Sunday, September 12th, 2010
The best of the Queensland’s talented apprentices and workers in the electrotechnology industry were recognised at the annual Excellence Awards hosted by peak industry body the National Electrical and Communications Association (NECA).

Electrical and communication contractors working on the new data centre at Treasury Casino, new installations at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not in Surfers Paradise, huge commercial buildings in the Brisbane CBD and Queensland Rail’s new welding facility in Yeerongpilly were among the award winners.

The 2010 NECA Excellence and Apprentice Awards is an opportunity for the industry to officially recognise the talent and achievements of electrical and communication contractors and apprentices in Queensland.

The winning companies received the top state award across seven categories in front of 350 industry representatives including contractors, industry business partners, educators and government representatives at the pinnacle showcase of the electrical and communications industry held at Royal on the Park.

General Manager of NECA’s Queensland chapter, Mr Guy Houghton, said the winning companies were chosen because of their commitment to excellence, significant engineering achievements and importantly finishing the complex jobs on time and in budget.

“The projects that the winning companies completed were just phenomenal,” Mr Houghton said.

“As the electrotechnology industry continues to grow and tackle new technological challenges, it is encouraging to see that electrical and communication contractors in Queensland are leading the country in everything from occupational health and safety through to energy efficiency and the wiring of smart homes.”

Three apprentices in a commercial, industrial and communications category won the electrical Apprentice of the Year award.

Murrumba Downs resident, 39-year-old Mark Protheroe, won the top apprentice award in the Commercial and Domestic Category. Mr Protheroe’s host employer is John Goss Projects.

Twenty seven year-old Geoffrey Bay from Mitchelton won the top apprentice award in the Industrial Category. Mr Bay’s host employer is Stowe Australia.

Carindale resident, 35-year-old Peter Mahony, won the top apprentice award in the Communications Category. Mr Mahony’s host employer is Stowe Australia.

NECA’s QLD General Manager Mr Houghton said that the judges were impressed with all three winners and how they have developed throughout their apprenticeship.

“To be named Apprentice of the Year is a huge honour and something Mark, Geoffrey and Peter should be very proud of,” Mr Houghton said.

“The judges acknowledged the academic achievements and on-the-job accomplishments and decided that these men were the best performing apprentices in Queensland.”

The apprentice awards also recognise the role employers play in training apprentices.

“It is important to remember that it is not only the apprentices working to build skills in our industry.

“Many businesses like John Goss Projects and Stowe Australia host apprentices giving them the guidance and opportunities required to complete their trade,” Mr Houghton said.

The winning companies and projects from the 2010 NECA Excellence Awards are listed below:

Category – Environment and Energy Efficiency

A project where the design, product selection, lighting, processes or technologies are considered to preserve a site’s natural environment and/or to create an energy efficient and sustainable installation.

Winner: Blue Star Pacific Pty Ltd
Project: Commercial Building -154 Melbourne Street, Brisbane
Why: Blue Star Pacific won the contract for works at 154 Melbourne Street in Brisbane. The new 11 story building is in the heart of Brisbane’s sought after commercial business precinct and is an excellent example of environmentally sensitive design principles.

The scope included supply and installation of mains switchboards, cabling, power, general lighting, emergency lighting, backbone cabling including fibre optics and testing and commissioning.

The project successfully achieved a 5 star Green Star - office as built - certified rating. The building is only the fifth in Queensland to do so.

Category – Voice/Data – Large Project

A voice or data project where the applicant’s contract value is greater than $500,000.

Winner: Fredon QLD
Project: Treasury Casino Data Centre
Why: Fredon QLD won the tender for the design manufacture, installation and testing of a 43 cabinet data centre for Tabcorp’s Treasury Casino. The design brief also required that the installation be “future proof”.

The biggest challenge was to meet the projects’ tight deadlines, whilst working in a fully operational Casio that had limited storage and space on site.

To achieve this, Fredon QLD required skilful planning and scheduling and many production works were completed off site.

