Four years ago, Emily Zaja joined Manteena as a receptionist. Since then, she has progressed into two different career pathways within the Manteena team and is now an up and coming Project Administrator working her way through the Cadet program.
I had been in casual roles in retail and childcare and was looking for a receptionist role. Manteena had advertised for a receptionist and office administration role which I applied for. I got the job and started in May 2019. In January 2021 I joined Manteena Security as a Bid Coordinator and decided I wanted to become more involved in project delivery. In May 2022 I moved into the Cadet program and that is where I still am today.
I naturally took an interest to construction after being exposed through a family business. Working my way from a reception role to a more construction admin role was my goal.
I enjoy being a part of a team and working with experienced colleagues who have worked in the industry for years. I enjoy working closely with subcontractors and building relationships with them.
Being a part of a project, whether big or small, is extremely rewarding and there is nothing better than achieving program and budget at the end of a project.
Manteena has allowed me to be in multiple junior roles and to gain experience in both corporate, bid/tendering and project delivery. They have been supportive in my young career journey and helped me navigate to where I want to be.
Manteena is a close-knit community which allows everyone work closely and collaboratively. We have a great team and really good leadership.
Yes and no. I knew after finishing school I wanted to jump into an admin role not really knowing I would like construction as much as I do. When the opportunity came up to work at Manteena I thought this could be a great career path and that has been the case so far.
If you want job satisfaction and to be a part of an industry where you make a difference, then construction is for you. Project Administration is the best of both worlds, being able to be on site and also working in an office environment.
It’s hard to remember a time before the Irish laughter of Maurice Flynn filled Head Office. As a carpenter by trade, the global exposure he has had to construction over the years has led to the expertise and insight we are fortunate enough to have in our Security Operations Manager since late 2021.
I started out as an apprentice carpenter in Ireland in 1984. When I finished my apprenticeship I stayed in Ireland until about 1990 when I went to London for a short stint. From there I moved over to Germany where I worked as a carpenter and eventually became a site manager.
After seven years in Germany I moved to the Czech Republic for three and a half years as a Project Manager on a project from a contact I had made in Germany. During this time I went back to Ireland for a wedding, which was meant to be a weekend trip. However, I met my now wife and didn’t end up leaving!
I stayed in Ireland and worked as a Project Manager for a large commercial contractor completing a range of projects from schools, to uni accommodation, a tennis village, courthouse and police stations.
In 2008, my wife and I moved to Australia with our young family. I started at St Hilliers as a Project Manager and went on to become a Senior Project Manager before joining Lendlease as a Project Director.
In 2016 I completed a course in mediation and dispute resolution to become a qualified mediator which has been a great tool as a Project Manager and Operations Manager. I have completed a number of mediations focusing on construction issues in that time.
I came to Manteena in late 2021 as Operations Manager for Manteena Security and that is where I have stayed.
It seemed like a natural progression from carpentry and I was always interested in management. I love woodwork, woodturning and creating things so it was the natural progression from being ‘on the tools’ while still being involved in something I enjoy.
We do what we say we will do and we have a good culture. We specialise in the challenges that the unique type of work we do requires and are fantastic at bringing the logistics and management skills needed to complete those projects.
We are great at managing and understanding client needs from the tender, all the way through to completion which I think sets us apart.
Very enjoyable. We have great, open and honest communication and I have a great time. We have a great vibe around the office and a diverse range of people with different backgrounds. The balance of construction, defence and completely different industry backgrounds is what makes our team so great.
The leadership from our Directors is also great, and that flows down into the leadership of our individual teams.
I suppose. Like I said it was a natural progression for me but I think I am more suited to operations than being ‘down in the trenches’!
It can be very difficult and challenging but also very rewarding. There is a wealth of opportunity in the style of projects you can work on, the countries you can work in and the people you can work with.
In 2022, Zeroed was established as Manteena’s newest subsidiary, focusing on delivering world class shooting range and live-fire training facilities to the Australian market. General Manager, Daniel Knight, never imagined this would be the direction his career took, despite a long-term link to Australian Policing.
