Bid to develop research for infrastructure

LOCAL engineering firm Entec Ltd is looking to find innovative ways of developing infrastructure in Fiji through research at their new commercial laboratory in Suva.

Through this research, the company will work with various infrastructure stakeholders including Government and tertiary institutions to develop solutions for improving Fiji’s infrastructure at the commercial laboratory based in Walu Bay.

Entec officially launched their new infrastructure development research and commercial laboratory at the Holiday Inn Suva on Tuesday attended by key players in the infrastructure sector.

Company managing director Pratarp Singh said the new lab was a worthwhile investment which would soon develop research projects with universities and infrastructure stakeholders.

“Our hope is we must work closely with academia and the industry to identify the weaknesses, and then work on research and provide the training and deliver it,” he said.

“Not only to make roads, but the whole infrastructure better.”

Mr Singh said Fiji’s infrastructure assets were ageing, similar to those in most developing economies.

“What I see around the region is that we are suffering with our resources and we don’t have enough technical equipment and development partners are pumping a huge amount of money,” he said.

“We need to look wisely on how to minimise that money and do a better designing, researching and innovation. Technology has moved on. How we can change our construction techniques?”

Mr Singh said they would work further in training major infrastructure asset owners like the Fiji Roads Authority, Water Authority of Fiji, Fiji Electricity Authority and Telcom Fiji Ltd.

“What I would like to see at the end of the day is some good solutions for the region and not only Fiji,” he said.

“The private sector is the main driver of any economy and we need to understand how and where the fit is.

“Fiji can do better, small island states can do better, the world can do better, but it’s an effort which should involve all sectors.”

Mr Singh also highlighted that their new commercial lab had modern equipment which were capable of doing several tests.

This includes soil permeameter, triaxial testing machine, pile driving analyser, organic content test machine concrete permeability machine, skid resistance and friction tester including many more.

Officiating at the launch, permanent secretary for the Ministry of Infrastructure and Transport Paul Bayly said the launch marked another significant step in Entec’s journey.

“It’s very extensively fitted out laboratory that can do soils testing, concrete, asphalt, aggregates and all the stuff that we need to be,” Mr Bayly said.

“Not only will this laboratory and its team be conducting research and partnership with industry and that includes Government, but also with academia.”

Entec Ltd, which has offices in Suva and Nadi, has also been involved in a variety of local and regional development projects, some of which through its association with established international consultancy practices since 1999.

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