Companies operating Fly-In-Fly-Out (FIFO) setups in the mining, oil exploration and construction industries have complex needs when it comes to shelters – especially considering these projects are often located in remote regions where extreme weather conditions are the norm.
Requirements range from fabric shelters for modern worker accommodation and communal areas, to industrial shelters that provide cover for work tasks, equipment and stock. In these types of environments, it’s particularly important that the shelters used are compliant with Australian standards, and are strong and sturdy enough to not fail or collapse at the first sign of a wind gust, or after months of extreme heat and cold!
Shelters for a FIFO workforce
Shelters for workers need to provide shade from sun and protection from strong winds and dust. They can also be used to provide communal and rest areas, and to enable workers to move around the accommodation area without being subject to harsh outdoor conditions. Examples include:
- Post-mounted shelters – post-mounted shelters can be wind-rated up to region D (288.3km). They are comprised of a modular steel framework covered by a weatherproof membrane that attaches to steel posts, and have enclosed sides. They can also have full or partial end-walls as well as doors, curtains, and gutters. To provide an example, post-mounted shelters were utilised very successfully in the Beach Energy oil exploration project in remote South Australia. The shelters were designed to make the company’s FIFO workforce safer and more comfortable in their accommodation, as the region is subject to inland temperature extremes as well as high winds and dust. Post-mounted shelters with a wide and clear span were used to provide cover for accommodation areas, provide shade and climate protection, and to create communal areas.
- Walkway shelters – these can be either cantilevered or post-mounted, and can be used to provide shade and weather protection for assembly areas, vehicles, or social areas. The shelters are naturally lit, and are also wind-rated and UV-stabilised for durability.
A range of workshop and manufacturing areas.
- Container shelters – for remote regions, it’s important that shelters of this type are easy to install, and can be tailored for individual requirements. This was seen in the case of Fortescue Metals Group, which needed shelters to use as refuelling stations for mining trucks at the Cloudbreak mine site. Container shelters can be used to provide temporary or semi-permanent undercover workshop or repair and maintenance areas, and to provide storage for spare parts or stock.
- Fully relocatable shelters – relocatable shelters can be used for temporary jobs and / or moved from one project to another as required. This means they can be easily taken away once a project licence has expired, or moved to a new site if needed. To be compliant with Australian standards, relocatable shelters in remote areas may require foundations of some kind. Options for this include earth anchors, concrete slabs attachments, or external ballast such as shipping containers.
Factors to consider
In deciding on the types of shelters required for a FIFO project, it’s important to consider a variety of factors.
- Terrain and wind speeds – it’s vital that the shelters selected match the terrain and wind-rating of the region. Ideally, the shelter’s wind-rating should apply not just to the frame but to the whole structure – that is, the frame with the cover applied. The wind-ratings of our shelters range from 147.6kms up to 288.3kms, and apply to both the frame and cover.
- Importance level – which refers to the level of human occupation within the shelter itself. The more people who will be using the shelter, the more vital it is to ensure its stability and suitability for the area and climate.
- Climatic conditions – remote regions can often experience extreme temperature fluctuations, where it can become extremely hot during the day in the hotter months, and close to zero at night in the winter. Other climate conditions to consider include the level of dust generated from winds, and whether or not the region is prone to droughts and floods.
- Weatherproofing requirements – for maximum protection from the elements, shelters should be weatherproofed to prevent water, dust and wind entry, while still allowing in enough sun for good natural lighting levels.
Failure to factor in any of these considerations when choosing a shelter on a project, whether it is being used for worker accommodation or to provide workshop or storage space, can lead to injuries, stock damage, and of course lost productivity and efficiency – which is money down the drain. To avoid this happening, especially in remote regions, it’s important to choose a shelter supplier who can provide a tailored weather protection system to meet the requirements of the specific project.
Our fully-engineered fabric shelters are designed to meet the differing needs of remote-area projects. Contact us at Allshelter if you would like more information on our shelters for FIFO or other types of commercial operations.