Building a BSP bank and Post Office as well as accommodation facilities and support services in a remote area like Kikori in the Gulf Province required solutions to a variety of logistical problems – but it was a challenge Global Modular Solutions (GMS) was happy to take on.

The company took on a project that many would have found too problematic, difficult and complicated from the design to the supply and finally the installation – but achieved success through innovation and a commitment to ensure a quality and practical sustainable development.

“We were introduced to Petroleum Resource Kutubu (PRK) and Mineral Resources Development Corporation (MRDC) through our banking relationship with BSP,” says Philemon Saya, Project Manager for GMS in Kikori.

“We had supplied and helped install remote modular banks for BSP. MRDC having heard about our ability to deliver quality modular buildings in very short timeframes contacted us for more information. We were then requested to design a solution to work for Kikori and after several proposals were given approval to begin work.”

As a local modular building solutions provider, GMS welcomed the opportunity to work with highly recognisable organisations such as PRK and MRDC and undertook to deliver a project of high quality. It was not an easy challenge. “Kikori is probably one of the most difficult sites to get to in the Highlands/Gulf ‘Resource Corridor’,” says Saya.

“The greatest challenge was the transportation of building materials, plant, equipment and workers to and from Kikori. There are only a few options in which you are able to transport such a large quantity of building materials. Using local operators in Kikori we had to come up with creative ways to move such large pieces of equipment and building modules.”

The logistical challenges included vessels not operational due to mechanical problems or poor weather conditions and also having planes unable to fly due to scheduled maintenance or breakdowns.

“Short of chartering a small plane to Kikori the two options available – by sea took 48 hours and by road after flying into Kutubu first takes a grueling 8 hours on some of the hardest traveling 4WD roads in the country that are constantly blocked due to flooding.”

“We engaged expert consultants who have all done work in extreme environments and remote sites around PNG. They knew what type of infrastructure were user friendly, easy to maintain, easy to source parts locally and suited the weather and environment that was unique in PNG. The Infrastructure was custom designed and custom built to suit the project scope and the Kikori environment.” Saya says credit goes to his team at GMS as well as key suppliers including Delta Kikori, Air Sanga Airlines who helped keep the lifeline to Kikori open.

Another challenge GMS faced was coming up with an innovative foundation solution. Transporting large amounts of aggregate, cement and sand for traditional concrete foundation piers was not the preferred option. GMS is using a patent foundation system for all its modular solutions in PNG.

“The Mega Anchor foundation system was adopted by GMS and we negotiated with the products owner to become the exclusive distributor in PNG,” says Saya.

“The Mega Anchor foundation system uses galvanised steel piles that are driven into the ground which then allow a sub floor to be constructed and the building assembled onto that sub floor. The system was engineered to the highest standards by the products owner as well as independent engineers in Australia and PNG.” So now that they have successfully completed the project – what have been some of the lessons learnt? Saya says one must learn to adapt to and manage the changes in weather.

“Allow room in the construction program for additional rainy days,” he says. “Kikori experiences severe weather, largely wet weather so part of the challenge was trying to progress work despite such inclement and wet weather.”However GMS were greatly assisted by the community support.

“We had great support from the local community. Apart from the hire of some tradesmen and local labour we also hired the local women association to provide landscaping for some of the site as well as help with final clean and hand over procedures. Local security guards were hired to ensure safety of our materials and work force. It was a very positive experience for all stakeholders.”

“We are very satisfied with the overall quality and design of the project. Careful consideration was given during the planning to ensure a smooth installation phase. At the end of the day, to design, manufacture, transport and install a commercial bank building, post office building, security office, public restroom, full infrastructure services and 10 self contained units inside of 6-8 months in one of the most difficult locations in PNG, is certainly a milestone we are proud of.”

“By bringing economic activity and the flow and delivery of information through Post PNG, Kikori should see an injection of activity not yet experienced in such a remote area of PNG.”

Philemon R. Saya

GMS Project Manager – Kikori Development Project