semf insight21 1

The port of Echuca on the Murray River is a site of State and National heritage significance. It draws visitors from across Australia and overseas through its status as Australia’s largest inland port and its reputation as a paddle steamer capital. 

SEMF was successful in delivering a $15 million redevelopment of the Port of Echuca with the assistance of Federal, State and Local Government funding. This included a major refurbishment of the heritage wharf and redevelopment of the Port of Echuca Discovery Centre. The Port of Echuca’s visitor experience is vastly improved from this major investment and provides the visitor with a compelling reason to visit Echuca.

The Discovery Centre plays a key role as a platform for visitors to explore and appreciate the broader Port site. The building has been designed to reinforce interpretation themes through spatial planning, built form, materiality and detail, a place to reveal the Port’s rich collection of stories.

The scale of the building carefully responds to the adjacent structure, drawing on their modest roof forms and timber cladding to integrate the Centre into the streetscape. The roof is shaped to sit the building comfortable within its context, its folded form a key component of the architectural language. Entry points are marked by Shady verandas and veiled by screens of recycled wharf timbers that evoke images of light filtering through the River Red Gums to reveal a strong connection with the land. 

Within the centre, the roof is expressed as an expansive canopy over the entry foyer, the highlight glazing on each end illuminating the space and assisting the timber ceiling to float gently above. 

"The Port of Echuca’s visitor experience is vastly improved and provides the visitor with a compelling reason to visit Echuca."

Specialist lighting is used for interpretive displays to enhance the visual aspects. The building services (Mechanical and Electrical) have been designed to provide visitors with comfortable and visually pleasing spaces whilst meeting and exceeding the requirements of the ‘Energy Provisions’ of the BCA.

Spaces overlap, open and contract, providing an abstract canvas for a myriad of stories to unfold, merging with each other to create a vivid sensory experience. 

SEMF provided key services in the Electrical, Communication, Mechanical, Water and Stormwater, gas, sewage, structural and geotechnical services.

Information was retrieved from JAWS architects and the Port of Echuca discovery centre. 

Posted by SEMF on 7 January 2015


semf insight21 2

Construction of new developments and making changes to existing operations can be a complicated process, potentially prone to variation and delays. Graincorp Oilseeds was mindful of this when planning to invest $35 million at its existing oilseed processing facility at Numurkah, Victoria. 

SEMF was employed for its knowledge of the Numurkah and other existing Graincorp operations within Australia, and the ability of its multidisciplinary team to co-ordinate the wide range of expertise from concept through design and construction. 

The Graincorp Oilseed development represents a significant investment in the regional area of Numurkah, as it will create an additional nine roles at the site and secure the future of the operation.  The installation of the new industry best practice vegetable oil refining process will allow the plant to take the existing oil seed processing one stage further, by expanding the range of edible oils handled and refined there, with fast implementation of the project being vital to Graincorp maximising its market share. 

Graincorp sought to ensure adequate planning and implementation of the development (design, construction and commissioning) program, and minimise variation and delays, through the careful selection of the Project Management Team: 

  • A Project Manager in an overview role; 
  • SEMF for it’s multidisciplinary (Industrial, Mechanical, Electrical, and Building Engineering, Environmental, and Drafting) capabilities; and 
  • Graincorp Project Team for design, operational, financial decisions and approvals.  

This structure worked effectively through the adoption of a clearly defined communication and approval system which enabled early identification of potential issues, and challenges to be worked through to achieve an optimal outcome and solutions to be implemented in a timely manner.

An additional project benefit was that both the Project Manager and SEMF’s co-ordinator had considerable prior knowledge of the Graincorp’s existing sites, their operational and environmental management measures and issues.

SEMF’s multidisciplinary approach and wholistic knowledge of the development was beneficial for this project through the:

  • Provision of a range of skills and expertise under one SEMF project manager (a one stop shop);
  • Reduction of the need for and expense of handover;  
  • Ease of design review across skill sets and implementation of subsequent variations; 
  • Greater wholistic knowledge of a project enabling early identification of potential issues;
  • Subsequent minimisation of future unforeseen problems and costs;
  • Improved control of confidentiality for market advantage in the early planning stages; and
  • Use of an agreed system for internal and external communications.

SEMF worked closely with Graincorp and a global equipment supplier to select refining technology and associated infrastructure that would ensure optimal physical refining capabilities, as well as best practice energy, water, fugitive odour and noise management.   

