The Water Team: Enhancing Infrastructure Development and Utility Coordination

The Water Team: Enhancing Infrastructure Development and Utility Coordination
30/5/23
Florian Jaehne

So… What exactly does the Orion Group water team do? Let’s look at the contribution made by our WSC (Water Service Coordinator) team and explore their role in transforming infrastructure development.

When it comes to infrastructure for land development, the efficient coordination of utilities ensures smooth construction processes and the uninterrupted flow of essential services.

In a nutshell, the WSC team are equipped with a diverse skill set and a deep understanding of utility systems relating to water and wastewater servicing, and they play a crucial role in utility clash detection, planning, coordination, and various other tasks that contribute to the successful delivery of construction projects.

Below we delve into the kind of services they provide:

Applications with Sydney Water and Hunter Water

Navigating the landscape of utility connections and approvals can be challenging. WSC specialists are well-versed in Tap in™ and Section 73 applications in the Sydney Water area (Section 50 applications in the Hunter Water area), which are crucial for obtaining water and sewer connections for new subdivisions, constructions or modifications.

They guide clients through the application process and liaise with utility providers, reducing delays and simplifying administrative tasks for all parties involved.

Utility Planning, Design and Coordination

The Orion WSC team are experts in design and supervision of complex infrastructure development, in water and wastewater utility planning and coordination. They are highly competent communicators, acting as the bridge between various stakeholders, including construction teams, utility providers, and local authorities.

Using their extensive knowledge of utility systems and regulatory requirements, they collaborate with stakeholders to ensure the seamless integration of utilities into the design and construction process. This involves obtaining necessary design, procurement and construction approvals, acquiring approvals for building plans, and facilitating communication between all parties involved.

Utility Clash Detection

One of the primary responsibilities of the WCS team is utility clash detection which should always be done as part of the planning and design process. Being proactive always beats being reactive!

The team requests and analyses data and services searches to ensure the risk of service clashes is reduced as much as possible. Before any construction takes place, the water team analyse the civil design plans or building plans and the construction plans to identify potential clashes between existing and proposed utility infrastructure and proposed construction projects.

By proactively identifying clashes, the WCS team helps prevent costly delays, disruptions, and accidents during construction, ensuring a more efficient and safer working environment.

Construction Works Sequencing

Efficiency in construction projects relies heavily on proper sequencing of construction works, and the WSC team plays a key role in this process.

They check project timelines, construction schedules, and the requirements of different utility installations to develop a comprehensive sequencing plan.

By carefully coordinating activities such as water and sewer adjustments, extensions, reticulation mains, sewer gravity mains, and pressure service rising mains, the WCS team ensures that construction progresses smoothly, minimising disruptions and maximising productivity.

Provide Advice

The water team love talking with others and sharing their experience. Currently, there are many changes happening in the water infrastructure industry, they are always ready to help clients with any challenges they may be facing.

In particular, one area that is topical is the introduction of water infrastructure contributions which greatly affects greenfield developments. Both Sydney Water and Hunter Water are looking at charging contributions which will affect many new developments and their budget.

The calculations and requirements can be quite complex and confusing. Members of our team sit on relevant advisory boards and keep abreast of industry changes, they are here to help clients navigate those changes.

In Conclusion

The WCS team's role in infrastructure development and utility coordination is broader than you think! Expertise in strategic and detailed planning, detailed design, utility clash detection, planning, coordination, and sequencing, they are essential to the successful execution of design and construction projects.

Their ability to work in with civil designs and thus facilitate seamless integration of water and wastewater services, and optimise construction workflows leads to enhanced efficiency, reduced costs, and improved safety.

A Day in the Life of a Senior Water Expert: Navigating Challenges and Facilitating Success

Likely with a cup of coffee in hand, they begin the day by reviewing project plans, objectives, and timelines. They will coordinate resources, including the Orion team members, third-party contractors, and consultants, to ensure that projects stay on track and are completed within the specified deadlines and budget.

They will spend some time onsite to closely monitor the progress of ongoing projects, provide guidance and support to the team. They oversee quality control measures throughout the project's life cycle, ensuring that all deliverables meet the required standards.

They will likely engage with authorities and utility agencies as part of their project to obtain necessary project approvals. They navigate the intricacies of regulatory processes, leveraging their expertise to streamline interactions and ensure smooth project progression.

Later at their desk, they will prepare and review technical reports, drawings, and tender documentation. Their attention to detail and expertise ensure that these critical documents are accurate, comprehensive, and in compliance with project requirements.

Effective communication is key, and they spend time each day reaching out to clients, fostering strong relationships that are built on trust. They provide progress reports on ongoing projects, sharing updates and addressing any concerns.

They might have a site inspection to conduct to stay up to date on the project's status, ensuring that all information remains current.

