Sustainability, one road at a time, with Alex Fraser
August 18, 2021
Roads and Infrastructure Magazine spoke to Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy about Queensland’s increasing demand for recycled products in infrastructure.
Alex Fraser has been supplying the Queensland construction market with sustainable alternatives since 1995. Managing Director Peter Murphy says the industry’s relation with recycled products continues to evolve.
Alex Fraser cemented its position in the Queensland construction market as the leading recycler and provider of sustainable construction materials, pioneering and setting the standard for the use of recycled material in projects.
With long established, sustainable production facilities throughout the Brisbane City Council and Moreton Bay Regional Council areas, Alex Fraser supplies civil construction projects with tonnes of highly sustainable, recycled products, like roadbase, aggregates and asphalt.
Alex Fraser Managing Director Peter Murphy says the evolving specifications within the civil construction industry have further increased recycled material supply, with more and more contractors motivated to seek out sustainable alternatives.
“The latest specifications make it much easier for contractors to use recycled materials. It means that when a contractor is pricing up work, they can look for the most competitive supplier,” he says.
“The specifications are clear on where they can use recycled materials for their project.”
This clarity is provided in the latest specifications from Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads and has enabled contractors to confidently use recycled materials, avoiding the confusion of separate specifications.
“It lets the contractor choose whatever material best suits the job and their client’s needs, as long as it meets the specifications, and it arrives on time. It helps them find the best product at the best cost and allows them to put in the most competitive bid possible for a project,” Murphy says.
Using recycled materials not only reduces environmental impact of Queensland’s construction projects through carbon and landfill savings, it also reduces project costs and the number of trucks required to deliver materials.
Contractors can reduce their carbon footprint when using material such as recycled concrete roadbase or aggregates, and asphalt with high recycled content including RAP, glass and HDPE plastics. Substantial research conducted by the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads demonstrates that the material performs very well when compared with traditional products.
Alex Fraser’s recycled concrete roadbase was used on sections of the Bruce Highway Upgrade project, where it helped reduce carbon emissions by 47 tonnes.
Murphy says Alex Fraser clients have experienced exemplary results when using recycled product for their projects.
“Contractors are now more confident when using recycled material, as they are now familiar with the specifications required for projects. They know that the product itself will perform as well, if not better, than conventional materials.”
The benefits are very clear in projects opting for recycled materials, as Murphy explains. “The main benefit for contractors using recycled roadbase is the density savings, as this sustainable alternative is 10 per cent lighter than quarried materials,” he says. Such results have seen demand for recycled materials grow throughout Queensland since Alex Fraser entered the market, 25 years ago.
“Major contractors are under more and more pressure these days from clients to deliver their projects on time and on budget.Additionally, their clients are interested in the environmental benefits that can be achieved during the construction and completion of the project,” Murphy says.
“Contractors, in private and government sectors, want to be on the front foot when it comes to delivering sustainable outcomes. There’s also an increasing group of asset owners who want to find innovative ways maximise on environmental returns of their new infrastructure.”
The Department’s View
Queensland’s Department of Transport and Main Roads has welcomed the use of recycled products in construction and infrastructure projects across the state.
“Using recycled materials has the potential to deliver significant benefits, including reducing landfill, protecting the environment and our lifestyle, network performance, creating a circular economy and reducing emission,” a spokesperson from the Department tells Roads & Infrastructure.
“We have already identified ways to reduce waste and emissions to deliver sustainable infrastructure by including glass, tyres, reclaimed asphalt, construction and demolition waste into our roads.”
The Department is aiming to further encourage the industry’s uptake of recycled materials by releasing resources for contractors and operators to educate them on sustainable alternatives.
“To support the wider use of recycled materials, we also launched the ‘Building Sustainable Roads’ initiative, aimed at improving awareness of the potential uses of recycled materials on our projects,” the spokesperson said.
“The Department is sending a strong signal to the market to encourage the use of recycled materials, while allowing contractors the ability to adopt the best approach, adjust and change according to local availability, local skills and cost effectiveness.”
The statewide initiative aligns with Alex Fraser’s vision of ‘Building Greener Roads’ Murphy believes that the actions taken by Moreton Bay and Brisbane City Councils are examples of the necessary innovation that can happen for the rest of Queensland’s construction industry.
“These are two major asset owners who have not been afraid to be innovative to achieve sustainable infrastructure throughout their municipalities,” he says.
“They have set a great example for others in the industry on how to approach infrastructure sustainability.”
The introduction of recycled material suppliers has also resulted in more competition for construction projects in the Moreton Bay and Brisbane City Council areas, benefiting the local economy.
“Both councils were very forward thinking; having established recycled materials outlets to service the growing Queensland construction market,” says Murphy.
For Alex Fraser, this momentum towards sustainable infrastructure only fuels their drive to invest in and innovate sustainable construction materials; to help Queensland build greener roads.
“We’ve been in Queensland for over 25 years and we’re continuously investing in making our product greener. By increasing the capacity of our plants, we’re ensuring the Queensland market has access to a reliable supply of quality, sustainable materials to build greener roads.”
This article was originally published in the August edition of Roads and Infrastructure Magazine. To read Roads Online, click here.
Read more of our recent Queensland stories here: