Klaudio Marku speaks with a rare enthusiasm about his work with InfraBuild. The Reinforcing Project Engineer is fascinated by reinforcing and the intricacies of its use in construction. It’s a career path he started out on early in life and it’s one that’s brought many opportunities.
When he discusses the projects he has worked on, Klaudio describes their size and scale with a sense of awe.
“It was a 41 m by 21 m wall at the North Portal where the no.2 tunnel boring machines started digging,” he says, describing works on the West Gate Tunnel project where he was employed as a Project Coordinator/Scheduler.
“It was a very complex structure requiring a lot of detailing due to various constraints. These kind of structures, experiences and exposure with designers has helped me significantly improve my technical skills and grow in my professional career.”
After completing his master’s degree in civil engineering at the University of Bristol in the UK, Klaudio returned to his home in Albania and started work as a site engineer.
“That’s where I was introduced to reinforcing steel and scheduling. In Albania, reinforcing steel companies only supply 12 m stock bars so site engineers have to do the bar bending schedules (BBS) for the steel fixers.”
However, it wasn’t long before Klaudio found his qualifications and the type of engineering work he was doing in Albania were at odds.
“When I moved back to Albania, I would say there was a difference in what I had been studying and what I was implementing in work situations. I wanted to move to a developed country, for the same reason I had been studying.”
Four years ago, Klaudio migrated to Australia and began working with InfraBuild in the role of scheduler.
“Australia was an English-speaking country, plus it had great weather and very good beaches. It was very easy to settle in and since I arrived here, it feels like a second home country to me.”
When the opportunity for work with InfraBuild came up, Klaudio’s work experience as a site engineer in Albania played a large part. “My previous experience helped me gain the position with InfraBuild as I had a basic understanding of scheduling. However, the job with InfraBuild required much more than that.”
Several unforeseen challenges arose. After a career in Europe working with English and European building and construction standards, Klaudio had to become familiar with Australian standards, fast.
Secondly, Klaudio had to learn how to schedule at a faster pace. There are major differences in what the role of scheduler entails between Albania and Australia.
Thirdly, due to discrepancies and issues with technical drawings, Klaudio had to develop good technical skills to provide problem-solving solutions for customers.
It was a Reinforcing Project Engineer who Klaudio reported to on the Westgate Tunnel Project who became a mentor and provided invaluable training and advice while he was still in a Project Coordinator role
“The main skill set to be successful as a scheduler is to be able to extract sufficiently detailed information from construction drawings and develop a general understanding of construction processes while providing reinforced steel products and solutions.
“It’s very valuable for a young engineer to work as a scheduler because in such a short period of time, you get exposed to so many examples and issues. You get to know reinforcing steel in detail.
“Finally, as a scheduler you get to work on many complex projects that as a site engineer might take at least double the time and experience. Hence, career wise it is very good to fast-track your career development.”
It was a Reinforcing Project Engineer who Klaudio reported to on the Westgate Tunnel Project who became a mentor and provided invaluable training and advice while he was still in a Project Coordinator role.
“My manager helped me develop my career professionally, taught me what the project engineer role required and showed me what his role involved daily. So that was a step for me, when I went from the Westgate Tunnel Project to the Metro Tunnel Project and became a project engineer.
“InfraBuild have set up a very good system to run major projects, with a distinct project delivery structure and clear career progression. You start as a project coordinator/scheduler and progress through the ranks to become a Project Engineer and later Project Manager.”
Over the past four years it’s the larger scale major infrastructure projects, the civil projects, that Klaudio has been drawn to rather than high rise construction.
“Both high rise buildings and civil projects are complex, but the level of complexity in civil jobs is much greater, you must cope with more uncertainty, more issues and there are more hurdles to overcome.
“When I started with InfraBuild in 2018, I was working with very simple two-storey structures. Very soon I moved to high-rise buildings and later to civil projects. The level of detailing and scheduling is so advanced on complex structures that every element is unique. Every day you get to learn something new and every day is different to another. In addition, civil projects require detailing in AutoCAD and AllPlan software which develops your detailing software skills significantly.”
“The most exciting thing about the projects I’ve worked on is developing myself professionally. And significantly, learning new things. You get to be part of one of the greatest projects in the Victorian construction industry. The Westgate project is going to, even after its completion, be recognised for many years."
For Klaudio, the more recent developments taking place in the use of digital technology for reinforcing, are shaping the future of the industry.
“3D modelling is definitely the future of modelling and detailing and will improve reinforcement detailing significantly. We will be able to better identify and advise customers regarding clashes and issues and provide well-presented marking plans.
“InfraBuild has started this journey since the beginning of 2019 with major projects and continues to further improve its systems by providing training on 3D modelling for internal employees,” Klaudio explains.
Thanks to InfraBuild Reinforcing, Klaudio has had the opportunity to work on some of the country’s largest infrastructure projects to take place over the past twenty years. And for now, Klaudio is enjoying the steep learning curve.
“The most exciting thing about the projects I’ve worked on is developing myself professionally. And significantly, learning new things. You get to be part of one of the greatest projects in the Victorian construction industry. The Westgate project is going to, even after its completion, be recognised for many years.”
“I would say the same goes for the Metro Tunnel Project. I’ve had to take on more responsibility and learn new things. For example, on the Metro project, mostly we’re working on tunnels and shafts so there are specific requirements, for example, working in tight spaces which constrains the way you provide reinforcement on site. You must provide new methods and new products to overcome all the hurdles and issues you’ll face.”
The relationship between InfraBuild Reinforcing and Klaudio has been a win win. And for the moment it looks like the relationship is an enduring one.
“My career in Australia has developed well, and I haven’t seen the need to change or shift my career anywhere else. So, this is where I’ve stayed. I’ve been with InfraBuild for four years, and I have developed more and more every year I’m working in the reinforcing industry.”
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