Australian Construction Focus - April Edition

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Editor’s Pick The next few years will likely prove to be interesting times indeed - for Australia and for the world. While activity in the construction industry is projected to remain relatively flat throughout 2011, it is slated to gradually ramp up to boom conditions between 2012 and 2015 as the residential sector at last begins to catch up to demand. A slow approvals process, tight fists on the part of lenders, land shortages, and infrastructure charges have all contributed to housing shortages over the past several years in New South Wales and Queensland; an upswing in this sector - anticipated as lenders and governments’ comfort levels rise in the wake of the GFC - will have significant ramifications for the industry. At the same time, new large-scale projects in energy, coal seam gas, and mining should similarly spur construction activity.

This month’s edition of Australian Construction Focus speaks to such issues as skills shortages, ups and downs in the industry, and strategies for success. In Performance Contracting, Managing Director Richard Nyholt speaks to ACF’s John Boley about the need for smart housing development and skilled workers. In Strength in Simplicity, ACF’s Aleisha Parr gets at the heart of Densford Civil’s success: as General Manager Mark Armstrong describes it, reinvesting in the company has benefited not only the bottom line, but the firm’s employees, its clients, and the broader community. And in The Tower on the Gold Coast, contributing editor Jaime McKee examines the good and the bad at the Gold Coast’s iconic Q1 residential skyscraper.

On the flip side, however, such labour-intensive projects could very quickly spell shortages in skills, personnel, and capacity. Building ports, pipelines, and resource infrastructure supports is no mean feat, and is precisely the kind of intensive growth that can quickly drain local labour pools. While this may indicate prosperity in the coming years, it may also bring increased costs, schedule overruns, and the kind of ‘fly-in, fly-out labour’ from neighbouring regions which isn’t sustainable over the long term. While the boom and bust cycle of the industry is understandable, natural, and perhaps even necessary, it is critical that Australia’s builders receive the appropriate backing in good times and lean - through smart policy decisions, sustainable funding structures, and relevant government measures. Bringing new affordable homes to market, upgrading infrastructure, and servicing the needs of a growing and aging population - these developments don’t happen in a vacuum. They require a partnership between the public and private sectors, between leading-edge companies and the bureaucrats and associations who champion them. With Australian ingenuity and the right kind of support, our nation’s top firms will have the capacity to weather any storm - proverbial or literal. Tim Hocken Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Tim Hocken Production Editor Kulvir Singh Creative Art Director Robert Chambers Director of Business Dev. Lorne Moffat Head of Research Rob Lenehan Research Manager


Christian Cooper Director of IT Contributing Editors Jaime McKee Robert Hoshowsky Contributing Writers Aleisha Parr Jen Hamilton John Boley Jeff Hocken Publisher 8th Floor, 55 Hunter St Sydney NSW 2000 GPO Box 4836, Sydney NSW 2001 Phone: 02 8412 8119 ABN 93 143 238 126

06 News and Events

Industry News and Events

18 Buxton Group

A Foundation of Excellence

28 Australia’s Green Tran

Taking The High Road

36 Nyholt Constructions

Performance Contracting

44 Hy-Tec Industries

Adelaide Brighton Company

56 CCF


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Horizontal Building




66 Densford Civil

Strength in Simplicity

76 Grindley Construction

Cautious Optimism

84 Australian Landmark

The Tower on the Gold Coast

94 Mitchell Water

A Pipeline to Sustainability

102 Woodhead

Broad Horizons


Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Residents Victorious, Bank Must Redesign Building Locals in the historic central Victorian town of Maldon are proud of its oldfashioned atmosphere. A good deal of the central area appears largely the same way it has since the 1920s, which has given the town a historic character rarely seen elsewhere. In 1996, Maldon was recognised as Australia’s first Notable Town; a decade later, it beat out 21 other towns to win a National Trust award “for the most intact heritage streetscape character in Victoria.” Since June of last year, locals concerned about the historic value of the area being eroded have been fighting


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

against a planning permit to the Maldon Community Bank – a franchise of the Bendigo and Adelaide Bank – for a new building that would contravene Maldon Design Guidelines. Recently,

residents won their battle against the original design, and it has been ordered for it to be “significantly changed” by the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal to maintain the look and feel of Maldon’s historic streetscape.

“High Risk” Karridale Housing Development Opposed A plan to build 150 new homes in the tiny township of Karridale – in the south-west of Western Australia – has recently come under fire because of its proposed location. According to the Karridale Progress Association, the proposed subdivision is in a high risk area. Several reasons are being cited, from absentee owners to improperly maintained safety zones and fire breaks. Many

long-time residents of the rural area remember the devastating bushfires that destroyed parts of Karridale back in 1961, and the area relies on volunteers for their fire brigade. Locals have stated that they would prefer to see jobs and economic development in the area first, which would attract young families to Karridale.

Construction Numbers Down for Second Half of 2010

The most recent numbers from Australia’s Bureau of Statistics reveal house and apartment construction were down for the second straight quarter in December, with Victoria and South Australia recording the most significant declines. Construction of new homes fell by 5.3 per cent in the fourth quarter, considerably more than economists originally anticipated. The news is not all bad, however, as housing statistics in Western Australia rose marginally in the December quarter, increasing by 1.5 per cent to 5,449 construction starts in the last quarter of 2010, an increase from 5,367

in the September quarter.

Some, like economists at the National Australia Bank, believe the figures will increase this year following the Queensland floods and demand in other states for new homes. Others, like analysts at The Housing Industry Association, believe the construction of new homes must become a great priority for the government, and that there will be no significant improvements to the housing market without significant policy changes, citing infrastructure tax problems, affordability, and land release for new homes. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Remains Unearthed at Demolition Site In what has the makings of a television crime drama, a demolition crew recently discovered skeletal remains on a property at Woodlands, in the north of Perth. Located at the corner of Rosewood Avenue and Sadoc Street, investigators were able to determine the remains were human, and tied to a missing persons case almost two decades old. Police were able to determine that the remains were those of 42-yearold Mrs. Cariad Anderson-Slater, who was last seen getting out of a cab on Rosewood Avenue in 1992. The


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

remains were found in the garden of the former home of Ronald Pennington. Now 81, Pennington is on trial for Anderson-Slater’s murder, and has requested a speedy trial due to his age and frailty. Pennington, a retired teacher who now lives in Tasmania, denies any involvement in Anderson-Slater’s disappearance.

