpersonal skills, with established skills in preparing reports, specifications, proposals and tenders.
  • Knowledge and proven experience in structural design software and modelling
  • You must be eligible to live and work in Australia to be successful in applying for this role

Why Choose Madsen Giersing

Don’t be deceived by our size. We may be a smaller firm in size, but the projects we work on are industry leading.

  • We are the leading innovators in Structural Design Engineering specialising in marine structures, bridges, and temporary works
  • Provide engineering consultancy services to both private and public sector
  • Projects are based in Australia, PNG, and South-East Asia
  • Long term respected client partnerships
  • Large challenging projects

What we offer

  • Remuneration and benefits in line with experience and qualifications
  • A fantastic working environment in a modern top floor office in Newstead with close proximity to public transport and The Gasworks and Emporium complexes with their fantastic cafes and coffee shops.
  • End of ride facilities including bike storage and showers
  • Close knit culture and open-door policy

To apply, email sam@madsengiersing.com.au with a cover letter detailing your experience and what you will bring to our organisation, referee details and a copy of your current C.V.

No agencies please

 

Meet the team – Elizabeth Webb, Administration Assistant, PA

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In the role of Administrative Assistant & PA, Elizabeth Webb draws from her customer-focused approach and experience from both architectural and engineering sectors to bring stability to daily operations around the office. We caught up with Elizabeth to talk about her appreciation for the engineering industry and its influence on our communities.

What made you want to work in engineering?

Fate threw me into the world of engineering with my first position out of commercial college being with a large Scottish firm of mechanical engineers starting up a new Brisbane office.  I stayed with them for 5 years then enrolled in the university of life with a stint overseas for the next 6.  I’ve worked in the IT games industry and heritage architectural spheres, but I have loved coming back to engineering.

What do you love about working in the engineering industry?

Standing on the shoulders of giants is the basic answer.  Thanks to the talents and skills of engineers, the beauty of buildings and infrastructure can be revealed.  Their ability to design infrastructure which enables life to proceed safely and simply using maths and physics is both mystifying and exciting to me.  Working for architects gave me an appreciation of beautiful design, however the engineers are the unsung heroes making all that possible. Working with the team here at Madsen Giersing who constantly strive for excellence makes me get out of bed each day.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

Keeping responsive and being able to adapt and change has meant that I can pivot industries and bring my skill set to a new table.

What’s has been your favourite project Madsen Giersing has worked on?

Gladstone East Shores Stage 1B definitely was one of Madsen Giersing’s more creative projects.  It was a trailblazing style of project which reimagined a disused barge to be converted into a floating transfer pontoon and swimming pool – with the design talents and expertise of Madsen Giersing’s senior engineers.  Unfortunately, in the end, the project was put on hold, but the journey was definitely interesting.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?

The little things matter.  Being a team player and staying open to change is also fundamental.

What would your last meal be?

Peking Duck Pancakes, champagne and coffee-flavoured gelato.

What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?

The Last Kingdom – it’s a (fictional) Danish series on the Vikings invasion of Britain.  The characters are strong and wild!

What excites you about the future of our industry?

As engineering has always had its eyes on the future, ready to wield the helm of change, it is most exciting seeing women enthusiastically enter the industry and bringing with them a different clarity and perspective.

I can see that the world they step into is truly welcoming and encouraging some reform. This is demonstrated by Engineers Australia’s CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans influencing and championing other younger women to step into this vital space.  Madsen Giersing can proudly boast female graduate engineers who are being mentored and provided amazing opportunities to bring forth their years of studies into engineering theory.

Meet The Team – David Gallagher

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Madsen Giersing’s Senior Drafter David Gallagher joined our team over 20 years ago. Throughout this time, David has been involved in a broad range of permanent and temporary work projects including wharves, cruise terminals, bridges, piling frames and other various marine and temporary structures, across Australia and South-East Asia. As well as this, David manages our company’s IT requirements. Within the company, David also wears a second hat as Madsen Giersing’s IT Manager, overseeing all of our hardware and software requirements.

Why did you become a drafter?

I’ve always been fascinated by geometry. As kid I was always drawing with rulers and set squares, and it was during my junior graphics class that the school first introduced CAD into the curriculum – soon it would be time to upgrade our first home PC, a 286XT with 2MB running MSDOS.  Fast forward to an introduction to engineering at university and applying for a job at Madsen Giersing, where my passion for technical drawing and IT remains strong.

What do you love about engineering?

I love the variety of projects and challenges that we are faced with daily, and being able to work alongside people with different backgrounds and interests.

What are you working on at the moment?

Currently I am working on a waterside infrastructure remediation which involves designing a temporary bridge to aid in the partial demolition of existing jetty and the construction of the new superstructure. On the IT side of things, I am in the process of upgrading our server and backup system.

What has been your greatest professional achievement?

As the industry and technology changes, I believe my greatest achievements are yet to come!

What’s the best project you have worked on?

