MG Engineering's new workshop build, hiring tied to $3.25 million Air Warfare Destroyer (AWD) contract

MG Engineering is planning to take on 30 new staff and is building a $1 million workshop as work gears up on the company's $3.25 million Air Warfare Destroyer contract.

The Port Adelaide firm is almost a third of the way through the first of three 25-tonne masts it is building for the AWD Alliance.

MG Engineering managing director Anthony Brdar said the company planned to have the first 22m-long mast completed and barged to the nearby Common User Facility at Osborne by the end of this year.

Each of the masts is being built in six sections, then joined on a jig.

Mr Brdar said 10 staff had already been taken on with numbers expected to reach 70 by the end of this year after the company won the Mast Block contract in May.

"ASC has been working closely with us on the project to ensure it meets high quality workmanship and to ensure the work is completed on schedule," Mr Brdar said.

This latest contract means the company has won close to $10 million worth of work on AWD projects.

It won its first AWD job in 2010 and has since completed contracts to build piping, ducting, corrugated bulkheads, walkways and ladders.

Plans are now under way to build a new 1000sq m workshop at the company's Moorhouse Rd base, taking its total workshop size to 3000sq m.

Mr Brdar said the AWD work had helped the company's expansion, along with its longer term plan to diversify with jobs also coming in from the resources and maritime industries.

MG Engineering has gradually increased its footprint since it was started by Mr Brdar and his father, Nick, in 1996, with Mr Brdar saying its workload was boosted by having direct access to the Port River slipway.

The AWD masts are a case in point, with the finished structures too large to be moved by road.

"I always saw the AWD project as an opportunity. The strategy was that because we were on the river and so close in proximity to ASC, there was good opportunity there," he said.

"When we built our current workshop extension in 2008 we actually designed it so it could meet those size requirements."

AWD Alliance chief executive officer Rod Equid praised the company, saying it had achieved success in a range of areas, including the fabrication of bulkheads and foundations.

"The AWD Alliance has developed a good working relationship with MG Engineering and the awarding of the mast contract has provided further opportunity to develop shipbuilding capabilities in South Australia," Mr Equid said.

There were five apprentices working on site at MG Engineering with Mr Brdar saying he wanted to increase this number as the company's demand for skilled boilermakers and welders grew.

To date, there had been no trouble filling positions but Mr Brdar was prepared to look overseas if predicted shortages in the trades occurred.

He also planned to maintain the company's business plan to attract diverse industry contracts. "We need that to survive," Mr Brdar said. "We work on anything from ships through to work in the oil and gas industry."

Construction of the AWDs involves the fabrication of 90 separate steel blocks, 30 for each ship, as well as three additional sonar blocks.

The blocks will be put together at the Osborne Common User Facility with the first ship's keel laying scheduled to start in September.

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