After completing my PhD, I relocated to Singapore where I spent 3 years working in a specialist company operating in the space of infrastructure protection and resilience for projects all over the world. This included Australian Government work throughout South-East Asia and the Middle East, as well as infrastructure resilience projects throughout Europe and the USA. This work quickly built my appetite for specialist and unique construction using leading products and materials. Upon returning to Australia, I commenced with Manteena Security as a Project Manager on domestic and overseas high-security projects.
In 2018 we identified a growing industry requirement for indoor shooting range facilities within Australia and began to focus our attention on this space and build a dedicated capability. This led to the securing of specialist works on various Australian prominent indoor shooting range projects. In the last 5 years we have been involved in the delivery of all major range projects for Australian Police groups.
In 2022 Zeroed Pty Ltd was officially established as a subsidiary within Manteena, with a core focus on delivering world class shooting range and live-fire training facilities. At this time, I assumed the role of General Manager.
It is a unique and niche space globally, and one that is of incredible interest to me given the focus on technology application and unique modular construction techniques. I came from a Policing family, my father served as a Police officer for nearly 20 years, so when the opportunity arose within Australia I was eager to pursue building a career and capability with the Manteena Group.
Zeroed has a unique offering to the Australian industry. As part of the Manteena Group, we lean on the extensive heritage and experience of an Australian awarded builder who operate in a unique space with projects both in Australia, and globally.
We partner with specialist suppliers in the shooting range industry and apply their product knowledge and technology to support Australian requirements for Police, Defence and Commercial customer bases. This enables us to use a turn-key approach to deliver major projects starting from design, through procurement, construction and maintenance and servicing – under a single capability.
Our core partner, Action Target, have been fundamental to our growth and success. We work hand in hand with the Action Target team to tailor products and services for the Australian market, this includes local procurement initiatives and fabrication of key systems.
An important component for us is also understanding what our customers’ requirements are. We regularly receive feedback from our customers on their growing needs in this industry and tailor products to suit, this included internal R&D initiatives and product developments.
In the early years of my career this was never a pathway that I imagined would exist but having unearthed this space I have grown a passion for the industry and further developing our capability to support our Australian customers.
Being involved in such a unique space which supports the training needs of Law Enforcement and Defence is incredibly rewarding. On a daily basis I am fortunate enough to interact with some of the leading special operations personnel in Australia to understand their growing training needs, or how they are utilising our equipment or services.
Modular construction has been on the rise over the last 5 years, growing from a concept used largely for demountable classrooms in schools, to now a significant and specialised area of the construction industry.
At Manteena, our experience with modular construction continues to grow, especially in the security space where it is now recognised as a core capability of Manteena Security.
The terminology involved in modular construction can sometimes be confused, so let’s start at the top.
Prefabrication is the general offsite construction of materials for onsite construction. For example, wall structures can be prefabricated offsite and joined together onsite to create the structure of the building.
Modular construction is the overarching term used to describe offsite construction, and prefabrication is likely to be involved in modular construction. In general terms, the process of modularisation involves the construction of an entire building, significant components of a building, or smaller sections of a building in factory like conditions off-site. These elements are often pre-tested and commissioned in these factories to the same standards and codes as traditional methods. The ‘modules’ are then brought together on site to create the whole facility, typically in an accelerated program compared to that of traditional construction techniques.
Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DFMA) is the design philosophy behind prefabrication that stresses a holistic view of the prefabrication and modular construction processes. It takes into account the design of individual elements and the completed structure, but focuses on how the elements will be connected to make the structure.
There are a few key ways in which modular construction tends to be adopted. 2D modular construction is essentially the equivalent of a flat pack. The components are prefabricated to specification offsite and then installed onsite, this is the type of Modular construction that Manteena regularly utilises.
3D, or volumetric, modular construction is where the systems are fully assembled offsite and transported as a finished product to the final location, generally in modules which are connected together onsite. This includes the modularised shooting ranges delivered under the Zeroed capability.
There are also hybrid models that take the best from both 2D and 3D, which we employ in remote locations where there is a trade-off between shipping cost and the efficiency of sending finishing trades to site.
The key benefits of modular construction over brick-and-mortar builds tend to vary based on the context of the project. However, the major benefits are as follows:
The prefabrication and DfMA nature of modular construction means the average time on site is significantly reduced. This results in less overall impact to a site, especially where sites are still operational (such as offices, schools and operational Government facilities). It also allows for activities to be undertaken simultaneously i.e., offsite module manufacture occurs in parallel to onsite preparation activities such as civil or service works, overall leading to a net reduction in project duration.
