The latest modular building techniques are minimising the environmental impact of mobile accommodation facilities used to service the mining and resources sector.

A mobile accommodation camp built to service a resources project in a remote part of Queensland is one of the largest facilities of its type in the country to make use of innovative modular construction techniques to minimise environmental disruption.

Santo GLNG enlisted Ausco Modular to build its 300-room Duck Creek Road Camp, which services the Comet Ridge to Wallumbilla Pipeline Loop around 80 kilometres to the north-east of Roma in Queensland, in accordance with a new “plug and play” modular mobile camp first unveiled by the building company in November last year.

According to Ben Knight, director for strategy and business development with Ausco Modular, the mobile camp built at Duck Creek Road is one of the largest of its kind in the country, given that a typical mobile camp consists of between 50 to 100 rooms.

Despite its size, however, construction of the mobile camp required a crew of only 12 tradesmen and a small fleet of all-terrain forklifts, without the need for cranes to lift buildings or excavation machinery to dig holes.

The modular mobile camp delivers the standard features expected of permanent accommodation facilities in remote areas via methods which result in swift construction as well as minimised impact on the surrounding environment.

The key to the “plug and play” model of mobile camp is the efficient use of service connections between buildings for electrical and hydraulic services. These services can be connected together swiftly to produce complete service reticulation for the entire camp within a comparatively short period of time.

One of the chief advantages of the plug and play connections is that they are all situated above ground, dispensing with the need for the the type of excavations characteristic of traditional camps which leave an enduring mark upon the natural environment. The only earth clearing required to establish the camp is the creation of the space for the facilities themselves.

The plug and play mobile camp also minimises the amount of rubbish and debris generated by dispensing with the concrete pathways, off-building verandas and concreted posts which are generally favoured by conventional mobile camps.

This means that following disassembly and removal, the camp site and surrounding environment can be restored to a condition closely resembling its original state prior to human occupancy.