Blacktown City Council

Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Blacktown City Council recognised by Local Government Excellence Awards

Our friends at Blacktown City Council have recently been recognised for their outstanding efforts towards innovative service delivery. The Council has recently received ‘Highly Commended’ status in the ‘Service Delivery Initiative – Population Over 60,000’ category of the Local Government Excellence Awards for 2020 for the Blacktown City Council VAPAR Pilot Project we partnered on in 2019.

According to the Awards, the ‘Service Delivery Initiative’ category recognises ‘initiatives that demonstrate best practice (outstanding action), or the pursuit of excellence in the delivery of a service(s) to the community or a specified target market that is able to be continued on an ongoing basis.’

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s embrace of innovative technology (that’s where VAPAR comes in) to improve service delivery was pivotal in their achievement of ‘Highly Commended’ status.

About the Pilot Project

As part of their review of Asset Management Strategy and Support Services in 2018-2019, the Council’s Better Practice Review (BPR) Program identified the management of drainage infrastructure as a key area for practice improvement, especially considering Blacktown’s projected population rise to 560,000 by 2050.

Specifically, Council were interested in engaging a technology which allowed them to better utilise data to drive the planning and decision-making for its Asset Management Plans. Due to their labour-intensive nature, visual pipe inspections had not previously formed part of the data collected for asset management condition assessments. Instead, Council had relied on ‘estimated useful life projections’ in its asset management plans for pipes.

This is where our partnership with Blacktown City Council began – a trial inspection of 3km of pipe CCTV footage, with a view to finding a solution to proactively manage the Council’s 1,160km of pipe infrastructure and make data-driven decisions moving forward. Finding a viable solution to this challenge was something that Council’s Asset Planning Engineers had been keen to tackle for some time.

By project end, the Pilot Project had demonstrated an overall success rate of 84.6% in the identification of pipe defects. Most importantly, Council had taken steps to adopt a technology-based approach to their service delivery, allowing them to inform Drainage Asset Management Plans with standardised asset condition data.

What made Blacktown City Council stand out from their peers?

By seeking a technological solution to address a key area for practice improvement highlighted by the BPR Program, Blacktown City Council were able to greatly improve their service delivery, creating a proactive approach which utilised data to drive decision-making.

Even more crucially, Blacktown City Council were able to implement this change whilst also circumventing weeks of labour resources that would have been normally required (hooray for automation!).

The Local Government Excellence Awards highlighted that Blacktown City Council’s Pilot Project with VAPAR was an excellent example of how Blacktown City Council is embracing emerging technology as a mechanism for improving service delivery. The Awards felt that the Council’s partnership with VAPAR represented a great example of how councils can harness start-up technology companies to address complex asset management challenges.

So…Congratulations to the Blacktown City Council team!

Naturally, the team at VAPAR is enormously excited that our partners at Blacktown City Council have been recognised for their efforts; we feel that this recognition is a fantastic payoff to an organisation which walks the walk on their commitment to ‘Building the Best’ Council in Australia.

As such, we’d like to congratulate everyone from the Council who was involved in the Pilot Project, and commend the Council for their innovative and proactive approach in making data-driven decisions to make the delivery of asset management as effective as possible.

Startups Roundtable Podcast – AI delivering business value: innovation & market-making lessons from VAPAR

Startups Roundtable Podcast – AI delivering business value: innovation & market-making lessons from VAPAR

Our CEO, Amanda Siqueira, joins the Startups Roundtable Podcast, and speaks about VAPAR’s journey from pioneering an innovative technology solution to engaging and servicing asset owners and contractors from around the world.

https://startupsroundtable.com/episodes/ai-delivering-business-value-innovation-market-making-lessons-vapar

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VAPAR is hiring (again)!

VAPAR is hiring (yes, again)!

We’re looking to hire for a brilliant software Software Engineer/Developer to join our team! If you’ve got a great track record in software engineering and are familiar with Python, Angular and/or web devops, we’d like to meet you!

Who are we?

At VAPAR, we’re creating a smarter way to keep underground pipes in operation, longer. Piped infrastructure around the world needs to be maintained and repaired in a way that removes the need for long, manual and fatiguing tasks.

That’s where we come in.We turn visual data about every-day pipes directly into condition scores so maintenance and repairs happen faster, cheaper and more accurately. It’s that simple.

We do all of our processing on the cloud, and enable our customers to access their data online – this is where you come in. The responsibilities of this role include developing front end and back end product updates, identifying production issues and implementing integrations that meet customer needs.

In this role you’ll get to…

  • Develop software to integrate with internal back-end systems
  • Design procedures for system troubleshooting and maintenance
  • Implement integrations requested by customers and assist with core development
  • Contribute to the ongoing technical support of product releases in production
  • Develop and support build pipelines and infrastructure and own your systems in production
  • Investigate and resolve technical issues for our customers
  • Deploy updates and fixes

On day one we’ll expect you to…

  • Consistently write well tested, readable, secure and accessible code
  • Deliver high quality systems in technologies including Python Django and Angular 2+
  • Have a working knowledge of databases and SQL
  • Familiarity with Linux and Azure architecture preferred
  • 3+ years work experience in a commercial software engineering role
  • BSc in Computer Science, Engineering OR equivalent work experience

Added bonuses if you have…

  • Experience in DevOps
  • Experience scaling web applications (ideally on Azure)
  • Experience with UI/UX design

Our team is made up of…

  • Self-starters
  • Fast learners
  • Critical thinker/problem solvers
  • Values transparency
  • Values accountability

Selling points…

  • Joining a fast-growing Sydney-based startup at the beginning of our scale-up phase.
  • Working in a small team and have a huge impact on the business.
  • Gain unparalleled learning opportunities in a fast-paced lean startup
  • Great work environment with an experienced, passionate and fun team.
  • Work from our amazing office less than 5 mins walk through the park from Green Square station, with showers.
  • Flexible work hours
  • Opportunity for ESOP

To apply, check out the job listing.