All that Glitters is Not Gold, it’s Copper In the wake of a number of copper thefts across the nation, the ACT Master Builders Association is calling for copper to be categorised as a precious metal. Known throughout history, copper has numerous attractive properties. It readily conducts heat and electricity, is resistant to corrosion, and has high tensile strength. Unfortunately, these same qualities make it an ideal target for thieves. Just in the past year, 120 incidents of copper theft have been reported in the ACT, with criminals making off with over $300,000 worth of copper wiring and pipes from construction sites. The thieves are organised, sometimes brazenly stealing live cable from construction sites. Some believe categorising copper as

a precious metal will slow thefts of the commodity, which is frequently sold on the black market, melted, and reformed, making it almost impossible to trace. If sales were regulated and copper deemed a precious metal, anyone selling the material would require records of where they got it in the first place. Although not in the same class as gold or silver, copper has become an increasingly valuable metal, recently reaching a price of almost $10,000 a tonne. Much of the demand comes from China and India, with about 10 per cent of the world’s copper coming from the Mt Isa mine in Queensland, and Prominent Hill in South Australia. Adding to its value is the fact that the price of copper has doubled in the wake of the Global Financial Crisis. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Australian Homes Overpriced by 56% Recently, The Economist confirmed what many Australians have suspected for some time: homes in the nation are the most overvalued in the world, and overpriced by a staggering 56 per cent.

The story in the magazine has reignited the debate about the nation’s housing market being in a bubble, which some believe has been inflating for well over a decade. Some say the 56 per cent fig-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

ure is a stretch, yet concede that home prices are still 30 to 40 per cent over their actual value. Comparing figures to the United States since 1997, house prices rose 95 per cent in the US, but 215 percent in Australia during the same period. The overvaluation of houses, however, is having a negative effect, mainly on first-time homebuyers, who are finding themselves priced out of the market. The Housing Industry Association recently stated that new home sales are stagnant, rising just 0.6 per cent in February. Interest rates are often cited as a contributing factor to the slowdown.

Hundreds Owed Money, Builder Out of Business

Another GFC casualty, Glenwood Homes has collapsed, leaving 47 homes in north Queensland unfinished. The company coming to an end signals bad news not only for over 300 creditors, but a range of suppliers and subcontractors, a number of them meeting recently to discuss their next move over the money they are owed. The demise of Glenwood Homes comes at a bad time, as the region’s construction in-

dustry struggles to rebuild. Over the past months, a number of companies large and small have gone out of business, and the losses are taking their toll on the remaining subcontractors and trade contractors. The Building Services Authority (BSA) has stated that despite Glenwood going into voluntary administration, their homes will be finished. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


4th Australian Small Bridges Conference 10-11 May, The Sebel Albert Park, Melbourne, VIC The scope of this conference covers small to medium size road, rail and pedestrian bridges, as well as culverts, elevated boardwalks, and viewing platforms. Presentations in two focused streams, from experienced bridge practitioners, address new developments, technologies, and requirements for bridges, and best practice in maintenance and asset management. The conference also includes an informative workshop on flood-damaged bridges and an exhibition displaying bridge services and materials. For more information visit:

DesignBuild Sydney 11-13 May, Sydney Convention and Exhibition Centre, NSW New products and technologies in the residential and commercial construction industries are displayed and demonstrated at the DesignBuild Expo. Learn about renewable energy, building materials, and design ideas in the Green Building zone. See cutting-edge products in Innovation Alley or relax and network at the Builders Bar. Discover the latest technologies from outside Australia at DesignBuild International. The Expo is also co-located with the CEDIA Expo, which showcases custom technologies used in residential and commercial building design. For more information visit:

CivEnEx 2011 18-19 May, Sydney Dragway at Eastern Creek, NSW Australia’s annual construction and public works expo offers exhibitors the opportunity to have face to face contact with new and existing customers, meet industry professionals and buyers, maximise product and service exposure, and establish business partnerships. Exhibitors can also promote their equipment with live product demonstrations. Hundreds of suppliers will be in attendance from all areas of the construction, civil engineering and property maintenance industries, showcasing a wide variety of equipment. For more information visit:


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

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Information about the event: or call 02 9229 1000

KEYNOTE SPEAKERS: D. Keith Morley II, Global Procurement - Capital and Sourcing, Eastman ChEmICal ComPanY, Usa Rod Hook, Deputy Chief Executive, DEPartmEnt for transPort EnErgY anD InfrastrUCtUrE, sa Menno Henneveld, Managing Director of Main Roads, maIn roaDs WEstErn aUstralIa

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APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

National PPP Summit 2011 18-19 May, Rendezvous Hotel, Melbourne, VIC Policy and regulatory frameworks, and the impact of current legislation on Public Private Partnerships will be explored at this year’s conference. Experts will discuss successful PPP policy guidelines as well as strategies for improvement, including alternative models of PPP procurement. Practical knowledge will be conveyed with case studies concerning environmental PPP projects, risk sharing arrangements, public housing redevelopments, and effective facilities management. For more information visit:

Australian Construction Achievement Award 19 May, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, VIC The ACAA is presented by the Australian Constructors Association and Engineers Australia in order to recognise outstanding construction achievement. A presentation event will be held on 19 May where the seven finalists will have the opportunity to showcase their exceptional building and engineering projects, and the 2011 ACAA winner will be announced. The winner will receive an award endorsed by the presidents of the ACA and EA, a specially commissioned sculpture, and the opportunity to use the ACAA logo on corporate literature for one year. For more information visit:

