The innovative products produced by Neumann Steel Pty Ltd are holding up some of Australia’s most remarkable commercial and residential projects
Some of the most innovative construction projects in South East Queensland and New South Wales have been composed of steel supports imagined and brought to life by Neumann Steel. From Queensland’s first light rail project to cloud-climbing towers that will take your breath away, concrete structures designed to make life easier, safer, and more enjoyable rely on the reinforced steel bar, wire mesh, and injection-moulded plastic supports created by the Currumbin firm.
Family-owned for over 50 years, Neumann Steel is part of the Neumann Group of Companies. Early on, the division became renowned for its pioneering contribution to the nation’s building industry through its introduction to Australia of RIBWIRE cold-rolled deformed wire technology. Among the products still leading the league today are the RIBWIRE footing cage system, RIBMESH® deformed wire fabric, and customised plastic supports for reinforcing steel. Boasting high tensile strength, RIBWIRE technology is now an industry standard.
The foundation of the firm’s success is a collaborative spirit that reaches throughout the organisation. It wasn’t enough to supply generic products for use in concrete construction projects; Neumann Steel came to prominence by innovating the critical skeletal components both commercial and residential engineers and builders required to execute their most challenging structural designs. While Neumann’s novel creations are unseen by the general public, without them the art and science of concrete work would suffer indeed.
“We've been involved in a number of marquee projects, like the Gold Coast’s Jewel Towers, which have 15,000 tonnes of steel,” Neumann Steel GM Kathy Bartley said. Completed in 2019, the spectacular hotel and residential complex features three towers ranging in height from 124 to 170 metres. The towers are built on 2200 tonnes of Neumann’s reinforcing steel in the raft slab, and 1500 tonnes of steel in the towers’ transfer decks.
“These are very big projects that would not be possible without reinforcing steel. We're very proud of being part of those projects, and from our point of view, when you look at the steel it's an art form that is so impressive to see. We're involved in creating homes, cafes, restaurants, hospitals, apartments, roads, and bridges — it's a very rewarding part of an industry to be in — except that you can't see it,” she laughed.
Neumann’s project innovation coordinator, Nick Quiel, explained, “The backbone to any concrete structure is the reinforcing steel, the ‘skeleton’ that gives it rigidity and tensile strength. It’s important to provide a quality product, and when you're servicing those projects the builder and project managers have to ensure that the product you're giving them is within specifications. It’s vital to the longevity of the structure, and to keeping both the builder’s success and ours intact. It’s all about the quality of our steel.”
Make no mistake, concrete work is art that would not succeed without the support of steel-reinforcing bar, steel wire mesh, and other supports. For example, the firm recently introduced an extraordinarily helpful innovation for residential engineers: the NuRail™ 40-55 combination spacer support that makes it possible to place concrete waffle pod slabs accurately to the most demanding specifications. Waffle pod slabs are placed at ground level and are noted for their relative ease of use. Neumann’s applied its 20 years of bar chair support design and manufacturing expertise to the development of the spacer supports, creating the only combo spacer rail on the market.
Speaking to the Steel Reinforcement Institute of Australia, Quiel said, “By listening to our customers, we recognised an opportunity to develop a Dual-Height Rail Spacer.” In 2017, his team created a pair of prototypes with 3D printing technology at their state-of-the-art plastic injection moulding operation. “Once our final design passed concrete flow and load testing, we went into production using our injection-moulding machines.”
As Bartley put it, “Innovation is part of Neumann’s identity. It's what sets us apart from the competition and brings us together as a company.”
Public infrastructure, and so much more
Not only is it one of the country’s largest public transport projects, the Gold Coast Light Rail is the most extensive transport infrastructure initiative in Gold Coast history. It’s also another jewel in the Neumann Steel portfolio, with the firm supplying 106,000 square metres of customised steel mesh and 6000 tonnes of reinforcing steel bar to the project.
The company’s expertise in developing steel products for critical infrastructure projects also includes their participation in the Toowoomba Second Range Crossing. Not only did they supply 6000 tonnes of reinforcing steel for the project’s viaduct, they also supplied 375 tonnes of prefabricated pile cages, culverts, and cut and bent mesh for the drainage channels.
Residential work is another sector in which Neumann Steel shines, exemplified by their work on 2018’s HIA-CSR Queensland ‘Home of the Year,’ a strikingly modern home on Swiss Alp Drive in Urraween. Simply put, there’s no scope of work or project size that Neumann’s can’t support with their drive, expertise, and creativity to develop customised solutions that will stand the test of time.
“We’re a very small company relative to the competition,” Bartley noted. “We can survive in turbulent times, whether it's with driveway projects through to projects that require 15,000 tonnes of steel. We’re not scared to take on anything. It's very rewarding to see the size of projects we can take on as a small company because we have a very large talent pool.
“We treat our customers and suppliers as partners because when we are all successful, we all grow. And it’s so rewarding to be part of a family that genuinely gives back to the community through donations and sponsorships without recognition.” At the annual Christmas celebration, family members cook for the staff. “I think that's very unusual for a company to still be doing that in this day and age, and that means a lot to everybody that works here.
“At the end of the day we are Neumann Steel — yesterday, today, and tomorrow.”