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Empire Global and Coates shoring up success

Image courtesy of Coates.

Material supplied by Coates

When Empire Global Constructions, a leading building and construction company, encountered some unique challenges during construction of a two-level basement for a high-end apartment complex in the ACT, they turned to the expertise of Coates Engineering Solutions.

Joe Tonkovic, Construction Manager at Empire, and Philip Lord, Temporary Works Engineer at Coates, discuss how an internal shoring system, featuring the first installation of Australia’s largest double-acting hydraulic ram, kept the basement build on schedule.

The initial basement shoring design for the Emporium Apartments project specified the use of structural steel. However, this was not viable due to the close proximity of in-ground services and the inability to anchor below neighbouring properties. Recognising the importance of finding a dependable and cost-effective solution to uphold the project’s safety and integrity, Empire knew the right people who could offer assistance.

Having previously entrusted Coates for equipment hire solutions, Empire invited the company to deliver an alternative shoring solution.

“This project provided an opportunity for Coates to utilise its proprietary hydraulic struts and implement an internally braced solution,” says Lord. “These hydraulic struts enhance stability and reinforce the shoring system, ensuring its integrity.”

Tonkovic described the environmental factors they faced along the way as uniquely challenging.

“The stop-start rain, and the amount of groundwater and rock that we had to deal with as we excavated the basement meant that we didn’t have the best start to this project,” says Tonkovic. “But these factors were out of our control, and once we reached the bottom, we were able to move forward smoothly.”


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Securing the struts to the piling presented initial challenges that required a prompt resolution.

“Being able to use core drilling to connect the hydraulic system to the capping beam was a key part of the planned installation process, but before this could happen, the piling contractor needed to perform some additional design adjustments and analysis,” Lord explains. “Once we had approval, we were able to install the system without other issues or delays.”

Supporting high structural loads was a critical requirement, due to the proximity of a sewer line and two neighbouring properties. To meet this demand, Coates Engineering Solutions introduced their  , which played a pivotal role in providing maximum support and stability across large spans.

The super heavy-duty MP375 strut has an industry-leading load-bearing capacity of up to 375 tonnes, offering Empire the necessary assurance that the excavation could withstand the lateral loads.

Working in conjunction with Empire and consulting engineers Indesco, Coates successfully designed and implemented a robust hydraulic shoring solution that safely braced the basement structure during excavation.

As Lord highlights, “Recent shoring collapses in the ACT have highlighted the need for the assurance of a safe working environment,” says Lord. “Empire valued the safety of our off-the-shelf system and managed to adapt excavation to accommodate this approach.”

Equipment availability and speed of installation were also major benefits. Lord explains, “Although this was the first application of the MP375 in Australia, we had this strut and others ready for hire. So not only did Empire avoid having to wait and pay the high price of steel, but they were able to access our system quickly to keep construction moving.”

Tonkovic acknowledges Coates’ contribution, saying, “Throughout this project, we found Coates to be very approachable and understanding of our requirements. We also appreciated their ability to accommodate our lead time, so we could get the props in place as soon as possible and minimise the time that we lost during excavation.”

The successful completion of the basement shoring project by Coates Engineering Solutions, in collaboration with Empire, showcases their exceptional expertise in delivering innovative and dependable temporary works solutions.

To explore further how Coates Engineering Solutions can elevate the cost-effectiveness, safety, and efficiency of diverse construction projects, visit their website at

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