Environmental Compliance in Construction 31 May- 01 June, Quay Grand Hotel, Sydney, NSW Almost all aspects of the construction industry are subject to environmental regulations. This conference will supply contractors with the information necessary to ensure environmental compliance. This includes methods for good environmental practice, for implementing effective strategies, for working with regulators, and for streamlining approvals. Specific examples will provide a practical insight into environmental compliance processes such as managing erosion, noise, waste, air pollution, and more. For more information visit:

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

-By Aleisha Parr


hen Andrew Briggs took ownership last year of Buxton Construction, he planned to refocus the business in a ‘back to basics’ campaign. Mr Briggs had already been working with the Victoria company as General Manager for fifteen years beside Richard Buxton - who founded Buxton Construction in 1968 - and so knew intimately the quality and prestige that he was now representing. As such, his plans did not require for any drastic changes to be made, ei-

ther in terms of operations or staff, merely to ensure that all clients continued to receive the same or better outcomes on each and every project. “It was what I call going back to basics,” said Mr Briggs, “and back to basics and the core competency of the business is building . . . The main thing in building is being able to build efficiently, delivering on time with a high level of quality which we’re renowned for.”

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Kingston Heath Golf Clubhouse

Client: Kingston Heath Golf Club Limited Location: Kingston Road, Cheltenham Budget: $5.58 million Completed: 30 October 2009 Project Manager: Johnson Group Architect: Demaine Partnership Interior: Stephen Akehurst Design Structural: Keith Patrick & Associates Services: O’Connor & Associates Hydraulics: Clements Consulting Building Surveyor: BSGM Consulting Building Surveyors


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

It is this commitment to subtle enhancements on already high quality outcomes which sets Buxton Construction apart from its competition in an uncertain marketplace. Explains Mr Briggs, “The state of the industry is at a bit of a cusp. It’s been very quiet over the last two to three months, with some new projects now appearing. And so it’s a little bit unknown with regards to where things are actually going to go . . . everyone is becoming a little concerned about what the future holds for them in regards to future workload.” At the same time, he expresses his confidence in Buxton Construction’s ability to continue its enduring success due to some internal marketing and a commitment to project selectivity. He says, “Our focus is very much on delivering on quality. We’re not a sausage factory builder, whereas we won’t chase anything and everything we can get our hands on just for the sake of turnover, it’s more being selective in the projects

which we work on and in specific fields.” Those specific fields currently include hospitality and leisure, with recent projects spanning golf clubhouses, sporting complexes, aquatic centres, as well as a selection of health and aged care facilities and some multi-unit apartment complexes. Offering a full array of construction services, including cost planning, design reviews, value engineering, and buildability assessments all the way through to construction management, design, project management, and full construction services, Buxton Construction is able to satisfy even the most demanding requests in order to maintain enduring client and partner relationships. In a similar vein, Buxton Construction places a high regard on respect within the company, establishing close bonds with employees and upholding a family culture within the Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


St Kilda Football Club Development

Client: St Kilda Football Club Location: 151R East Road, Seaford Budget: $7.4 million Estimated Completion: December 2010 Project Manager: Coffey Projects Architect: Peddle Thorp Architects Structural: Bonacci Group Services: Waterman AHW (Vic) Quantity Surveyor: Davis Langdon


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

workplace in keeping with what was established by Richard Buxton from the company’s early days. Explains Mr Briggs, “One of the main aspects we’re looking at is promotion from within, so very much trying to focus on maintaining staff and to encourage existing staff in regards to the availability of advancement within the organisation.” As the strengths within the company continue to grow, so too will the company itself. Already, the Bux-

ton name is synonymous with quality, with prestigious projects to its credit and many more on the horizon. Most recently, Buxton Construction completed work on the St Kilda Football Club Development, a 3500 square metre single level building in Belvedere Park, Seaford. The $7.4 million project consisted of a community sports hall, gymnasium, recovery pool, ice baths, spas, change and locker rooms, lecture

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011





Rylands of Hawthorn


Foyer - Rylands of Kew


Aquatic centre - Rylands of Kew


Rylands of Kew


Rylands of Brighton


Library - Rylands of Hawthorn

6 6


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


theatre, medical and fitness staff facilities and football department offices. With the site located adjacent to the iconic Melbourne Cricket Grounds, Buxton Construction was right at home in creating for the St Kilda Football Club a compelling facility with an equally high level of quality. The building’s form consisted of a structural steel frame on concrete ground slabs with precast wall panels, aluminium sandwich panels and extensive glazing.

building, along with the construction of new male and female locker rooms, a pro shop, administration facilities, a kitchen and dining room, and refurbishment of the existing dining and bar areas. Constructed of masonry, steel and timbre, the single-storey structure was given a slate roof complimentary to the original building. In compliance with ESD principles, the building stores its own captured rainwater for use within the complex. A new entrance - complete with a

Throughout the project, the St Kilda Football Club was still in operation as the team trained on the premises, presenting a host of challenges aptly met by Buxton Construction. Similarly, in the company’s work last year at the Kingston Heath Golf Clubhouse, the project was completed in several stages to ensure that members of the club had full use of the facilities throughout the construction period. This particular project, with a budget of $5.58 million, required extensive demolition of existing sections of the original Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Awards Delgany Development 2008

UDIA National – President’s Award for Excellence


UDIA Victoria – Award for Excellence

Delgany was selected for this prestigious award from an extensive field of elite projects nominated by Australia’s nationally operating construction companies.