An example of this benefit is the COVID-19 hospital in Canberra, which was designed and built in 36 days. This was a hybrid between offsite and onsite construction where wall structures and other key elements were prefabricated offsite to save as much time as possible during onsite construction.
With most of the construction occurring in controlled factory environments rather than insitu onsite constraints, safety is better able to be controlled including use of factory lifting facilities, ready access to tools and other input resources to minimise lost labour time and safety.
In a number of circumstances, modular construction can be more cost effective. This is especially true in regional and remote areas where costs of having trades on site for extended periods of time can be cost prohibitive to a project.
The redeployable nature of modular facilities creates additional advantages over conventionally constructed facilities. The ability to temporarily set up a facility where and as required, and move it upon completion, creates a level of accessibility and offering that has not been available in the construction industry before. It also provides significant benefit in a changing operational context such as high security and Defence applications, where a use-case will change relatively quickly over the building’s lifecycle, and continued ability to reconfigure a building is a significant value add and capability enhancer.
Since modular construction is completed within a controlled and dedicated manufacturing environment, and every aspect of the build is pre-planned and pre-tested, there are fewer variables to account for i.e., inclement weather or site conditions, and a higher degree of certainty on achieving operational readiness on site. This leads to a higher level of quality control overlay and management compared to conventional construction techniques.
In the Security space, Modular construction plays an integral part to guaranteeing highly complex and secure outcomes, especially in remote and international locations. The components of modular construction ensures high quality security solutions that meet Australian manufacture and trade requirements are available, regardless of where the project is located.
“Manteena Security have delivered highly complex modular solutions to some of the most remote locations around the world in support of Australia global strategic footprint. Our ability to meet tight-time frames, to the highest level of quality, and guarantee operational readiness in support Australia’s national interests has led to our role as a leader of modular solutions in this space and a partner of choice to many Government clients and our international partners.”
Peita de Boer – Director
As the requirement for secure facilities to support Australia’s strategic interests grows, so too will the need for modular construction in this space. Manteena has several modular solutions for the high security space which offer pre-validated high security solutions which are cost effective and minimise disruption to clients premises by minimising onsite installation time.
When it comes to supporting Defence and law enforcement capability, the ARCAS Modular shooting range was launched in Australia in 2021. On top of the key benefits of general modular construction, benefits of modular shooting ranges include:
The ARCAS solution offer by Zeroed | Australian Shooting Range Solutions in Australia, in collaboration with Action Target, is further supported by other modular capabilities in the Defence and Police training space including 2D modular shoot houses and containerised armoury and ammunition storage systems.
“Modular ranges, shoot houses (CQB’s) and armouries provide an advanced capability for the growing requirement within Australia when it comes to deployable infrastructure to meet the needs of Defence and Police end-users.
Dan Knight – General Manager of Zeroed
Our focus on supporting Australian Government capability in the Defence and security space with modular solutions has naturally grown to other areas. Any project that has either a high degree of complexity, time pressures, or logistics challenges may benefit from modularisation. We have developed modular heath facilities in short time-frames, modular data-centres, accommodation to support mega projects such as the Snowy 2.0 project, and Australian Aid projects across the Pacific and SE Asia.
With growing labour challenges across the industry, the increasing time pressures and the incorporation of more complex services and automation in buildings, the benefit of off-site manufacture of all or most of a building’s elements will continue to increase.
Manteena and Zeroed will be at the forefront of this as we continue to support our clients’ requirements around Australia and the world.
Born from opportunities to deliver secure projects for the Australian Government on home soil and internationally, Manteena has continued to grow and evolve. It started in 2008 with Manteena being engaged to complete 13 secure construction projects across 12 international countries. From New Zealand to Lebanon, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, the Manteena team were set to be deployed internationally!
The demand for projects of this nature saw Manteena Security established in 2010 to continue to specialise in the delivery of physical security and secure sovereign capability. This resulted in the core capabilities expanding from delivering physical security in support of Australia’s national security, to also include technically difficult and complex logistical projects. With this, the pathway for international projects, especially in remote areas of the Pacific, was paved.