  • An important aspect of this successful project was the identification of issues and areas of concern and co-ordination of preparatory and baseline investigations which:
  • Assessed potential environmental impacts and allowed for measurement of the effectiveness of proposed management measures; 
  • Allowed the engineering design to consider environmental, operational and site layout and functionality constraint issues up front, and to then feed directly into the various approval processes;
  • Were beneficial in the identification and reduction of unknowns; and
  • Minimised unforeseen future costs.  

With the findings of these baseline investigations in hand, Graincorp was able to commit to the implementation of mitigation measures prior to commencing the community consultation and approvals process (e.g. environmental, planning, building, and dangerous goods). This knowledge and foresight provided greater confidence of the project proceeding smoothly and in a timely manner.

The Graincorp development has progressed through the design and approval phase (being one of the first projects to use the Victorian Environment Protection Authority’s new Environmental Fast Track Works Approval Process) and SEMF is continuing its involvement in the construction and commissioning phase. 

Posted by SEMF on 7 January 2015


Our focus in collaborating across the whole SEMF, working as ONE team to deliver projects for our clients is proving a right direction/framework for us to continue progressing our vision.

The ONE SEMF framework outlines how:

  • We deliver total solutions to our clients expectations
  • We work as one organisation across our geographic boundaries
  • Our risk management systems support our staff to project manage and deliver the works

In short, how we work together as ONE team to deliver projects for our clients. This is an exciting time as we have the opportunity to expand on our success to date, and are confident that our staff and clients will see the benefits of this journey.

Posted by SEMF on 7 January 2015


Thierry Melis – Principal Hydraulics Engineer

I have recently re-joined SEMF Sydney as Principal Hydraulics Engineer after stints with ARUP and AECOM in their Sydney offices.  I am a hydraulic services engineer from a trade background; I have designed a wide variety of projects over the years in a wide variety of sectors. My speciality areas are health, laboratory and commercial buildings. I have also been involved with the design of a number of 5 and 6-star Greenstar commercial buildings in Sydney, Canberra and Brisbane. In my spare time I enjoy skiing, surfing, horse riding and spending time with my family.

Doug Hall – Project Administrator

I am a services project manager at SEMF. I have held previous positions with PSG Electrical as a construction project manager and Russell-Smith as a branch manager, where I have worked on a range of large commercial construction projects through-out Tasmania. When I’m not studying, I like to spend my spare time playing/writing music and racing slot cars. My partner and I also enjoy playing with our two dogs and fine dining. When I can find time I enjoy cycling and camping.

Chris Morrison – Principal Water Engineer

I am a Principal Water Engineer with 24 years’ experience having worked solely in the Water Industry.  I have previously worked at GHD (3 years), MWH (15 years) and Fisher Stewart (6 years).  I also spent 5 years living and working in Northern California on large water treatment projects.  I am married with two children and enjoy all sports with a particular passion for baseball.  

Nyssa Muir – Senior Electrical Engineer

I am an electrical engineer with 9 years’ experience in the power generation & transmission industry. I have recently come from the Hydro where I worked on large alternators, PLC control systems, electrical protection and auxiliary systems. I grew up in Mooloolah (QLD) and now live in Lindisfarne with my boyfriend. We enjoy bushwalking, mountain biking, travelling, gardening and taking our two Labradoodles to the beach.

Shihan Fernando – Senior Mechanical Engineer

I am a senior mechanical services engineer with 12 years’ experience in HVAC systems. I have previously worked at SPA, LEHR and AECOM/Bassett and worked on wide range of projects across a variety of sectors (i.e. health, aged care, educational and commercial, etc) on both large and small scale projects. I enjoy being outdoors and keeping active with my family in my spare time. Films and movies are generally a priority when I am relaxing at home. I love to travel and enjoy a little amateur photography.   

Robert Newman – Graduate Electrical Engineer

I am recent graduate engineering student who completed his major in Mechatronics/Robotics & sub-major in Electrical Engineering in 2012. Apart from my studies I have experienced in many industrial projects with a contractor named Fredon Industries Pty Ltd as an intern and fulltime engineer. Such projects that I participated in are the new Sydney University Science Building -Charles Perkins Centre, Moorebank Relocation Unit for the Defence and SICEEP – Darling Harbour.

Posted by on 7 January 2015


SEMF on Facebook

We regularly share updates and news on our facebook page.

Mailing List

Want to receive our quarterly news? Sign up for our mailing list below.

Site design by Jac in a Box | Development by Small Studio