There are almost too many to choose from, but one of my favourites was the Brisbane Riverside Expressway Bearing Replacement, which involved designing a falsework system used to support bridge jacking system and hanging formwork system. It was a challenging project as we had to develop new systems for existing infrastructure while the existing infrastructure was still in use.

Another one would be Wiggins Island Coal Export Terminal. This involved as adjustable piling frame for wharf and dolphin pile driving, requiring complex geometry optimized to reduce adjustments during use.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career?

Always ask questions, as many as you can think of.

What would your last meal be?

Easy. Agedashi Tofu, Sashimi and gyoza. Or Tacos.

What is the last movie you watched or series you binged?

It was an awesome South Korean TV Series called Kingdom, full of swords and zombies!

Who’s the greatest engineer of all time and why?

Brunel.  I’m not sure he’s the greatest, as not all his endeavors were successful, but his pioneering contributions to the design of tunnels, bridges, railways and ships proved to be incredibly innovate solutions that furthered modern engineering.

What excites you about the future of our industry?

I am mostly excited by new developments in software for 3D Modelling/BIM, and changes in the collaboration and design process.

What piece of advice would you give to an aspiring drafter?

Always take pride in your work.

 

Giving Pioneering Engineering A New Lease of Life

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As engineers, we work in an industry where we strive to design solutions that last a lifetime and are all aware of the great work undertaken by those before. This understanding provides us with respect for the design ingenuity and thinking that went into the pioneering approach to connecting Australia’s regions.

A perfect example of this is the North Coast Railway line which opened up Queensland’s East Coast to high-speed travel. Covering 1,680km from Brisbane’s Roma Street to Cairns, the railway was and still is a vital connection for people and commerce. Linking Brisbane, Nambour, Gympie Maryborough, Bundaberg, Gladstone, Rockhampton, Mackay and Townsville to Cairns, the railway turned a journey that would have lasted weeks overland into a 52-hour trip on opening in 1924.

These days with high-speed trains, the journey is much faster, but by and large, the railway still uses the same route and infrastructure from when it opened. And at Madsen Giersing we are fortunate to be working on a stretch of railway that dates back almost 150 years as we bring a new lease of life to bridge structures through modern technology, modelling and design.

Engaged by Canstruct as part of a D&C contract with Queensland Rail, we are reinforcing 150+ years old, heritage-listed cast-iron piers that hold up bridges within the Wide-Bay region.

Lasse Madsen outlined our involvement “This is a fantastic project to be involved in, because of the challenges it presents, but also due to the fact that we get to work with engineering designs that were directly responsible for opening up Queensland and connecting people and goods throughout the state.”

“Because of their age and design, each pier is heritage listed, and although they are coming to the end of their life and could easily be replaced with simple concrete supports, our challenge is to create a solution that preserves and extends their lifespan without fundamentally changing the look of the structure.”

The piers are designed in sections, with bolted joints connecting them and concrete reinforcing the interior. Over time, however, they have had to cope with larger trains and higher loads than ever before and battle the Queensland climate, which is not the kindest to cast iron. Therefore, they require upgrades to extend their life.

“Our team spent a considerable amount of time analysing the structures and identifying weak points in the piers, such as bolted joints and creating solutions that would remove any weakness, strengthen the structure and meet the requirements of heritage listing.”

“Essentially, we came up with a second skin solution involving a reinforced concrete and FRP wrap around the cast iron concrete-filled piers, which doesn’t destroy the look of the piers and complies with the heritage guidelines. In simple terms, it is like wearing a compression bandage that supports and strengthens a limb without changing its appearance.”

Madsen Giersing were then engaged to investigate the cast-iron pier behaviour under load, specifically the bolted connections between pier segments. This verifies the previous work completed, improves the knowledge on these types of piers and assists Queensland Rail in managing their existing assets.

In partnership with Canstruct as the contractor we worked with the University of Queensland using sections from decommissioned bridges to undertake a testing programme that would provide a full structural analysis which could act as a baseline for bridges of a similar age.

“Working with UQ enabled us to utilise their facilities to undertake comprehensive testing in a controlled environment, using the latest technologies and techniques.”

“Through our testing and analysis, we can provide feedback on bridge performance and help a major asset owner to keep vital transport connections operational,” said Lasse.

Meet The Team – Yasintha Bandula Heva

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Yasintha joined Madsen Giersing in 2009 as a structural design engineer. Prior to this Yasintha worked as a structural engineer for Kumagai Gumi in Sri Lanka where he was involved in the design of temporary structures for the Southern Transport Development Project . Since joining Madsen Giersing, he has undertaken the design of permanent and temporary structures including wharves, jetties, bridges, piling frames and various marine structures and temporary structures.

We caught up with Yasintha to find out a little more about what he enjoys most about engineering.

Why did you become an engineer?

Growing up in Sri Lanka, with my love of mathematics, engineering was the natural choice for me. It  carried a significant prestige and were thought of as the perfect career, especially for anyone who had ambitions for higher study.

What do you love about engineering?

There is always something new to learn; we are very fortunate to be involved in an industry that does not stop developing, challenging the way things have been done and trying to come up with new solutions to the challenges that the world faces.

