On the job with Civilivic

By: Ron Horner, Video by: Michael Grassick

Presented by
  • Earthmovers & Exacavators

Ronnie goes onsite with local contractors Civilivic using a range of gear from Doosan and Caterpillar in Boonah, Queensland

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Brendan Paterson welcomed Ronnie onsite to check out his Cat dump truck, dozer and grader and a Doosan excavator to name a few machines in his ever-growing fleet.  Brendan has more than 30 years in the civil engineering construction industry and runs a smooth operation.

Patterson heads up a family run Civil Company based out of the Sunshine Coast located north of Brisbane.

With a Civil Engineering background Brendan eventually saw "the light" and crossed over that finite line which defines common sense, practical skills and knowledge from those whom tend to run a Project based on "The Book" which had to be sewn onto the palm of their hand pre Uni days and are yet to determine on how to rid themselves of the book based on the "Construction Gospel".

I am always on the search to promote to best side of our industry, whether it labourers, loader operators or leaders, BUT when I first drove past one of Brendan’s construction sites not far from my home town of Boonah in SE Qld I just had to call in and introduce myself.

What could possibly make this site stand out in such a fashion that it could entice me to make a "U Turn" and drag me from the main road onto this site and introduce myself to the Project Manager when I literally see hundreds of construction sites every year. Well … It was simple.


Tidy operation

This job had to be one of the best laid out, clean and immaculately presented starts to a job that I have had the pleasure of inspecting for many years.

These days, contractors are under the microscope more than ever. Every phone is a camera, access to authorities and the relevant complaint lines are open 24/7, noise, dust, hours of work, smoking, foul language, disregard for the public and any deemed Workplace Health and Safety breaches can be reported by any member of the public or site worker in an anonymous fashion at any time.

All contractors have to be well versed in Environmental, Safety, Health and Workplace legislation and must conform to it or suffer the consequences for failing to do so.

Enter Civilivic and Brendan Patterson.

If I’ve said it once I’ve said it a hundred times … first impressions count and that is what enticed me to call upon the Churches of Christ Aged Care facility being built in Boonah by National Construction Management (NCM) and the Civil Contractor in charge, Brendan Patterson of Civilivic.

From the main road into or out of town, which leads to or from Boonah/ Ipswich and Beaudesert, the job is certainly a standout as one broaches the hill and slows to the conforming town speed limit.


The fleet

Scrapers, excavators, dozers, graders, compactors, rollers, backhoes and trucks of all types busily transforming what was once a well-stocked grazing paddock with plentiful feed and water into an exceptionally cleverly designed and well executed construction site almost overnight.

Being built on the edge of town and exposed to all and every possible criticism from any passing member of the public it was imperative that the job be designed, planned and executed to the "enth degree" in an effort to gain the respect and confidence of the public and client (whom just had to be located right next door to the construction site).

When I approached Brendan for a quick look over the site and a check on some of the excellent gear working it I had to ask the question on "how did a Sunshine Coast company get to win a job so far south of its home base?"

Brendan advised me that he has worked with the Client (Churches of Christ) and National Construction Management (whom specialise in Aged Care Facilities) on several other similar styled projects and over the years has formed a very good open and honest relationship with all concerned.

These projects are not monetary based as in cheapest wins the job !!!

Our relationship within the group is based on mutual respect for each other, the client, the public, a shared policy in providing quality workmanship and product, fostering of a professional culture from labourers, operators, supervisors and office staff with an insistence on quality and safety.


Loyal staff

With a base workforce of about 15 employees Brendan says many have hit the 10 year mark plus and he is forever indebted to the loyalty and commitment of his workforce. He is also proud to say that wherever his projects take him he searches for local skilled personnel to bolster his workforce and engages local earthmoving contractors wherever possible as "local knowledge is always best" he claims.

His company is well versed and experienced in sub-divisions around the Sunshine Coast, Gympie, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane and now Boonah.

The variety of earthmoving gear available for us to view on the job was exceptional for this local, laid back, quiet farming community located in the beautiful and most picturesque area of the Scenic Rim in SE Qld.

Caterpillar had a good footing in the door with a couple of Hope Civils 627 Twin Power Scrapers, an 815F Compactor running the fill, a well presented  owner operator 12H Grader, 30T Doosan and 20T Kobelco Excavators, Terex and Cat 20t Dumpers, a Pad Foot Roller and a conventional water truck to top things off.

Combine this with a well skilled crew, a good project manager and you have all the attributes and gear required to successfully execute such a project and, with a good run of weather, the job was well ahead of schedule when I visited the site.


Dry country

Still stuck in never-ending drought conditions in this area the job scooted off to a great start.

15000cm of topsoil removal, 50,000cm of bulk materials and dewatering and backfilling of an existing large dam on the site went without a hitch with the skilled operators and excellent gear making this all possible.

The contract will last for about 15 months with main access roads, environmental, bitumen placement, car park construction and building pads all part of the contracted earthworks for the Churches of Christ 64 bed residential Aged Care Facility Extension. Living in a region renowned for its aging population, this facility is of significant importance to the local Boonah community.

It’s a credit to our industry when the Client, Project Management and Civil Contractor can all have the same ideals on the outcome of the Project. By creating a long lasting open and honest relationship built upon reciprocated respect, the utilisation of skilled workers with the same mindset as the employer, a commitment to ensure environmental and safety protocols are adhered to and the passion to ensure the disruption and inconvenience to the public is being kept to a minimum, is a position that many of us would hope to one day be part of.

With both Local, State and Federal Government support the official "sod turning" was an eye opener to all of those officials associated with the day. A brief site inspection whilst the earthmoving gear was still under work mode in the background ensured that no production was lost during the official function and a big tick with a "two thumbs up" of approval was definitely the order of the day on a Project deemed for success.

Now all the "Tradies" have to do is to keep it all together to provide both the Client and the Boonah residents of a first class facility and one everyone can be extremely proud.   



Cat 633C scraper

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