Rylands of Kew 2007

Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter High Commendation


Australian Institute of Building National High Commendation


UDIA Victoria Award for Excellence

Victorian College of the Arts 2004

Middle Brighton Baths 2003

Lex Apartments 2005

Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter High Commendation


Australian Institute of Building National High Commendation

Moonah Links Golf Clubhouse 2004

Royal Australian Institute of Architects Institutional Architecture Award

Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter High Commendation

Rylands of Brighton 2003

Master Builders Association of Victoria Special Commendation


Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter High Commendation

Master Builders Association of Victoria Excellence in Construction

Royal Melbourne Golf Clubhouse 2004

Master Builders Association of Victoria Excellence in Construction

100 Exhibition Street



Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter Professional Excellence Award


Australian Institute of Building National Professional Excellence Award

APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Refurbishment of 50 Queen Street 2003

Australian Institute of Building Victorian Chapter Professional Excellence in Building


Australian Institute of Building National High Commendation

porte cochere and an outdoor ter- ables are achieved at the utmost race - were the final design attri- level of quality while also ensuring Although it is less than six years since the first Rylands opened at Brighton, butes, the assured smooth construction process. the quality concept of hadwhich its beginning manya years before when the Buxton GroupMr recognised the need for an alternative type of accommodation that would offer the facility among thean independent Briggs explained maturea - position but still active - people lifestyle. that communicacountry’s best. This type of involved tion was key to ensuring that both process inevitably carries with it the client as well as the clients’ unique challenges, as described by own customers felt that they were Mr Briggs: “The ground conditions being appreciated throughout the certainly presented challenges. As process. well, once we uncovered the existing structure, working in the exist- He concluded, “The main message, ing structure [presents challenges] which we always try to convey, is when you expose elements previ- that we build our name on our rep5 ously hidden by finishes. There are utation which is about being seleccertainly a number of challenges tive in what we undertake, where in dealing with those sorts of con- we try to service, and to provide ditions and trying to overcome service over and beyond what our [them].” Additionally, when work- competitors would provide in deing on such a prestigious project, livering quality projects which last it is imperative that all deliver- the test of time.” Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


s one of the main contributors to global warming, Australia’s transport is responsible for about 20 per cent of the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions. A litre of petrol produces about 2.5 kg of greenhouse gases, while motor vehicle usage generates much of Australia's local air pollution and smog, and about 90 per cent of the country's carbon monoxide emissions. The social costs of transport include devastating crashes, air pollution, noise pollution, decreased physical activity, time taken away from family while commuting, and vulnerability to the volatile fuel market. Traffic congestion imposes economic costs by wasting time and by slowing the delivery of goods and services. Yet we continue to drive and fly – cars and planes are the two biggest

culprits here – as we journey to work, school, shopping and dining destinations, and travel spots. It is a reality that is unlikely to change anytime soon; in many ways, transportation equals access – to goods and services, to exciting natural and cultural destinations, to friends and family, and to educational and work opportunities. Were we to limit the kind of mobility Australians now enjoy, we would do so at our peril, limiting the social and economic benefits of consumer activity, tourism, and employment along with it; but we can look to more sustainable alternatives to getting around. In many Australian cities, the infrastructure and market offerings are in place to support such a move – you just have to know where to look.

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Infrastructure Australia’s construction industry has a significant role to play in the creation and maintenance of green transport options. Leading-edge construction companies not only deliver, but often drive the nation’s urban development projects, and are well positioned to design and build with sustainability in mind. This may mean contributing their talents to large public works, such as rail extensions or new roadways, constructing underground car park facilities or installing user-friendly bus shelters.


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Companies such as Brisland Pty Ltd have contributed significantly to the accessibility of green transport. The firm has produced stunning streetscaping and urban reconfiguration projects with pedestrian safety, cycle access, and bus stops thoughtfully built in. Likewise, Moggill Constructions has been responsible for transportation infrastructure ranging from bikeways to pedestrian bridges to significant rail projects. Firms such as JBA Urban Planning Consultants in

NSW take a bird’s eye view to transport, building it into their planning. Responsible for master planning, infrastructure development, and urban renewal projects , JBA’s contributions to the field have included new roads with pedestrian connections, and town squares built around public transit access points. In today’s political - and literal - climate, it only makes sense that green

transport projects have the support of government. Australia’s is no exception, as exemplified by South Australia’s Department for Transport, Energy and Infrastructure’s Rail Revitalisation plan, which aims to refit or electrify various rail networks as needed and perform upgrades to interchange, station, and Park ‘n Ride infrastructure. This plan, just one example of the comprehensive transport schemes presently in development, will ultimately provide commuters with a faster, cleaner, and more efficient service. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


The New Car Culture Not all green transport technology need come from top building firms or government agencies. There are a number of options open to all of us to limit our emissions, save costs, and take advantage of the kind of infrastructure outlined above. Carpooling schemes are one of the most basic options available to us to reduce our transport footprint. They require no new equipment or technology, simply matching drivers

with others wanting to make the same journey so multiple passengers can travel in the same car and share costs. Resulting in fewer cars on the road and in parking spaces and less fuel consumed per person,


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

carpooling can make a significant dent in greenhouse gas emissions with very little effort on the part of participants. Carpooling can be initiated on an ad hoc basis, with co-workers or friends sharing vehicles and driving duties. There are also a number of commercial schemes in place to support the practice; The Car Pool Australia is just one example of a web-based service that allows users to search or register a vehicle by departure date, time and/or location, or by

destination. Increasingly, government support for carpooling is also growing, through the creation of public infrastructure such as high occupancy vehicle lanes in which only vehicles with two or more pas-

sengers are permitted to drive. A more structured option to joint vehicle use is car sharing. Allowing users to book the use of a car by the hour or day, car sharing schemes provide access to a vehicle when needed without the expense of ownership. The organisation renting the cars may be a commercial business or a member-operated democratically controlled company, public agency, cooperative, or ad hoc grouping. Today there are more than one thousand cities in the world where people can car share. In Australia, options such as GreenShareCar and Flexicar offer access to a fleet of efficient, low-emission vehicles 24 hours a day, while Ultra Green Wheels uses a fractional ownership model to provide members with a variety of sustainable ground and air travel options. The environmental benefits of car sharing differ slightly from those of carpooling. While a hired car is likely to be used by only one person at

a time, it still contributes toward an overall reduction in emissions; people who invest in the purchase of an automobile have a built-in, daily incentive to use them and very little incentive not to; but with car sharing, users judge each journey on its merits, and are not likely to hire a car for every trip they make. While car sharing means that a car will be there for you when you need it, users are likely to supplement their driving with walking, cycling, and public transit options.

