What it takes to build the Grand Prix
The Grand Prix is one of only a few sporting tracks in the world that is non permanent and requires full construction. With this temporary nature, surveying services become key.
The Grand Prix is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year in Melbourne. Thousands of people attend the Albert Park track that, only a few months before, was a quiet parkland.
The event requires the largest temporary overlay for any annual sporting event in the world and behind the scenes, a consortium of companies work tirelessly to build the world-class race track from the ground up.
Taylors have just been awarded another four year contract for all surveying services for the track.
For the last six years, Taylors has been responsible for ensuring the position of every single piece of infrastructure is accurate ahead of the event.
This includes the setout of all site facilities; 12 kilometres of track barrier lines, tyre buffers, gravel trap perimeters, 42 kilometres of fencing, rope and post car displays, marquees, grandstands, corporate platforms and pavilions and every other structure present.
“We survey everything from the grandstands to the catering trucks,” said Taylors CEO, Richard Cirillo.
“Every bit of infrastructure that is placed, when turning a parkland into a grand prix circuit, the exact positioning of it is provided by us.”
Working on a project of this type and scale requires a lot of considerations and brings with it a unique set of challenges.
“It’s a very high pressure environment, with a very fixed deadline that just can’t be missed,” said Taylors Infrastructure Operations Manager, Anthony Emmerson.
“There are so many different contractors and partners, around 40 to 50 companies, that have to all work together efficiently.”
Mr Cirillo said that when Taylors came on board six years ago, they implemented several new surveying techniques that increased the efficiency of the project.
“We reduced the number of people required on-site by implementing one person field teams and GPS technology, as well as the use of line work, rather than coordinates.”
Mr Cirillo believes it’s these changes that have continued to improve the value of their surveying contribution over the years and helped Taylors play their part in ensuring the track meets the highest standards year on year.
“Success is all about reliability and being able to fit into a big, well-oiled machine that, in a very short space of time, transforms a parkland into a Grand Prix circuit and major event for 60,000+ people.
“You’ve got to be fast, accurate and know exactly what you’re doing,” Mr Cirillo said.
Mr Emmerson said there’s also a lot of background work that happens before construction of the track begins with one of the biggest safety issues being the surveying of the underground services.
“We make sure the underground services areas are marked accurately so contractors don’t go through an electricity cable or hit dangerous underground infrastructure. It’s a major safety issue so we make sure everything is mapped out correctly.”
Albert Park has hosted the event for the last 20 years and Taylors works all year round on a base plan to keep on top of environmental conditions and the changing park landscape.
Work usually begins in late December the previous year then ramps up to full time in February as it gets closer to the event.
In 2016, Taylors is assisting the Australian Grand Prix Corporation by taking on a student for a work placement program. The student will learn about the industry while experiencing behind the scenes of the Australian Grand Prix.