It was in 1951 when the name Pezzimenti first became known in the trenchless sector when Giuseppe Pezzimenti migrated from Italy to Australia.
Paving the way for the rest of the family by working in the coal mines and construction industries, Giuseppe Pezzimenti was able to bring the rest of his family over from Italy.
Having gained experience working with pipelaying contractors, Giuseppe started the family business, G. Pezzimenti & Sons in 1957, with his eldest sons Frank and Domenico, taking on contracts from the Melbourne Metropolitan Board of Works.
Giuseppe’s four sons Frank, Domenic, Gilbert and Aurelio would join the company in the following years.
The jobs were primarily concerned with the construction of backlog sewers, which in those days were literally ‘pick and shovel’ work.
Aurelio and Gilbert eventually joined the business separately as they left school, and pneumatic tools and backhoes had replaced the ‘pick and shovel’.
The younger brothers were instrumental in the company’s progression into tunnelling. Their first job was in Thomastown, using dynamite to blast through rock. In those days, most tunnels were 100 m in length and pipe diameters ranged from 150 – 1,200 mm.
The hand tunnel method was slow, cumbersome and extremely labour intensive, so the company began to experiment with very basic auger type drill rigs, built from the family’s workshop connected to Giuseppe’s house.
Then followed the first Pezzimenti Laserbore laser guided machine in the mid 1980’s after much research, development, trial and error.
Aurelio undertook the engineering and manufacturing side of the business with Gilbert and Frank managed the sites and put the machine through its paces.
The company compound, that was also attached to Giuseppe’s yard, was the trial field for the development of the machine. It is still believed that many cavities are remain under there.
Pezzimenti Trenchless was later incorporated in 2011 by Joe, Anthony and Stephen Pezzimenti as part of a family succession plan.
Director Joe Pezzimenti says he joined the family-run Pezzimenti Laserbore in 1989, followed by Anthony in 1995 and Stephen in 1997.
“It was here all of us worked in the field and learnt every aspect of the machinery and construction methods,” he says. “Our father, Gilbert, still remains an integral part of the business with his 50 plus years’ of experience.”
Joe says looking back at the company’s biggest milestones it is hard to narrow it down to just one. However, one that stands out is the Donvale Brach Sewer Project that commenced in November 2015 and was completed early 2018 for Yarra Valley Water and MFJ Constructions.
Around 4 kms of new 300mm, 500mm, 600mm and 700mm GRP pipe was installed along and under Mullum Mullum Creek.
“It was hard siltstone ground conditions and there were challenging and sensitive access issues, but we were able to complete the works due to our continued development of our hard ground and basalt capabilities along with state-of-the-art vacuum extraction trucks,” he says.
Joe says the company has grown its capabilities to tackle more challenging jobs. Pezzimenti Trenchless’ major focus has been on developing its equipment to tackle basalt ground conditions.
Joe says with Melbourne’s major growth corridors, including the West and North of Melbourne, which are predominantly basalt conditions, the company’s capabilities have seen unprecedented demand to complete critical, deep and risky microtunnels.
“We have also invested into state of the art and powerful vacuum trucks in order to handle the deeper and larger microtunnels that require spoil to be extracted via vacuum,” he says.
“Pezzimenti Trenchless commenced with four fully equipped drilling crews and now have seven full time crews.”
Pezzimenti Trenchless has now branched into South Australia and Tasmania, with the third-generation business now aiming to introduce a fourth and fifth generation to the business.
“We pride ourselves on our unparalleled experience and expertise, as well as on our dedicated research and development program,” Joe says. “Focused on delivering the best results for our clients across the state, we are committed to providing the most efficient and effective solutions for every project, however big or small. Pezzimenti Trenchless will continue to position itself at the forefront of the trenchless industry.”