The right stuff
As a major player in construction and environmental management practices, Delta Group must adhere to the highest safety standards when purchasing equipment for the high-profile projects it contracts. In order to maintain these standards and total operating economy it often partners with companies on the cutting edge of innovation. Commercial vehicle manufacturer Scania is one of them.
A ubiquitous presence for anyone in a major city who works or lives near an imposing civil engineering project, Delta Group, has been an enduring force for nearly 40 years in construction, demolition and waste management in Australia. Founded in 1978, the company operates the largest privately owned fleet of specialised plant and equipment in the country. Trucks are purpose-built and purchased on contract maintenance programs such as the one it has arranged with Scania, who currently supplies the business with 15 commercial vehicles of the more than 100 it has on the road on any given day. The bulk of the Scanias are R Series V8s and G Series, mainly assembled as truck and dog, with some additional rigid trucks.
Delta Group operates a dedicated Waste Transfer Station in Port Melbourne and its trucks move construction and demolition waste using 6-32 cubic metre Hook and Craneable skip bins for a range of projects in residential and commercial industries. The company is no stranger to iconic developments in infrastructure having worked on the Canberra International Airport, Melbourne Docklands, Melbourne Convention Centre and South Wharf Development, MCG, Stadium Australia and Federation Square, to name a few. More recently it was engaged to design and deliver a single source project management solution by Lendlease in the $1.5 Billion redevelopment of Sydney’s Darling Harbour and subsequent work on the Sydney Metro City. More recently, the Southwest rail project and the Gold Coast Monorail demolition were shortlisted, the company mentions, in the 2018 World Demolition Awards.
As it separates building and construction waste to reduce waste to landfill by recycling and reusing as much as four million tonnes of construction debris each year, Delta Group employs Green Star accredited materials tracking management and reporting systems to satisfy commercial and industrial project needs with its purpose-built off-site facilities. In addition to its waste transfer stations and concrete and timber recycling, Delta Group recycles scrap metal and manages a recycled timber outlet.
Daily logistical tasks, according to Dominic Santullo, General Manager Recycling Logistics, involves the servicing of the internal business across the delivery of recycled materials to myriad locations throughout wider Melbourne, as well as Australia wide.
“Our trucks, more often than not, work around the metro areas in our capital cities where the demolition and civil construction operations of the business are often located,” he says. “In Victoria, they also work out of quarries, landfills and deliver road safe materials to new developments, roads, subdivisions, you name it. The Scanias essentially go out to any project to do with civil works where road base is required.”
The Melbourne Cricket Ground, the tenth largest sporting stadium in the world, has undergone two major renovations both of which Deltra Group were a part of. The more recent of the two involved a complex civil works programme with demolition and bulk excavation of the Members’, Ponsford and Olympic grandstands, bringing the stadium capacity to over 100,000.
Retention works for a new, at the time, two level basement area under the stands and the hallowed playing surface also involved re-laying the stadium’s turf. Since then the MCG has hosted the 2006 Commonwealth Games and a World Cup Cricket Final. Dominic says working on the project remains one of the highlights of his professional career.
“Being a Melbourne boy and working on the MCG is something you don’t forget in a hurry,” Dominic says. “It’s obviously a landmark in Australia and overseas and recognised as a prominent part of the skyline.”
Dominic, despite being only 44, young for a company veteran, has been at Delta Group for 23 years. Having started out as a commercial vehicle driver it has held him in good stead for understanding trucks and the latest in heavy vehicle technologies.
“I begun here at a young age and worked my way up,” he says. “In that time, I’ve watched the business grow over the years. It’s a family owned business and you’re treated as such. The Delta Group name is known all around Australia so the jobs are big and the work is always interesting.”
As Dominic likes to get behind the wheel of a prime mover to keep in touch with its latest capabilities, he recently piloted an R Cab Scania V8 from Brooklyn in Melbourne’s west to the Western Treatment Plant. It involved, on a wet summer day, negotiating busy local roads, highway and going off road.
“It happened to rain, a heavy downpour, which made conditions interesting.We got to the site where the roads were unsealed. Being clay roads they were slippery. We were loaded to 56.5 tonne and had to use the cross locks and traction control on the truck,” he recalls. “At one stage there we thought we were going to get stuck, but the truck performed well. It just ploughed through the mud and got out without an issue.”
According to Dominic the Scania R Cab delivers on power. The ease of braking and all-round driveability provides for its operator, a superior driving experience.
“You notice the added comfort when you get into the truck,” he says. “They’ve got a fridge, Bluetooth. Having automatic transmissions it’s a lot easier on the driver. It feels good to drive. The guys get out of them at the end of day and they’re fresh. Or as fresh as you can be after 10 hours behind the wheel.”
If the trucks of today, he considers, were like the trucks he drove back when he started out he might still be driving one full time. The engine retarders, for one example, are one of the most pleasing aspects of the new features on the Scania R Cab says Dominic.
“If you drive these trucks properly you don’t even need to touch the brakes until the last second,” he explains. “For that in itself your brakes just last forever. Drivers all get scored during operations and that includes scoring the driver in anticipation, acceleration and that’s good for us knowing how they perform in these vehicles.”
As Delta Group have committed to a Scania maintenance program their monthly costs are fixed. This covers service and preventative maintenance, predicated as it is on total kilometres amassed.
“For us we know what our fixed costs are per month and that excludes any damage. Given our estimates it’s been spot on,” he says. “As it is, the Scania tells you when you need to come back for your next service. The computerised system in the truck reports back to Scania who then, in turn, alert the team at Delta when the truck is due for a service.”
The high safety standards required of the business make the Scanias a great fit says Dominic.
“We do a lot of CBD driving and we’re constantly going into town with truck and dog trailers and we’re going down laneways and reversing into off-streets so visibility is everything,” he says. “We’ve got reverse cameras and reverse alarms and there’s cameras on the rigids and the tailgates so you can see what’s going on. We’ve got to look at the safety of the driver and people around the truck.”
The bigger, arching windscreens counteract blindspots, which is another crucial feature given Melbourne’s increasingly busy roads.
“The volume of traffic on the road has multiplied beyond belief in the last five years. You used to be able to get up early in the morning and hit the road and have a good run. Now people all have the same idea. There’s also a whole lot of activity, infrastructure going ahead,” he says. “That can mean more time in the truck for the driver and another reason why the features of the best commercial vehicles are so important. The Scania is very quiet and with all the controls and functions there’s so much to like about the truck.”
Fuel economy, Dominic says, remains one of the key selling points of the Scania vehicles although there’s an even bigger picture to consider. “The R Cab has excellent reliability and reliable fuel economy but it’s the Scania total operating economy that delivers our business what we need.”