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We’re hiring!

We have an exciting new opportunity to super-charge your marketing career in a fast-growing scale-up! VAPAR is seeking a Digital Marketing Manager to help us expand our outreach and market us within the industry.

In this role you’ll get to…

  • Create and implement rich content for B2B social media advertising campaigns (including copywriting, image sourcing and audience building) to build awareness in target customer segements.
  • Create and implement rich content and structure for the company website and drive engagement from website traffic flow.
  • Undertake regular tracking and optimsation of lead nurturing process and marketing automation process.
  • Respond and follow up with inbound customer enquiries questions via social media channels and email and capture marketing qualified leads in the CRM tool.
  • Provide and present internal reports on Marketing KPIs at team meetings and propose new and improved ideas on customer focused inbound marketing campaigns and engagement channels.

On day one we’ll expect you to…

  • Have at least 1-2 years’ experience in B2B digital marketing or a general marketing role, including experience working with LinkedIn advertising, Google Analytics and Google Ads 
  • Have previous experience using WordPress or similar.
  • Have intermediate skills in Microsoft Office skills (Word, Excel) and ability to analyse data and report interpretations.
  • Have basic copywriting abilities that converts users – write emails, create ads and campaigns.
  • Have strong organisational skills and the ability to juggle multiple project demands at once.
  • Have an entrepreneurial spirit – love of learning, driven by growth and results.
  • Be an autonomous worker who takes ownership of your projects, results and objectives, whilst being an amazing team member who works well with customer people through to developers.

Added bonuses if you have…

  • Experience in SEO & email marketing automation.
  • Exprience in a B2B software start-up.
  • Experience/familiarity with water engineering industry.

Our team is made up of…

  • Self-starters
  • Fast learners
  • Critical thinker/problem solvers
  • Values transparency
  • Values accountability

We are looking for people that fit the above.

Selling points…

  • Joining a fast-growing Sydney-based startup at the beginning of our scale-up phase.
  • Working in a small team and have a huge impact on the business.
  • Gain unparalleled learning opportunities in a fast-paced lean startup
  • Great work environment with an experienced, passionate and fun team.
  • Work from our amazing office less than 5 mins walk through the park from Green Square station, with showers.
  • Flexible work hours

To apply, please send your CV to info@vapar.co

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Accelerating growth at VAPAR

We are very proud to announce that we’ve taken on investment and raised $700K in seed funding to accelerate the growth of our company. With the backing of the investment, we can now scale sustainably and provide quality support and service to our growing customer base.

Click here to read more.

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We’re expanding!

After a successful financial year, focussing on providing condition assessment solutions to the Australian market, VAPAR is pioneering the application of artificial intelligence into the global sewer inspection market.

With the new financial year beginning, VAPAR plans to launch in New Zealand and the UK, tripling the company headcount from three people to nine.

Read more here.

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Celebrating International Women in Engineering Day at VAPAR

To celebrate the International Women in Engineering day, co-founders Amanda Siqueira and Michelle Aguilar have been invited to make an appearance on Ausbiz TV’s Startup Daily Show and share their experiences and views on how women in engineering can shape the world.

Check out what they had to say here and how they’ve overcome gender diversity within the engineering industry.

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Infiltration/Exfiltration of drainage pipes cause major street damage

A large sinkhole has recently appeared on a street in the middle of Melbourne’s CBD.

“It [was] confirmed the issue was caused by a crack in a barrel drain running along the street.”

Ordinarily, “a crack” in a pipe by itself is not enough to cause a sinkhole.

But degredation over time can lead to compounding of pipe defects such as tree roots growing through the cracks, corrosion of any pipe reinforcement, and infiltration/exfiltration (water getting in/out of the pipe).

The biggest culprit here is likely infiltration/exfiltration.

Infiltration/exfiltration can cause the bedding material supporting both the pipe and the road surface to slowly loosen and wash away, which is how a lot of sinkholes develop unnoticed.

See more here.

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Pandemics – a major catalyst for modern sewer systems

Did you know that a pandemic (cholera) was one of the main catalysts for installing modern sewerage systems in to both London and Paris?

Due to the Cholera pandemic in 1858, that hit over 10,000 residents, London saw raw sewage overflow into the River Thames that caused a strong repugnant odour, eventually forcing the government to construct a modern sewer system that transported the city’s waste as far as possible.

Similarly, amid the outbreak, in an attempt to remake Paris and open it up into a “City of Light”, French authorities went through the demolition of 12,000 buildings, boulevards, parks and fountains to install an elaborate sewage system.

Pandemics truly played a big part in transforming the cities of old.

Read more here.

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New opportunities open for NSW Councils to valuate their drainage assets

With EOFY fast approaching, we are seeing more Councils get in touch to complete their pipe condition assessments to fulfil asset valuation requirements.

There’s good news for NSW LGA’s who now have a bit more time to get their reporting done in recognition of the impact of COVID-19, as well as sharing in the $500M funding boost announced by the Commonwealth government last week.

If your organisation needs a fast, accurate and cost-effective way to meet EOFY asset valuation requirements for piped infrastructure, get in touch!

Read more about the recent Office of Local Government (NSW) asset valuation media release here.
Read more about the recent Office of Local Government (NSW) funding boost media release here.