Cycling Cycling, of course, is one of the most environmentally friendly forms of transport possible. Not only does bike travel produce no greenhouse gases or toxic air pollution, it's also quiet, keeps riders fit, requires less road and parking space than cars and is much less likely to cause a serious accident. In Australia’s urban areas, thoughtfully planned CBDs and live-work communities mean that cycling can Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


often be just as accessible, quick, and convenient as driving, particularly when traffic congestion and parking are taken into account. Organisations such as Bicycle NSW and Pedal Power have been busy advocating for better cycling conditions and facilities, and operate rides and


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

events to get more people cycling on a regular basis. Such advocacy again has strong government backing; The Queensland Department of Infrastructure and Planning, for example, maintains a Queensland Cycle Strategy which aims to enhance the existing cycle network and en-

courage more daily bicycle trips as an alternative to motor vehicle use. The Department has also secured space for trail bike infrastructure on otherwise under-utilised land. Cycle-sensitive development projects such as large-scale trails, paths, and dedicated bike lanes, as well as small-scale infrastructure such as bike lockers, secure bike racks, well-engineered road surfaces, and bicycle-sensitive traffic lights, make cycling an increasingly practical option for city dwellers. As with cars, bikes can also be shared between people - Melbourne Bike Share, for example, is an initiative designed for short local trips, and allows members to purchase a subscription, take an iconic bright blue bike when they need it, and then return it to one of the 50 bike stations across the city.

... And Beyond While it is encouraging to see so

many new transport options coming to market from the private sector, it is important to note that some of the most effective forms of sustainable transport are still provided by the public sphere. Public rail and bus facilities, and the most basic form of mobility – walking (please see November’s issue of Australian

Construction Focus) – continue to dominate the sustainable transport landscape. The advent of exciting technologies such as electric and hybrid cars, electric bikes, and even electric boats only enriches the field further; the more choices we have, the more likely we are to choose a sustainable option for our next commute to work or trip to the market. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



hat Nyholt Constructions offers is “performance contracting”. We asked managing director Richard Nyholt to explain. “At the end of the day,” he said, “we aim to meet our clients’ expectations. We understand time is critical and therefore for us to produce is important. For us too, obviously, time is critical because the more we


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

can achieve in a shorter amount of time the better it is for us and the client... We're here to do the job and here to do it properly at a high level.” The company developed the slogan six months ago to showcase what it can do “that someone else doesn't already have out there.” 'Out There' is the Yatala enterprise area of southern Queensland. “The location here in Yatala for our head

-By John Boley

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


office is ideal for us to service the Gold Coast and the Ipswich, Logan and Brisbane areas - all within an hour's drive - and the Sunshine Coast is only 1.5 to 2 hours away. But the Gold Coast has in recent years (if we put aside the GFC) been great for development, the Logan/


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Ipswich areas are targeted as the next growth areas with satellite cities being planned and obviously in the capital Brisbane as well there's always activity.� The company did all the civil works for Yatala's Access Business Park for

putting all that work together and it's something we are looking at being a part of.

the developer Property Solutions Group. “Then the company purchased a block of land and were the first to construct and move into the subdivision which now is about 8090 percent built out.”

“We're not currently main-roads qualified, something we were in the past. But we let it lapse because of lack of opportunities. Now, with this expected work the government is saying needs to be completed in two years – which is obviously a big ask and they will need a lot of resources to do that – we think there will be opportunities for us to help.”

In light of what Queensland has suffered of late, Nyholt is looking at the rebuilding of the state. “We want to get into the reconstruction work around Queensland. There isn't a lot in this southeast corridor, most of the work that's going to happen will be in the southwest and going up the coastline into east central and northern Queensland. There's a lot of activity at the moment in Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Project: Access Business Park Client: Property Solutions Group Consultant: Cozen Regan Williams Prove Completion: October 2005 Value: $ 9,500,000 Details: An expansive industrial estate in the Yatala enterprise area halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. The 52 lot industrial subdivision required: • • • • •

402,000 cubic metres Earthworks 34,338 square metres Road 3,467 Lm Stormwater 2,788 Lm Sewer Reticulation 2,444 Lm Water Reticulation

Nyholt is predominantly a subdivisional contractor. “Building 50-80 lot subdivisions is our bread and butter, but a lot of that includes road construction and bulk earthworks and any drainage and culverts that will be required in the process of rebuilding the state.” Bureaucracy is a headache, Richard agrees. “If our clients, being developers, are held back in their ap-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

plications and planning processes, that affects us as a civil contractor as well. The longer it takes them to get the approval, the longer it takes us to be given the opportunity to do the work. In Queensland at the moment, and especially around the Gold Coast area, the council is looking at ways of speeding up their planning process but there have been a lot of complaints from developers saying it is taking too long – a lot longer

in Queensland than it is in states like Victoria where construction activity seems to be a lot higher. The longer it takes, obviously the higher the holding costs. “I guess we are indirectly involved even though it's not our land. We may be told we have been a successful tenderer on a project and we are just waiting for the approvals to come through before we can start – and sometimes that can take months.” Training, environmental considerations and safety are high priorities for Nyholt Constructions. Says Richard, “each project has its own environmental sensitivities that we need to consider. We get audited by council and the consulting engineers we work for, so we are certainly not interested in any shortcuts when it comes to the environment.”

rected itself slightly since the GFC, since activity has slowed down, but now with the mines in central Queensland and all the work of reconstruction – infrastructure rebuilding not just for the state but also for the mines because they have lost a lot of infrastructure as well – it will no doubt drain some of southeast Queensland 's competent workers that are looking for opportunities to go up into those areas and chase the bigger dollars than we can offer.

Our company specialises in general civil and structural engineering Providing high quality Consulting Engineering Services to the land development, building and tourist industries We have successfully completed projects in the following categories..

