DESPITE a few setbacks, the Muchea Saleyards should be operational in March according to the WA Meat Industry Authority (WAMIA).
WAMIA deputy chair and Saleyard Relocation Committee chair Malcolm Seymour said the builders had given practical completion, although there was still a significant amount of work to be completed.
Mr Seymour said the main builders would still be involved in the project, but most of the remaining work would be done under a direct contracting basis.
"There is still quite a bit of work to be done, and it's work that will be done under direct contract," Mr Seymour said.
"Things like loading ramps, overhead walkways and drafting receival pens still need to be finished off.
"There are still a few sheds which need to go up and a bit of fencing to do.
"But we're planning on a March opening and unless something big comes up, we're on track."
Mr Seymour said one of the biggest setbacks the project had met was a lack of steel available for cattle panels in the cattle pens.
He said they required about 20 tonnes of steel for that part of the construction and it simply was not available.
Rather than lose time, Mr Seymour said the builders went on to complete other aspects of the design until the steel was available.
Now that they had the required materials, those panels were being constructed, he said.
Post construction, Mr Seymour said there was still a considerable amount of commissioning which needed to be done prior to the facility being officially opened.
"Once the building is completed, everything has to be tested and staff have to be trained," he said.
"We have already started to do some training on the areas that have been completed.
"We have a defect liability period of 18 months after completion, so if there are any problems then the builders or sub-contractors are required to fix it."
Most of the building works will recommence six weeks after Christmas, although Mr Seymour said some would be back on site as early as January 6.
In the mean time, a caretaker will be on site 24-7.
The project is also doing well budget-wise, with Mr Seymour adamant that they were well on track to meeting and not exceeding the $54 million funding allocated to the facility.
"The loading ramps, particularly the load out for cattle are quite innovative and work on a rotary force system, which speeds up loading but is also less stressful for the animals," he said.
"It's all very animal welfare and environmentally friendly.
"It's a fairly expensive exercise but if you do things properly the first time then you are less likely to have problems in the future.
"We've done things right, for example we've gone from 20mm pipe to 25mm pipe for extra strength, but we're still well on budget."
The new facility will be fully self-sufficient for water, will hold more than 35,000 cattle and 28,000 sheep and will boast strict rules that include muzzled dogs at all times and no smoking.