TALK about the right place at the right time …
When Brett and Sharmaine Mansfield shifted business address three years ago, they had little idea they’d set up in the ideal location for what was to come next.
Their address is Cove Hill Road in Bridgewater, an address that turned
out to be a short distance – and a few months – from work on the new Bridgewater Bridge.
And with that project came a boatload of jobs requiring the steel- wrangling skills of their company.
The Mansfields got to work.
Liverpool Engineering is an 80-year-old company founded on the street of the same name in Hobart, moved to Salamanca sometime in the 1940s, then to Federal Street in North Hobart.
Around 2019, it was time to move. The husband and wife team looked at Glenorchy and Moonah, but couldn’t find enough space.
“With all the stuff we’ve accumulated over the years, we needed a big workshop and a big yard,” says Brett, showing me a roll-forming machine, used to bend steel into diesel or gasoline tanks.
“That kind of work is no more, but I can’t part with something that started life at the Zinc Company (now Nyrstar) back in the day,” he laughs.
Brett became owner of Liverpool after starting as an employee back in 1980, with Sharmaine joining 17 years ago.
“She’s the brains of the outfit,” he says. “I’m just the hands-on guy.”
Their work on the new bridge comes mostly from BridgePro, the marine construction company responsible for the giant barges now being placed across the Derwent as a working platform.
There’s the small stuff: forming handrails, gang planks and jacking plates. Then there’s the big jobs, the frames that support the piles when they’re being driven into the riverbed.
The Mansfields’ output has already drawn compliments from the bridge contractor, McConnell Dowell.
“The work we’ve done has generated more work, and that’s exactly what you want with a business like ours,” says Brett.
“We’ve been involved in many projects in Tasmania and to be part of this moment in time is an honour to us and our business.
“We’ve got a built-in advantage,” he continues. “A company like McConnell Dowell makes it clear they want to employ local people. So you turn up on time, provide the service, deliver the goods at the price you said.
“It’s not magic that the work continues to come in. “And honestly, what we do is not unusual,” he adds. “Welding pieces of steel, even these 600-mm thick steel beams for the temporary bridge … that’s something we can handle easily.”
The four-tonne section he’s leaning on will travel all of three kilometres to the bridge site in about a week’s time.
“Yes, we’re in exactly the right place,” says Brett Mansfield.