Saturday, September 7th, 2013

Leading New South Wales electrical and communications contractors were recognised today (Friday) at the annual electrical industry Excellence Awards hosted by peak Australian industry body the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).

Nine companies across nine categories received the top state award in front of over 550 industry representatives including contractors, educators and government representatives at the premier showcase event for New South Wales’ electrical and communications industry at the Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, Darling Harbour.

NECA New South Wales Executive Director Oliver Judd said the winning companies were chosen because of their commitment to excellence, significant engineering achievements and importantly finishing the complex jobs on time.

“The electrical and communications contracting firms that have won an award are simply outstanding for what they have achieved during each project,” Mr Judd said.

“NECA received a huge variety of nominations and it is very encouraging to see the quality of work in projects ranging from the wiring of smart homes through to providing the electrical and communications systems for a major hospital.

“The judging panel were privileged to view such high quality projects and as always, NECA members have played a critical role in some of the largest and most diverse construction jobs in the state.”

The winning companies and their projects are listed below:

Category – Domestic Residence

A single residence project in the domestic sector where the applicant’s contract value is less than $1 million.

Winner:  Automated Innovation

Project:  Merewether Residence, Merewether

Why:       Automated Innovation was contracted to install a state of the art home electrical system - incorporating all electrical, data, audio visual and entertainment systems in this stunning home overlooking Merewether Beach near Newcastle.  The use of polished concrete throughout the house created particular challenges, with no margin for error in the pre-laying of cable pathways and mountings. All the systems are I-pad controlled, along with concealed access control points around the home, ensuring reliability of the system. The concealed TV was a centre piece - utilising a motorised lifter to rise out of the concrete floor and then recess into a box concealed in the garage for access if needed.

Automated Innovation’s Director Nathan Gill said:  “To be recognised as the winner of the Best Domestic Residence is proof that Automated Innovation is the leader in the home automation market represented and that they can deliver world class projects plus stay committed to striving for the best possible solution for their clients”.

Category – Small Contracting Business

A small contractor, employing less than 10 technical employees, demonstrating a wide range of skills on a particular project.

Winner:  Fibre Optics Design and Construct Pty Ltd

Project:  Sydney Harbour Bridge Communications Network Upgrade

Why:       Fibre Optics Design and Construct were contracted to complete a series of upgrades to the Sydney Harbour Bridge fibre optic communications network - which supports CCTV cameras, speed limit signs, lane signage, toll systems, variable message signage, and many other elements of traffic management for this iconic structure.  The works included an audit and a series of upgrades, as many of the original fibre installations were not coping with the harsh environment.  The project also saw FODC’s team installing fibre optics at the top of the arch for use in the New Year’s Eve fireworks. FODC not only addressed current issues with the Bridge’s network, but also helped to future-proof it as its communications requirements continue to expand.

Fibre Optics Design and Construct’s General Manager Michael McKeogh said: "Winning such a prestigious Award would underline our position as leaders in our sector, and be fitting recognition of the dedication and enthusiasm of our great team of staff”.

Category – Energy Efficiency and Environment

A project where the design, product selection, lighting, processes or technologies have created an energy efficient or sustainable installation and/or made a significant contribution to preservation of a site’s natural environment.

Winner:  Macchia Group Pty Ltd

Project:  Multi National Food Manufacturing Plant

Why:      The brief from Macchia Groups’ client was to reduce their manufacturing plant’s energy consumption in any way they could. Macchia Group spent two months researching available lights, prior to presenting their client with options. With the factory working 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and only having one down day a month, it was essential to have little or no disruption on site. Working in stages ensured the work site was clean, and clear of materials and debris - minimising the risk of food product contamination, and a possible product recall.  Current energy savings of 30% are being achieved, which should see the project recoup its capital cost faster than initially projected.

Macchia Groups’ Managing Director Domenic Macchia said: "Macchia Groups' undertaking of this project was assisted greatly by the co-operation of the client’s management and staff.  Now seeing the actual savings out-perform our calculated energy savings for our client gives me great satisfaction knowing that Macchia Group have provided a quality solution which produced a result above and beyond the client's expectations”.

Category – Industrial Project - Small

An industrial project which may include, but is not limited to, undertakings of a civil, mining, high voltage, manufacturing or process nature where the contract value is less than $2 million .

  Barnwell Cambridge Pty Ltd

Project:  Southern Sydney Freight Line

Why:      Seven railway stations received electrical upgrades as part of the construction of the Southern Sydney Freight Line. These stations now have better security, upgraded communications and lift facilities.  Barnwell Cambridge had to maintain the operational integrity of the stations during construction, and with the station shutdowns scheduled months ahead, all dates and times had to be achieved by all involved.  Another challenge was that only 25 design documents were supplied for the construction. But with no reference to railway standards or the inclusion of a technical specification, Barnwell Cambridge called on their vast knowledge of rail projects to complete the project.

Barnwell Cambridge Director Anthony Cambridge said: “By far the greatest outcome that we could have wished for was the successful delivery of a key major project for our client. The fact that project handover was completed “on schedule”, “under budget”, without losing operation integrity of the stations during construction, with the quality and workmanship that far  exceeded the client’s original expectations was a goal that was set as a team prior to the project commencing”.

Category – Industrial Project - Large

An industrial project which may include, but is not limited to, undertakings of a civil, mining, high voltage, manufacturing or process nature where the contract value is greater than $2 million .