At the end of each day they will wrap up any loose ends, finalise any outstanding tasks and update project budgets and programs. They plan for the following day, ensuring they are set up for continued success.

As part of their routine, we encourage our team members to dedicate time to:

  • Mentor and train junior team members, sharing their knowledge and experience, providing guidance on industry practices and construction supervision.
  • Expand their knowledge through industry publications, attending seminars, or networking events, ensuring they stay at the forefront of their field.
  •  Business development activities where they liaise with clients, discuss future project and prepare proposals.

As a senior water expert, each day brings new challenges and opportunities to make a significant impact on infrastructure development. They have an opportunity to play a role in shaping a more efficient, sustainable, and resilient water and construction industry.

Meet the Team

Florian Jaehne

Florian is the Technical Director – Water Servicing at the Orion Group. He has nearly two decades  of experience in the water and wastewater industry.

Over this time, with the guidance of various mentors, Florian has become a skilled senior engineer in the water and wastewater field, holding the highest accreditations in the Sydney Water area. His focus is customer service and mentoring younger staff.

Fun Fact: Upon moving to Sydney the first job he found, after doing survey work in northern Victoria, was in the water and waste water sector. He just fell into it and it stuck! He has been doing it ever since and still enjoying it!

 

Priya Patel

Priya is Lead Water Service Coordinator at Orion Group. She has 15 years’ experience in the water and wastewater industry and holds a degree in Civil Engineering.

Priya started her career with Burton & Fields’s as Sewer and Water design engineer. She worked with Mott Macdonald Group, Craig & Rhodes/Metro water, Land partners prior to joining KFW/Orion Group. Priya has had key involvement in project management, water servicing coordination & design of water, recycle water and waste water on a range of projects, both on-site and in the office.

Fun Fact: She was offered three jobs prior to joining KFW/Orion Group and decided to join the younger company. She is not regretting her decision!

 

Sharmila Thapa

Sharmila Thapa is the Water Service Coordinator (WSC) engineer at the Orion Group. She has 11 years of experience in the WaterIndustry and has successfully gained C3 accreditation with Sydney Water.

After her successful skilled migration to Australia, Sharmila started her career as a WSC designer. Since then she has been involved in different designs of water and sewer infrastructure, client liaison, project management, and documentation; including lead-in and multi-stage residential and commercial subdivisions. She has also gained valuable experience in Specialist Engineering Assessment Reports as per Sydney Water’s new standards and requirements and has successfully completed numerous reports.

Fun Fact: Since finding her first job in WSC, she is loving all the challenges and moving to the next level of her career with her Sydney Water accreditation.

 Jude Latimer

Jude is Orion’s Water Service Coordinator/Designer Project Manager with over 20 years’ experience in the WSC industry.

She started her career doing accounts and payroll before showing an interest in WSC work. When she worked with Greg Houston Plumbing she had a great mentor who taught her design and surveying and she’s been doing it ever since - and still enjoys it. She’s been part of an array of designs including water, sewer, stormwater, recycled water, and low pressure sewer with both office and field work involved. She has a passion for architecture and surveying.

Fun Fact: One of her favourite projects over the years was the redevelopment of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG). She loved that she got to go to places inside the SCG that the general public would never see.

 

Max Kay

Max is a Water Servicing Coordinator at the Orion Group. He has 8 years of experience in the water and wastewater industry with a background in Civil Engineering.

Max spent the early part of his career working as a sewer and water design engineer in western Sydney, before relocating to the Illawarra to take on his current WSC role. Whilst the majority of his work is focused on projects in the Sydney Water region, Max has gained experience with local councils such as Bega Valley Shire and Wollondilly, working on a wide range of infrastructure projects.

Fun Fact: Max has only applied for two professional jobs in his life and has been successful in both instances. He attributes this success to staff shortages in the WSC industry - not his job interview skills 😂

Krijan Maharjan

Krijan is a Water Servicing Coordinator Engineer at the Orion Group. He has close to 5 years of experience working in various civil engineering projects, and for the last two years, he has been working as a WSC.

Krijan first started working in the field of earth quake resilient residential building design, then a site engineer, accessibility consultant, before finally settling in the water and wastewater industry. He has gained valuable experience in utility coordination, including the relocation and design of water and wastewater assets for Sydney Metro and Western Sydney Airport projects, Sydney Water and Hunter Water. Now, working at Orion, he is getting exposed to extensive greenfield and brownfield development projects.

Fun Fact: In his first WSC role, he didn’t even know that he had applied for a Water Servicing Coordinator role. It was only after getting the job offer that he started researching what a WSC does, prior to starting the role.

The Water Team: Enhancing Infrastructure Development and Utility Coordination
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