Subdivisions Townhouse developments Highway design Retirement villages Caravan and relocatable home parks Industrial/commercial complexes Shopping centres Service stations Residential high-rise Individual homes Schools


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In terms of qualified and able staff in the industry, “there has been and will again be a shortage. It has corAustralian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Project: Ephraim Island Address: Paradise Point, Gold Coast, Client: Mirvac Consultant: VDM Consulting (formerly Burchill) Completion: May 2004 Value: $4,500,000 Details: A prestigious residential development on the Northern Gold Coast, built on an island in a natural sheltered waterway, connected to the mainland by an exclusive bridge. Nyholt performed Earthworks and Civilworks for a multi storey residential community, consisting of: • • • • •

75,000 cubic metres Earthworks Reclamation, Dewatering, Dredging and Treatment of materials 925 Lm Sewer reticulation and Pump Station 1,280 Lm Reinforced Concrete Perimeter Revetment Sea Walls Concrete Feature structures including waterfalls

“We can't compete in offering what the mines and some of our big brothers [the top-tier contractors] can offer – we're a long-time contractor, we offer permanent and secure employment. We are heavily involved in training. Some 80 percent of our employees are going through some form of traineeship. Last year we won a special award from the Civil Contractors Federation Queensland


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

for our commitment to training.” One other thing that differentiates Nyholt is that it owns a fleet of more than 60 items of machinery so is not reliant on hiring in. The fleet is available for hire but primarily there for Nyholt's own use. It's a family business, founded by Richard's uncle Norbert Mitterdorfer

in 1977 in Canberra, where there were a lot of government works through the 1980s. In the late 80s, Norbert started a small operation on the Gold Coast and as Canberra's works came to an end he permanently relocated to the region. Richard joined the business in 2003 and took over the reins in 2006 due to the unfortunate ill health of his uncle. Richard enjoys his work. “It certainly keeps me busy. It's highly competitive at all levels of contracting

and especially in recent years since the downturn in the economy as there has been less work available but still the same number of players in the market. “The industry is not for the fainthearted. It's very challenging, we have many risks to consider as we price work – many uncontrollable factors like the weather, which in recent times has certainly impacted on us all, and we also have relationships to maintain and build on with our clients. I love it, I thrive on it.” Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



delaide Brighton Ltd is a leading,

vertical integration to develop its busi-

integrated construction materials


company focused on the residential, commercial, engineering, infrastruc-

Cement and Lime

ture and resource sectors.

Adelaide Brighton is a market leader in cement and lime in South Australia,

The Group’s principal activities are the

Western Australia, and the Northern

production of cement and lime prod-

Territory through its Adelaide Brighton

ucts, premixed concrete and aggre-

Cement, Cockburn Cement and North-

gates, and concrete products.

ern Cement operations. It also has strategic operations in the eastern states

Its origins can be traced back to 1882,

through its Morgan Cement grinding

when it commenced cement manu-

facility in New South Wales, and its

facturing in South Australia. Today,

50% owned cement supply joint ven-

Adelaide Brighton is an S&P/ASX200

tures in Queensland (Sunstate Cement)

company with 1,600 employees and

and Victoria (Independent Cement and

operations in all Australian states and


territories. The Company has employed


a consistent strategy of incorporating

Concrete and Aggregates

a mix of organic growth and relevant

Adelaide Brighton has a modest po-

APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Adelaide Brighton PROFILE

sition in the premixed concrete mar-

Wales, Victoria, Tasmania and South

kets through its Hy-Tec operation in


Victoria, New South Wales and south east Queensland, and with the Mawson

Customers and Sustainability

Group, a 50% joint venture in north-

The major end-use markets for Adelaide

ern Victoria and southern New South

Brighton’s products include residential


and non-residential construction, en-

The Company has an emerging position

gineering construction, and mining.

in aggregate supply, with strategic reserves at Austen Quarry, west of Sydney,

Sustainable principles and practices

through the Mawson Group in northern

– which benefit the environment, our

Victoria and southern New South Wales

community, our people and our bottom

and Hurd Haulage in northern New

line – are a natural part of business at

South Wales.

Adelaide Brighton. We go much further than simply complying with regulatory

Concrete Products

requirements. Innovation, continuous

Under the brand of Adbri Masonry, Ad-

improvement and respect for the com-

elaide Brighton is the leading Austra-

munities and environments in which

lian supplier of masonry products, with

we operate will ensure the Company’s

operations in Queensland, New South

long term success in a changing world. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

-By Aleisha Parr


epresenting the concrete and aggregate capabilities of Adelaide Brighton, the HyTec Group is comprised of Hy-Tec Industries Pty Ltd (New South Wales), Aus10 Rhyolite Pty Ltd (Austen Quarry), Hy-Tec Industries (Queensland) Pty Ltd and Hy-Tec Industries (Victoria) Pty Ltd. Hy-Tec supplies commercial, industrial, civil and residential construction companies across the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, Sydney, Melbourne and northern New South Wales with over one million cubic meters per annum of quality premixed concrete, aggregates and sands. Included in this service are a number of innovative alternative cementitious materials which utilise such materials as fly

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Hy-Tec’s Quarries

AUSTEN QUARRY This hard rock quarry is located at Hartley in the Blue Mountains, approximately 100 km from west of Sydney comprises the latest state of the art equipment on primary, secondary and tertiary operations delivering dependable quality products. A durable igneous rock classified as Rhyolite which has a fine grained grey / brown to bluish colour consisting of angular to roughly cubical shaped particles with a rugged surface texture. BATESFORD QUARRY Located on Fyansford-Gheringhap Road in Batesford approximately 10 km east from Geelong, this predominantly limestone quarry also has smaller reserves of sand and low grade basalt rock. GRANTS HEAD QUARRY This conglomerate and sedimentary quarry is


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

located on Ocean Drive in Bonny Hills approximately 30 km south from Port Macquarie, in northern New South Wales. YARRABEE ROAD QUARRY This meta greywacke and metamorphic rock quarry is located on Yarrabee Road, in Cooperabung approximately 30 km north of Port Macquarie, in northern New South Wales. DUNBOGAN QUARRY This sand and soil quarry is located on Diamond Head Road, Dunbogan, approximately 50 km south of Port Macquarie, in northern New South Wales. TINDA CREEK Located approximately 61 km north of Wilberforce in New South Wales, HY-TEC's latest quarry produces fine sands.

ash, ground granulated blast furnace slag, bottom ash, air cooled slag aggregates, recycled water and concrete aggregates as well as alternative raw materials. The use of these materials – which are sourced from local steel plants and Hy-Tec’s own quarries – help to decrease the environmental impact of traditional concrete materials and processes while assisting Hy-Tec’s clients to improve their own Green Star Ratings and sustainable design principles.

