NACAP: Innovation and Integrity in the Pipeline...

NACAP is a leader in safety and innovation in Australia for gas, water and other linear assets in construction. The Company supports their projects, clients and employees through their three core business ideas: integrity, teamwork and the drive to be better. With a slew of current projects, NACAP continues to be one of the top constructors of pipeline projects, offering their services to the likes of QGC, GLNG, APLNG and Arrow.


When trying to decide the best way to increase engagement with their employees, management at NACAP dug deep with the hope they would discover their core company culture. “We spent a lot of time in recent years reflecting on what has made the business successful and what we need to do to continue doing that into the future,” said John Frith, the project director of major projects. With the realization that leading by example would add to their pillar of integrity, the company began to develop an impressive variety of employee programs to attract and retain the best workers.

An internal training program led by senior management utilises the in-house expertise and knowledge of their staff of just under 100. Directly engaging the workforce is a priority, as NACAP does not subcontract, but will hire up to 1,000 blue-collar workers at a time. Remuneration habits are benchmarked by industry standards, and they use MERSA data to make sure they are keeping up with the industry, and offering their employees the best incentives available.

Employee satisfaction is another focus which they monitor through Hewitts, an external organization. NACAP uses the feedback from the employee satisfaction surveys to determine whether the company needs to modify certain procedures to sidestep potential issues.

NACAP offers their employees several ways to succeed within the business and the industry. For example, each employee has a personal development plan. Managers meet with each member of the team every year to determine what development options might be beneficial to them to improve their value to the company as well as elevate their own personal experiences and expertise.

The company also supports various upskilling opportunities for employees. They are encouraged to enrol in courses or attend technical meetings. NACAP has found this pays dividends in employees’ satisfaction, willingness and dedication to their role within the business.

They also have instituted a continuous improvement program for each department of the business. They host bi-monthly meetings that are attended by a committee, including a range of people from various levels in that department. They meet and discuss problems they’ve seen since last meeting, allowing a venue for continuous communication between the different levels of workers.

“It’s a very positive time to be involved in the business,” said Frith. “A lot of good people have joined us and strengthened our effort. We certainly believe it's a very positive place to work.”

Code Safe Initiative

Code Safe, NACAP’s award-winning safety procedure program, is one of their standouts. The management team wanted a better way to educate their workforce on safety, so they recruited their own staff to write, produce and star in two-to-three minute long safety videos. The innovation in this movement does not stop here – they have made the videos accessible via QR codes, which, once scanned by an app on a manager’s iPad or the employee’s own smartphone, begin playing the video.

The videos show NACAP workers completing checks on the machinery, checking oil levels and accessing logbooks. The videos can also be paused, so the worker can complete the checks in real time, then go back and pick up where they left off.

Reception of these videos has been very positive. It’s a visual method to share information that usually comes from a lengthy handbook. “I think the reason why it's winning awards is that it struck a chord with the way people engage, particularly the younger generation nowadays are engaging with their work, and the media that the people are using. It’s immediate, visual, simple and accessible,” said Frith.

The Code Safe Initiative has won several awards for innovation and safety, including the International Pipeline Associate Award for Health and Safety and an internal award. There are currently about a half a dozen videos, and there are plans to continue to produce them. There is also a possibility that the videos will be rolled out to broader aspects of NACAP’s business. These measures in safety appeal to their workforce, and the innovation in which the initiative was implemented certainly appeals to their clients.

Relationship with clients

One of NACAP’s biggest sources of pride is the work they are able to accomplish with their clients. They have an impressive company portfolio that continues to grow at a rapid pace. Commitment to their clients includes developing project budgets and project planning to enable them to get bankable proposals. Once this occurs the project can be financed and then executed with the help of NACAP.

As with their Code Safe Initiative, NACAP believes they can offer their clients a level of innovation others cannot. This innovation attracts clients to the new and different ways their company is building and testing. NACAP consistently pursues work with the four main companies in the industry: QGC, GLNG, APLNG and Arrow

Current projects

To get to where they are now in terms of projects, NACAP began working on the initial project with Infield Pipeline Works (IPW) for APLNG. The IPW is based on high-pressure infrastructure in the Eastern Trench on the APLNG coal-seam gas field. The project was a success that led to future work with APLNG, mainly the lateral pipeline and current facilities.

NACAP has been awarded several large-scope changes, including non-horizontal, directional drill process at Condamine River, Dillingham Compression Facility, below-ground sewal foundation work under the Talingo Compression Facility, and the Talingo Wallumbilla Interconnect Works. Work on these projects has been going on since 2011.

The Western Trench is also in NACAP’s work lineup. It’s of a similar scope to work in the Eastern Trench and is currently under construction. The work in this area entails the construction and testing of high pressure pipelines, includes 70 kilometres of 450-millimetre pipeline and 55 kilometres of 600-millimetre pipeline.

For the future, NACAP is looking to secure projects in coal-seam gas gathering areas, as there has been an increase in pipelines to take gas from the gathering fields to the LNG plants in Gladstone. These LNG plants will be completed in the next one to two years. They are also looking to focus efforts on expansion into construction of compression facilities, because there is a need in the market for additional capacity in compression.

In 2001, NACAP was doing about $10 million worth of work a year. Today, they see about $250 million to $300 million worth of work annually. Their impressive management initiatives, their innovation in safety and the ability to continuously impress and appease their clients will most definitely be able to maintain their rate of growth.

John Frith