New technology a boon to civil engineering

Markham Culverts' motto "Helping Engineers to build a better PNG" is underscored by their commitment

New technology a boon to civil engineering New technology a boon to civil engineering New technology a boon to civil engineering New technology a boon to civil engineering New technology a boon to civil engineering

Markham Culverts

Their belief in honesty and integrity in their business dealings and a safe workplace ensures the safety of their employees and the community they live and work in.

"We are the only company in this country who only stock and sell culverts, wire products (gabions, reno-mat) geofabric and grids to meet the PNG Australia and NZ highway standards," general manager Ron Lane told PNG Report.

"There are many stores in PNG who specialise in selling civil engineering lookalikes which seldom meet the required standard. "We are a TRACE (Anti-Bribery Specialist Accreditation) company, what we sell is what we claim to sell. "The ongoing search for new resource projects and the development of agricultural projects in a country as diverse and mountainous as Papua New Guinea relies heavily on continuing advancements in expertise and products.

Founded in 1972 as part of the Armco group, the company is now a 100% PNG-registered company with the major shareholders based in Lae and Port Moresby. The company still manufactures culverts, and bridge decking and introduced the Palisade fencing product to PNG. Ron Lane put it perfectly when commenting, "we are often copied, but never improved upon by our competitors.

"Although we've been around a long time we see ourselves as being very innovative. We have the ability to not only sell a product, but to be able to assist the customer with the design around the end use of the project and suggest ways to save money while getting the best results. "We manufacture steel road culverts to the Department of Works standard (PNG, NZ, Aust) and sell both in country and export to neighbouring countries from time to time.

We manufacture a range from 300mm wide to 1950mm wide. In addition to standard round culverts we make an extensive range of segmented products such as steel trenching, double invert culverts,  arched pipes, slotted culvert, and also bigger over-sized culverts called segmented plate culverts, up to 3.6 metres in diameter, these we import. We're major stockists of geofabrics and geogrids which are used primarily on roads and building platforms. Our products come from the manufacturers of the world's leading first introducers of geosynthetic products for the modern world."

Markham Culverts supplied most of the geofabric and geogrid for the PNG LNG project in the Southern Highlands providing more than a million square metres of geosynthetics into the operation over the development period "We have expertise in design and sealing of a wide range of containment ponds and have regularly provided geosynthetic clay liner (GCL), which introduces bentonite clay particles to a fabric medium causing it to swell to form an impervious clay liner when water is added. We are stockists of HDPE (High Density Polyethylene) sheeting in large rolls and have in-house capability to weld to international standards. We are continually undertaking project work to provide materials and weld containment areas for a wide range of projects.

"Our business is not just about stocking and supplying culverts, geosynthetics and guard rails for highways, we have a whole range of engineering products and our major advantage is that we are capable of designing containment systems and rock fall systems. We're doing design work to prevent landslides in the highlands for major oil and gas projects, but our focus right now is fixing the slips after the latest earthquake."

"While the company has an in-house qualified engineer for daily queries our complicated design work is done by our major suppliers, we do not charge for any design work provided. We do not see ourselves as consulting engineers, and in fact we support the consulting engineering professionals in PNG.

"The airport fencing that's been going up for the past 10-12 years was designed by us in conjunction with the NAC (National Airline Corporation) engineering professionals. We monitor our product around the country and we are proud to note our first product some 15 years ago is still looking like it was installed yesterday.

"We are sole agents in Papua New Guinea for many of the world's leading manufacturers and distributors such as Geofabrics Australia (GA) and through GA we are sole agents for Maccaferri mesh products, Tencate, Tensar and many more. We are also the sole distributors for Ingal Civil Products highway furniture, Concrete Canvas and Mabey Bridge Ltd." The acquisition of the world class Mabey Bridge Ltd agency has enabled Markham Culverts to work more closely with the stakeholders who finance bridging for PNG.

"Over the last few years there has been an influx of below standard bridges, which do not meet the strict standards of the Department of Works. Our aim is to stock bridges and spare parts in PNG making the product very accessible in both finished bridges and in replacement parts for damages," Lane stated.

"The Bailey bridge is a pre-fabricated, panel bridge made around modular design developed by the British during World War II for military use and was used extensively by Australian, British, Canadian and US military engineering units. < />

"Most people in PNG know of the Bailey Bridge, which was the forerunner of the new Mabey Compact 200. Bailey Bridges is a registered brand name owned by Markham Culverts Ltd here in PNG." A decided advantage for the Markham Culverts Ltd team is that they can price these bridges on the spot.

Another new important addition to the company's range of supplies for the civil engineering community in PNG is a product called Concrete Canvas, which is a flexible, concrete-impregnated fabric that hardens when hydrated to form a non-structural thin, durable, water proof and fire-resistant concrete layer.

Concrete Canvas is available in man-portable rolls and can be laid at a rate of 200m2 per hour by a three-man team. Typical installation speeds are up to 10 times faster than conventional concrete solutions and can be constructed in remote area without the need for plant or mixing equipment. "Concrete Canvas was developed in the UK by two young engineers and is the only product of its type.

You can basically roll it out, shape it, water it and it turns into concrete," Lane explained. "It has a huge number of applications and has been approved for use on PNG airport side drainage and is in common use at most mining and gas sites and will be the open drain choice of the future." Looking to the future he saw the mining, oil and gas industries as the biggest customers for Markham Culverts going forward while they actively continue to service the plantation and timber industry, some of which they have serviced for decades. "There is no mining operation, plantation group, or provincial government in this country that we're not selling to.

We go all over the country and I've made a commitment to the Department of Works to visit each of the 22 provinces personally at least once a year. We also visit and supply to the islands. I'm about to go to New Ireland for the Department of Works to inspect some bridges and we recently visited Rabaul to inspect HDPE welding done by others on the sewerage ponds on behalf of PNG Water." Lane is also proud of Markham Culvert's involvement in the community.

Each year they sponsor competitions for first year engineering students at the University of Technology in Lae and hope to be sponsor a lecturer from Australia to provide some training on geosynthetics. They also pln to send engineers from the Lae University and Polytech to Australia to attend a Geosynthetics seminar.



  • Phone: (Lae): (675) 472 2666, (National Capital District): (675) 325 8730
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