The client has rated the outcome as a benchmark for future projects and Fredon QLD have already won new work as a result of the innovations they developed.

Category – Industrial Project

An industrial project which may include, but is not limited to, undertakings of a civil, mining, high voltage, manufacturing or process nature.

Winner: Blue Star Pacific Pty Ltd
Project: Queensland Rail Welding Facility
Why: The brief to Blue Star Pacific for the Queensland Rail Welding Facility was to provide a safe working plant that would operate more efficiently, and maintain Queensland Rail’s mandatory high safety standards.

The scope included the installation of power distribution and final sub circuits, underground ducting, lighting layouts and controls, and emergency lighting.

Blue Star also designed, manufactured and installed a complex lighting control system which allows an operator to control the entire facility’s lighting from one or more locations, and a diverse overhead cable tray system to carry reticulation and sub-circuit cabling.

The final outcome has achieved all Queensland Rails objectives, and is an outstanding installation.

Category – Commercial – Small Project

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

Winner: Blue Star Pacific Pty Ltd
Project: Watpac National Head Office
Why: Watpac Construction contracted Blue Star Pacific to provide all the electrical and data services for their new headquarters. This was a concurrent contract as Blue Star also provided the base building works.

The four level office tower incorporates general work stations and offices, board room, meeting rooms, reception and kitchen areas as well as and communications rooms.

Blue Star installed all mains and distribution boards, general power, lighting and emergency lighting, all wiring, communications systems, audio visual and MATV, security and CCTV and uninterruptible power.

As the client is in the construction industry, the finished result had to be a showcase example of their workmanship. The completed project successfully achieved and exceeded these expectations.

Category – Commercial – Medium Project

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

Winner: Fredon QLD
Project: Building “A” Coolangatta – Southern Cross University
Why: Fredon QLD won the contract for the supply and installation of the all electrical, communications systems, dry fire services and access controls, and CCTV systems for Building “A” of the Gold Coast’s new Southern University Campus.

Fredon QLD also undertook fit-out of the building’s internal data centre, extension to the existing medium voltage network and external car-park lighting.

On-site challenges included difficult cable access to many areas due to the buildings “pre-cast” panelling of form concrete and galvanised steel. Fredon developed solutions including casting conduits into manufactured panels and skilful relocation of some services.

The project has won high praise from the client.

Category – Commercial – Large Project

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

Winner: Stowe Australia
Project: 275 George Street Brisbane
Why: 275 George Street is a 30 storey, commercial office tower in the heart of Brisbane.

Stowe Australia were contracted for the complete design, supply and installation of all electrical and communication systems into this 5 Star Green Star V2 certified “as built rated” & 4.5 star NABERS building.

Challenges during construction included installing a 250 metre linear LED light fitting to the vertical face of the building, plus positioning the Aircraft Warning light 40 metres up the building spire.

The project has been highly successful as by proving their capabilities in base build works, Stowe were also able to secure the majority of fit out works.

The project was completed 3 months ahead of schedule, an excellent result by Stowe Electrical.

Category – People’s Choice Award

Winner: Stowe Australia
Project: Ripley’s Belive It Or Not Odditorium, Gold Coast
Why: Surfers Paradise is home to the new Ripley’s Believe It Or Not “Odditorium”.

Stowe Australia were commissioned for all the electrical works in this exciting venue. This included all mains and sub-mains, general lighting and power, communication and security system, as well as specialist lighting and controls and interactive displays.

The biggest challenge was the co-ordination of delivery and fit-out of Ripley’s complex “one-off” prop and display items. This required careful planning and concise communication between all stake holders to ensure successful outcome.

Since its completion the attraction has received record attendance and the positive feedback from visitors about their experience is a testament to the skill and workmanship of the Stowe Australia team.


Contact Profile

Ian Richardson – President

P: 02 9888 3081


electrical apprentice, apprenticeships, award, National Electrical and Communications Association, NECA



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