Recently Hy-Tec put these materials to work on The Ark, a twenty one storey commercial building integrated into North Sydney’s heritage precinct. In order to conform to the GBCA Mat-5 Green Star Rating, the building incorporated numerous sustainable features and materials. In particular, Hy-Tec supplied industrial bi-products including fly ash, ground granulate blast furnace slag and air cooled slag aggregates to ensure a high strength, and 80 and 100 MPa concrete and post-ten-

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


sioned concrete for the construction of columns and suspended slab designs, respectively. The development of such advanced products requires dedication to quality outcomes and personal service. To ensure that these innovations are best implemented, Hy-Tec’s staff works directly with its clients from


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

the tender stage through to supply and post completion of a project. Additionally, clients are able to access Hy-Tec’s allocators directly for increased access to information regarding potential or planned deliveries. The staff structure is unique in that it leans preferentially toward a flat,

open culture whereby members of the staff are encouraged to work together on equal ground to get the project completed with optimal success. In keeping with this, Hy-Tec aims for the minimisation of corporate policy, choosing instead to focus on quality outcomes through hard work and high levels of skill. Just as environmental conservancy is of utmost importance to Hy-Tec, so too is its commitment to the safety and welfare of its staff, contractors and customers. In recognition of its extra efforts in these two 9/3/11

1:10:52 PM

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Governed by the comprehensive sustainability policy of Adelaide Brighton Ltd, the issue in general is a key focus for Hy-Tec, which has implemented conservancy initiatives across a broad spectrum of business operations which maximise natural resources, and conserve products. For one, Hy-Tec employs life cycle management techniques such as


Quality System


areas, Hy-Tec was awarded the 2009 Cement, Concrete & Aggregates Australia (CCAA) NSW environment and safety awards.

Quality Endorsed Company QEC 13650







Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


the recycling of settled sludge from truck wash bays through aggregate quarries as rubble, and using recycled aggregates from crush waste concrete in the development of lowstrength mixes. Furthermore, Hy-Tec captures and reuses waste water for its concrete manufacturing process and exports excess concrete waste to external manufacturing facilities so that they may be utilised elsewhere in the construction industry. Hy-Tec operates its own laborato-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

ries, established in New South Wales and Queensland and with additional access to external testing facilities, adding to its already broad capabilities. In addition, it is sometimes possible for clients to arrange for on-site testing through Hy-Tec, an option which helps to ensure that each client receives continuous high quality outcomes throughout every project. The laboratories are all NATA accredited as are the staff who facilitate testing and technical support. Hy-Tec utilises a Quality Management System which com-

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plies with the requirements of ISO 9001:2008. Hy-Tec’s standard products consist of normal class concrete ranging from 20 to 50 MPa compressive strength at 28 days with a design slump that has a point of acceptance from 20 to 120 mm and available in 10, 14 and 20 mm aggregate sizes. Its special class concrete includes high strength 65 MPa to 100 MPa with options in design slump between 140 and 200 mm and available in 10, 14 and 20 mm aggregate sizes

Mansell Bulk Haulage Has enjoyed a long association witH Hy-tec industries We are a major supplier in the transport logistics, With our tippers and poWder tankers used to supply to hy- tec throughout south east Queensland

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Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


(20mm only available for 65 MPa); block fill designed as a 7 mm and 10 mm flowable product ranging from 20 to 40 MPa compressive strength at 28 days with options in design slump between 140 and 230 mm; and shotcrete, designed as a 7 mm and 10 mm aggregate sized sprayed product ranging from 20 to 50 MPa compressive strength at 28 days, with a design slump of 60 mm. Also available are associated products including steel reinforcement products to provide tensile strength for in-situ concrete, steel and polypropylene fibres, set-retarding admixtures to slow concrete setting, super-plasticisers which increase the


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

fluidity of concrete for placement of concrete in difficult formed areas, and colour oxides for decorative purposes. Hy-Tec’s ability to use assorted coloured aggregates in combination to create matching effects of pre-existing architectural features can be seen in its work completed recently for a local government project in Queensland. Hy-Tec supplied ‘Dig It Landscapes’ with 560 cubic metres of concrete to match existing concrete and terrazzo styled paving in the Nambour Town Square. A mass concrete structure and associated walls were polished or sand-blasted, with the polished sections made to match polished paving. Hy-Tec incorporated local materials and inno-

vative colouring techniques on this project, ultimately decreasing the costs and greenhouse gas emissions in cement production by 30%. It is through this class of flexibility and dedication to quality and standards that Hy-Tec has continued to expand into accepting larger projects and entering more diverse markets. One such area which Hy-Tec is working to increase its exposure to in the near future is that of the private or residential market. Offering a beautiful array of decorative concrete products as well as the option for clients to personally design a unique mix of exposed, coloured or polished concrete, Hy-Tec is clearly

prepared for this next development and will certainly impress homeowners and developers alike with its innovative green products. Precept Services PTY LTD


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Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


-By John Boley


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

The Civil Contractors Federation (CCF) is the member based representative body of civil engineering contractors in Australia, providing assistance and expertise in contractor development and industry issues. The Federation represents more than 2,000 small, medium and large sized contractors that are part of an industry which employs around 350,000 people.

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


CCF members are involved in a variety of projects and activities including the development and maintenance of civil infrastructure such as roads, bridges, dams, wharves, and commercial and housing land development. Civil construction is for historic reasons considered as part of the building and construction industries but in effect it represents 30 percent or more of the sector nationally and over 40 percent in some states such as Queensland.