Winner:  Downer Infrastructure

Project:  M2 Tunnel Project

     Downer Infrastructure’s role in the $500 million M2 Motorway upgrade included the Norfolk tunnel widening, the first live tunnel widening attempted in the world.  With the majority of the project works undertaken at night, Downer maintained traffic flow via a contra flow, before turning the site back to the normal traffic configuration each morning. Downer’s works consisted of new Low Voltage power systems and switchboards, lighting, and fire rated cable support, traffic management systems and communications. Much of the installation material was constructed in a purpose built workshop, then transported to the workface via specially engineered vehicles. This allowed the nightshift teams to be fully productive in the tight window for installation.

Downer Infrastructure Operations Manager Gary Webster said: “To be recognised as a ‘winner’ not only reflects the outstanding achievement and performance from Downer Infrastructure, but also gives the project manger and site team a sense of self acknowledgement, to have achieved a great result whilst competing against other well completed projects at such a high level.”

Category – Voice/Data Project

A voice/data communications project of any contract value.

  KLM Group

Project:  Financial Institution Headquarters

    The electrical and communications services for the client’s new Sydney Head Office consisted of lighting, power and communications services, across twenty floors of new commercial office space in the Sydney CBD.  The project consisted of 6 separable portions, with Portion One requiring KLM to complete 68% of the value of the contract in the first three months of the project.  The program required new innovations in off-site production methods for cabling, along with accurate programming for offsite produced product to be delivered to site on a “just in time” basis. The teams on and offsite were in communication hourly, ensuring all aspects of the project were installed against the allotted timeframes.

KLM Group’s National General Manager – Sales & Technical Stuart Malmgron said: “To be awarded the NECA Excellence award for this project would be recognition of the outstanding efforts of 100+ employees who were involved and it would demonstrate that KLM Group are the leaders in fast track projects using off site production techniques and 3D design”.

Category – Commercial – Small Project

A commercial project where the applicant’s contract value is less than $500,000.

Winner:  J & S Brown Electrical Pty Ltd

Project:   Holcim Concrete Taree South

Why:       The brief was to upgrade a concrete plant purchased by Holcim. In very poor conditions, the first challenge was bringing the plant up to a minimum safety standard, so it could be kept operational whilst the upgrade was completed.  The brief was to use as much existing infrastructure as possible and to keep maximum demand under existing supply limits. J & S Brown also supplied specific data to determine the arc flash potential at various points in the plant. These calculations were then used to specify the level of PPE required when operating each circuit breaker or isolation switch.  The upgrade was so successful that the plant is to be used as a benchmark for further Holcim Concrete Plants.

J & S Brown Electrical’s Director Jeff Brown said: "To be selected as the winner of this category, validates the hard work by all staff at J & S Brown Electrical and the commitment by Holcim to it's safety health and environment plan. This project is an outstanding example of the outcomes that can be achieved with a collaborative and determined approach to achieving goals by contractor and principle”.

Category – Commercial – Medium Project

A commercial project where the applicant’s contract value is more than $500,000 and less than $2 million

Winner:  Great Southern Electrical

Project:  Walnuts Australia

Why:       Walnuts Australia’s Leeton orchard used a hired 1250KVA diesel generator to supply the four 280KW pumps required to irrigate the orchard.  Instructions from the client were to address the long term energy requirements of the farm. Great Southern Electrical designed and constructed seven kilometres of 33KV three phase power line, installed several power sub stations, along with high voltage switchgear and low voltage board to supply mainly pump load.  While the move from diesel powered generation to network connection, as a high voltage customer, has had a financial benefit for the client, it has also created a more efficient solution for a facility with growing energy needs.

Great Southern Electrical’s Manager Gary Smith said: “The private Electrical Distribution Industry in NSW is still in its infancy however Great Southern Electrical has been involved, in one form or another, since its beginning. We believe we have made the most of that involvement and have built a diverse and professional business based around the core disciplines of the industry. To win this NECA award would vindicate our belief that we are one of leaders in our field in NSW and reinforce our resolve to expand and improve our business”.

Category – Commercial – Large Project

A commercial project where the applicant’s contract value is greater than $2 million.

Winner:  Star Group

Project:  Royal North Shore Hospital Redevelopment

Why:     The Royal North Shore Hospital Redevelopment involved consolidating more than 53 out dated buildings into an integrated Acute Care facility and a Community Health facility – all while ensuring the safe operation of a diverse health precinct that included emergency services.  The Acute Services Building – a nine-level, 96,000 square metre centrepiece of the redevelopment project – required a robust infrastructure design to minimise single points of failure.  Unique features included a Redundant High Voltage private network, which included two co-gen systems and two stand-by generators using a ring main system. The embedded gas generation plant is 11kV high voltage that aligns and parallels with the incoming electrical supplies.

Star Group’s Director Geoff Coleman said:  “It would be recognition for the hard work and effort of the whole team. The effort and resolve of the team went beyond normal expectation. It would also mean recognition of the demonstrated capability of the Star Group to deliver such a project on time and within budget”.


NECA is the peak industry body representing the interests of electrical and communications contractors Australia-wide. For further information go to

Contact Profile

Ian Richardson – President

P: 02 9888 3081

Oliver Judd - Executive Director NECA NSW

P: 02 9744 1099
M: 0400 134 569


NECA NSW Excellence Awards 2013/ Oliver Judd/ National Electrical and Communications Association/ NECA



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