When Queensland contractor Gunne Civil Constructions was engaged to carry out site preparation earthworks for Komatsu’s forthcoming new Wacol distribution centre and technology hub, it was an opportunity for the company to take advantage of the latest technology in managing its side of the project.
Gunne Civil has a substantial fleet of Komatsu equipment, many of them fitted with “bolt-on” Topcon machine control systems.
But for the Wacol site’s earthworks, Gunne Civil also hired in Komatsu intelligent Machine Control (iMC) dozers and excavators, while also using its Smart Construction offering for enhanced site surveying and management.
Construction on the 3.8 ha site began in March 2020 and is due for completion in early 2021.
Gunne Civil’s fleet includes 11 Komatsu excavators, from a PC18MR03 to a PC600LC-8EO, with a number fitted with Topcon GPS-based excavator indicate systems, plus a D65EX-17, fitted with a Topcon machine control system.
According to company co-owner Leon Gibb, Gunne Civil has been using machine control systems since 2008, switching to Topcon systems and its dealer Position Partners around 2012.
“We carry out a lot of major infrastructure works throughout south east Queensland: schools, defence works, local government services and with the major builders,” says Gibb.
“We do all the civil works from scratch up to final completion, and these days we find the machine control systems are essential for all our detail trimming, whether it’s long batters and trenches with the excavators, or gravel spreading, bulk earthworks trimming or subgrade work with the dozer.”
When Gunne was awarded the contract for Wacol, it was an opportunity to see at first hand the capabilities of Komatsu’s iMC technology, with the company hiring in a D61EXi-24 dozer and PC210LCi-10 excavator from Komatsu Rental.
“We were very impressed with the capabilities of these machines,” says Gibb. “We had the dozer basically doing all our final trimming, with the iMC excavator doing a lot of the batter work, as well as detail and trimming in the tighter spots.
“The iMC dozer’s capabilities, in particular its ability to carry out everything from the bulk earthworks right through to final trim, with a very high degree of accuracy, was very impressive.”
In addition, Gunne Civil purchased a new PC138US-11 short-tail excavator, fitted with a Topcon GPS-based indicate system, to work on this project.
Gunne Civil’s surveyor Shane Gregory worked in with Komatsu’s Queensland project solutions consultant Brent Parker, who introduced the company to the suite of smart construction solutions.
“We have our own drone survey system, but for this project, Brent and Shane worked closely together, so that we were able to compare Brent’s ‘Smart Construction’ results with what we were getting,” says Gibb.
“Brent has been extremely helpful to us in learning about this technology. Smart Construction is a very impressive tool, and it’s excellent for the client, as they can see exactly what’s going on. And because it’s generating real-time data, there’s no hiding; it’s all right there on the table so you can see exactly what you’ve done each day, the volumes of material moved, and the accuracies you are achieving,” he says.
Gunne Civil’s history goes back to 1989, when Gibb’s dad Noel Gibb teamed up with Michael Dunne to form Gunne Constructions. In 2008, Gibb teamed up with business partner and long-time mate Adam Stafford to buy out Michael Dunne, then in 2014 renamed the company Gunne Civil Constructions buying Noel out of the business in 2016.
Initially the company ran a lot of equipment from another supplier, as a result of a long-term relationship with Alec Harries who worked there. When Alec joined Komatsu in 2011 as Major Account Manager – Civil & Quarry in Queensland, Gibb and Adam followed him.
“It’s very much the relationship we both have with Alec that brought us to Komatsu,” says Gibb. “We’ve known and worked with him for many years; he was my and Adam’s rugby union coach when we were kids from about 25 years ago, so we go back a long way.
“And we’ve found Komatsu’s an excellent brand, and our definite preference when their products are within the range we are after,” he said. “I’d have to say we are more than impressed, so we buy it whenever we can.
“We did recently purchase another company that primarily runs another product line, but we’ll pretty much swap that over for Komatsu equipment when its time is up.”