Fast forward 14 years and Manteena has reached the milestone of 100 international projects across 36 countries and 4 continents.
The milestone of 100 international projects has not been a small or easy one to achieve. It has taken 14 years and the hard work of an incredible number of team members from project administrators and managers, to site supervisors and directors. On the milestone, Andrew Kemp (General Manager) says, “I started Manteena Security in 2010 to deliver complex projects for the Australian Government, both in Australia and overseas. To reach the impressive milestones of 100 projects over that time is testament to the hard work of our teams, and the trust that our clients have placed in our capability.”
Our work on Christmas Island and Samoa remain some of our team’s favourite projects.
“The construction industry can be a hard and all-consuming career, but working with a great team to deliver a difficult project is also exceptionally rewarding. I feel especially fortunate to have the opportunity to deliver projects like an Australian Embassy in the Middle East, a Defence facility in the Indian Ocean or a hospital in the Pacific, and that continues to fuel my passion for this industry.
There have been many highlights and amazing experiences from delivering our 100 international projects, but a clear standout was managing the design and construction of the Samoa Parliament in the Pacific. Jointly funded by DFAT and the Government of Samoa, this project delivered one of the most technically advanced buildings in the Pacific yet was still designed for climate resilience, simplicity of use and low WOL costs. It is a flagship for the Pacific Australian AID program in terms of quality and also building capacity within the local construction Industry,” says Peita de Boer (Business Development Director).
Charlotte Cooper (Project Manager) had the opportunity to work on Christmas Island on several projects, including throughout Covid. On the opportunity to work internationally and immerse herself in the community on the Island for almost a year, Charlotte says, “I love to travel so getting the chance to work internationally was always a dream of mine, I just never knew it would be with construction until I came to Manteena. I had the privilege of moving to the remote and beautifully diverse Christmas Island with my partner, where we became a part of the wonderful community. We were fortunate enough to make lasting friendships, all while the rest of the world was in and out of Covid lockdowns. It’s such a fantastic place with unique experiences like the Red Crab Migration which we were so lucky to see and very interesting to work around. I’ll remember that time for the rest of my life.”
The international opportunities Manteena Security provide are a unique drawcard for new employees looking for bigger opportunities within the construction industry. Maurice Flynn (Operations Manager), highlights this as a key reason he joined the team in late 2021 – “having recently joined the team, I was drawn to Manteena based on their impressive reputation and unique capability they have developed as builders delivering these types of projects. I look forward to continuing this and being part of the 200 project milestone!”
From bolstering Australia’s national security, to supporting Australia’s global strategic footprint, Manteena Security are proud to have played a part in the safety and security of Australia, and are looking forward to continuing to work in this space across the globe and well into the future.
The Manteena Security team has hit the ground running in 2022 with construction works being undertaken across the country in: Sydney, Brisbane, Darwin, Perth & Christmas Island; plus, overseas in: PNG, East Timor and Poland.
Locally we are currently working in Old Parliament House, Parliament House, the Royal Australian Mint and for a number of private sector clients.
Leading these construction activities is Operations Manager, Maurice Flynn, who joined Manteena in 2021. Maurice brings together more than 30 years of international and local construction experience, with extensive understanding of secure government office fitout. Throughout Maurice’s career he has managed a range of successful projects across Ireland, England and Germany and over 15 years based in Australia. Maurice has substantial experience working with a wide variety of different cultures, clients and co-workers and is an accredited construction focused mediator. Prior to joining Manteena, Maurice held senior construction positions at Lendlease UX and St Hilliers.
Manteena is proud to announce that we’ve signed The Soldier On Pledge, and is now recognised as a Gold level Pledge Partner.
We are doing everything we can to enable more veterans and their families to find long-term meaningful careers, in collaboration with Soldier On’s Pathways program.
Established in 2012, Soldier On is a not-for-profit veteran support organisation delivering a range of early intervention services to veterans and their families in multiple locations across Australia. Soldier On provides a holistic model of support, focusing on Health and wellbeing, Employment Support, Learning and Education programs and Participation and Social Connection. Whether Australian veterans or their family members need to access services in one or all four areas, our staff are here to HELP them connect with others and enable them to thrive through tailored programs.