Whether that is through learning about new materials and how we can apply them to structures or embracing the multitude of new technologies that are making an impact on our industry. There is always an opportunity to test yourself and improve your skills.

I also love that engineering is like a craft – almost a bit like cooking – there is a skill, process and recipe that makes for a great result and the most skilled practitioners are the ones who succeed. There is a part of me that worries that the skills we have are becoming eroded as we let technology take over. It reminds me a little of those food processors where you simply add ingredients and out comes a finished cake. To me, that is not cooking, and while I like and respect certain technologies, to preserve the quality we have in engineering we have to strike the right balance between human design and problem-solving versus abdicating our skills to a machine.

What are you working on at the moment?

I’m working on Port North Common Use Berth upgrade project.  As a part of the upgrade, we are undertaking the full design of a new fire service platform and an access jetty for the existing fuel unloading platform in the Brisbane river.

What has been your greatest professional achievement to date?

I have always been a believer in continuous learning and professional development, so for me, it has to be being recognised as a Chartered Professional Engineer. Being recognised by my profession is the culmination of many years of hard study which has seen me obtain a degree, masters and PhD and to commit to continuously improving my skills and knowledge.

What’s the best project you have worked on?

It was the Wiggins Island Coal Terminal Project in 2013.

At this stage in my career, I was a junior engineer, and Wiggins Island Coal Terminal was the first large scale project that I was responsible for designing independently. We were responsible for the designing of temporary works for pile driving for the terminal and at such an early stage in my career working on this project was a massive boost to my confidence and made me believe that I was embarking on a career where I would be successful.

What’s the most useful thing you’ve learned throughout your career? 

Engineering is something to be proud of. I have a huge sense of achievement whenever I can see what I helped to build; something that has been designed to last for decades into the future and will make a difference to people lives or how a business performs, or how goods and products move around the world.

You cannot underestimate being able to say “I designed that.”

Who’s the greatest engineer of all time and why?

I am going to have to choose three engineers, each of whom has inspired me personally in my career.

The first is the Mr. Yazaw, a Japanese engineer who’s words I still remember to this day “If you identify the problem, it is 50% solved.” This is such simple and powerful advice and is the starting point for designing an engineering solution to a problem.

Secondly is my PhD supervisor Professor Mahen Mahendran who guided me to achieve my qualifications and in the process of doing so changed my life through their support, advice and wisdom.

And finally, is Peter Madsen. Peter has been a mentor to me in my time at Madsen Giersing and has helped me to be a practical engineer who has a passion for helping achieve great results. Peter always have a practical solutions for the problems.

What excites you about the future of our industry?

I think it comes back to my earlier point about technology. I believe the brightest and most exciting future for engineering is if we can harness the skills and experience of an engineer and use technology, whether that is through AI or BIM or yet to be invented technology, to support the engineer, rather than replace them.

The beauty of engineering is that designs can be unique, they can be bespoke to the conditions and environments in which they operate, and that is important and something we could lose if technology makes engineering creativity ‘standardised’.

What would be your dream project to work on?

I have made Brisbane my home and love living here, so it would have to be one of the major projects transforming the city. I’d have to say Cross River Rail as it has the potential to improve transport, create new hubs and to make a long term difference to the city, a positive difference from which my family will benefit.

What do you do outside of work?

I often joke that I come to work to have a rest from my three children. That is not true, but they do take up a lot of my time at weekend. Whether that is going to our temple to worship or watching my elder son take his first steps as a junior cricketer, my time is spent pleasurably  with my wife and three kids as a family, which is the best thing in my life.

Bringing The World’s Biggest Cruise Ships to Brisbane

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Port of Brisbane’s new $177 million Brisbane International Cruise Terminal is progressing well, and the team at Madsen Giersing have been heavily involved in designing the project’s mooring dolphins.

Engaged by Brady Marine and Civil (BMC), we were challenged to design the most effective and constructible solution to safely and securely moor the world’s biggest cruise liners when they come to town.

Peter Madsen led the design team “We love a challenge, particularly when it comes to marine engineering and are delighted with the outcome we have designed for BMC and Port of Brisbane.”

“Working in any marine environment poses its challenges, and the Brisbane River is no exception. The riverbed is notoriously soft, which makes constructing marine structures challenging, especially when we factor in the forces at play when a cruise ship is moored.”

The conforming mooring dolphins design for the anchor points involved a four pile system with rock design anchors, but upon analysis, we worked with BMC to come up with an alternative that was not only more cost-effective but easier to construct.

“The four piles system was a great concept, but instead, we used a single pile on a much larger scale, to be able to withstand the forces involved. The Oasis of The Seas is one of the largest cruise ships afloat at 225,782 gross registered tonnes, and our approach would enable ships up to 300,000 gross registered tonnes to safely anchor in Brisbane.”

The design comprised a single pile, 41m long and a 4.3m diameter with a concrete cap which removed the need for rock anchors and was significantly quicker to construct.

For more information on the Brisbane International Cruise Terminal, please visit: https://www.portbris.com.au/cruise/

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