National modular building company Ausco Modular has recently completed construction on one of the resource industry's largest, and least invasive, mobile accommodation camps.
The 'plug and play' mobile camp model was launched by Ausco Mobile in November 2013, who soon after attracted the interest of Santos GLNG for building a 300 room camp to service the Comet Ridge to Wallumbilla Pipeline Loop, referred to as Duck Creek Road Camp, about 80 kilometres north-east of Roma, Queensland.
Ausco Modular's director for strategy and business development Ben Knight said the mobile camp is one of the largest of its kind, using a modular system designed for projects that require fast accommodation and enduring structures.
"A typical mobile camp consists of around 50-100 rooms, but the Duck Creek Camp will have 300 rooms at its peak occupancy and represents the larger end of a camp of this nature," Knight said.
The 'plug and play' system caters to projects in remote areas where fast camp mobilisation and minimal impact to surroundings is required.
"Ausco Mobile's "plug and play" model, essentially delivers the features expected in more permanent accommodation villages but in a fraction of the time, this includes accommodation, indoor and outdoor recreational areas, kitchen, diner and laundry," Knight said.
Knight said the key to the 'plug and play' system is the service connections between buildings.
"The building spec is the same as you would see in a traditional camp, with identical rooms, but the services in the buildings, electrical and hydraulic, they are engineered to be quickly connected [between buildings] to complete service reticulation around the camp," he said.
"This means there's a much faster installation period, although there is a trade off when it comes to aesthetics because the services aren't buried.
One of the main benefits of this style of camp is that there are no excavations; The only earthmoving required is clearing of space for the camp itself, and there is no rubbish to take away after the camp has been disassembled.
"The most striking thing about these camps, if you were used to traditional camps and you went to a 'plug and play' camp, is the efficient use of technology to do something in a completely different time-frame, but also to avoid wastage," Knight said.
"In a traditional camp you bury all the services and have concrete pathways, and verandas off buildings, posts concreted in; come the end of that job, the majority of that material, other than the buildings, will be thrown away.
"We avoid all of those issues, the only places we put anything into the ground is the earth stakes for the generators.
"Once the project concludes the camp will be completely removed leaving the surrounding environment in its original state.
For requirements above 300 rooms, Knight suggested that customers usually choose a more traditional camp or Stayover, by Ausco village, which have in-ground services and other key differences.
"There are more limitations to the 'plug and play' camp, there's less flexibility in how you can lay things out, but if you are a client with that flexibility, and you need something fast and safe, then you should be going mobile.
Knight said Ausco Modular finalised construction of the camp within a matter of weeks, barring delays for rain, with 300 rooms available at Duck Creek in the final week of May.
"Ausco Modular's well-oiled operations and logistics teams worked seamlessly to transport, install and connect the camp within weeks."
All of the work was completed by a small crew of no more than 12 tradesmen, and used no cranage to lift the buildings, which were placed with all-terrain forklifts.
"Safety wise, the requirements around using cranes and excavation machinery around a site are quite strict, so if we could build the technology without cranes that was how we would do it.