“We like to think of ourselves as a separate industry: the civil construction industry... civil construction is about horizontal structures - roads, bridges, marine structures, dams and all sorts of earthworks.” – Chris White, National CEO, CCF


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

The national chief executive officer of CCF is Chris White, who explains that promoting the distinct identity of civil construction is an important part of the association’s work. “We like to think of ourselves as a separate industry: the civil construction industry. We differentiate ourselves from the building construction industry by saying that the latter is about vertical structures while civil construction is about horizontal structures – roads, bridges, marine structures, dams and all sorts of earthworks including those related

Safety Bay Road Bridge to distribution and provision of services. We are about moving earth and it’s about horizontal construction.

“Our mantra, if you like, is that we are the voice of civil construction in Australia. We have a lobbying role but also an information-providing Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


The Earth Awards have the specific aim of recognising outstanding work in construction and environmental excellence which reflects development and use of the best technologies and practices by Australian civil contractors. In their 18th year, the Earth Awards are the most prestigious awards in civil infrastructure including roads, bridges, railways, marine structures and utilities that are the economic veins and arteries that link the Australian community. Members that have been involved in a recent project which has excelled in construction technique, environmental management and/or project management are eligible to submit entries. State category winners become national finalists where a national judge will visit the site for further judging prior to the National Earth Awards Gala Dinner at the annual National Conference.


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

The Earth Awards are an ideal opportunity to present member companies' capabilities to the industry, clients and prospective clients. Submissions are judged at a state and national level against the following criteria: • Construction Management • Construction Excellence & Industry Best Practice • Innovation in Concept & Implementation • Interface with other Project Parties • Technical Complexity • Environmental & Social Management • Management of Environmental Constraints & Enhancement • Resource recycling/re-use • Improvement in Environmental Amenity • Community Consultation, Interface & Benefits • Project Management • Project Planning & Management • Quality Control & OH&S • Workplace Training • Achieving Timing & Budget Targets Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Civil Train Last year CCF announced what it called 'a new era in training for South Australia'. In a statement, the trade body said: We are delighted to advise members that the South Australian branch of the CCF has been successful in receiving funding through the Federal Government Education Investment Fund (EIF) to build its state-of-the art 'Civil Train' Civil Skills Centre in Thebarton, Adelaide. The new Civil Train facility is supported with funding of $8.2 million from the federal government as well as a co-contribution from the civil construction industry in South Australia of $4.6 million. CCF SA have worked hard over a number of years to achieve this outcome and the new Training centre will see SA well on the way to meeting its future civil skills needs. The need for support for our training in civil skills is also backed by survey and data work conducted by National Office as well as our Skills Council, SkillsDMC.


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

role for our members. We have a training role and also high on our agenda is a range of functions and events that we organise to bring the industry together and work on various things that support our lobbying and information-sharing with our members. One of those is the

Earth Awards,” the annual competition judging construction and environmental excellence (see sidebar). The days when a trade organisation could set out its stall as a mere social club have long gone. “I am satisfied that CCF represents value for money,” says Chris. “But I am always

looking for new things – things we need to improve on or introduce as innovations to what we do. One of the things we need to do more over time is to develop our electronic communications system.” Work is in hand, he says, including a new website to debut later this year, as well

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


as further features to be delivered via what is generally regarded as ‘social networking’ – fact sheets, toolkits – available electronically rather than via print. “We are always looking at ways to add value. Our function is to develop support materials to help our member companies.” Inevitably, education and training are high on the list of CCF’s priorities. “In terms of a skilled workforce I think we are facing troubled times,”


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Chris admits. “There is increasing competition for a decreasing resource – i.e. people to do the work – amplified by the ageing population, the retirement rate of our current skilled workforce, and competition not only from within like organisations/industries such as mining but also from completely different sorts of occupations. “We’re not alone by any means, I think; we are part of a national

problem, but we do have our own problems relating to this industry that we continue to tackle. On the positive side, we are setting up three skill centres. The first is in South Australia (see sidebar) and we have started to build in WA and we are planning another in QLD.” These centres, adds Chris, are not just about bricks and mortar but about complementing and enhancing conventional teaching methods

with both on-the-job experience and simulators for a really high-powered training experience. What Chris and his colleagues at CCF work for is better recognition of what civil constructors do and their status as skilled workers. “Generally, throughout the community, the trade occupations have been described as ‘labourers’ in our industry and we are working very hard to shift people’s thinking away from that.” Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

-By Aleisha Parr


ensford Civil, a leading civil engineering and construction company operating throughout WA, demonstrates just how important a strong financial position can be. The company, which has an annual turnover of approximately $30 million, has consistently operated profitably in every year of its operations and continues to build on its assets through reinvestment of its profits. The company’s strong financial base and cash flow have allowed it to grow so as to meet the needs of larger and more demanding projects, including a recent project for the Public Transport Authority and a massive coastal renewal project in the works for Australand.

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


General Manager Mark Armstrong explains the method behind Densford Civil’s success: “It’s really just reinvesting in the company, nothing fancy about that. Profit is not front-of-mind for the directors; it’s about the people we’ve employed and their health and well-being and their prosperity, and that obviously benefits the wider community.” After nearly twenty years of weath-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

ering the sometimes erratic markets of the construction industry, Densford Civil has never made a staff member redundant. The company, which started out in 1991 with a staff of three, now employs approximately sixty full time workers, supplemented by a strong and diverse contractor workforce. Reports Mr Armstrong: “Our strength is that we genuinely are here because the directors feel responsible not only to

their clients but also to their creditors and their employees. We’re really here for the employees because ultimately, if they don’t enjoy [the work], what’s the point?” With the current industry trends of high turnover rates and short-term worker engagements, this perspective is rather unique in the industry, though it exemplifies Densford Civil’s particular concept for sustain-

ing a successful business in today’s tight market. The company website boasts: “Fundamental to our success is our adherence to the principles of small business - ours is a personal business. Efficiency, reliability and personal service are the cornerstones of our success. We refuse to become one of those large and impersonal corporations.” Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Port Coogee Value: $4.0m

Duration: 22 weeks

Completed: 20 Aug 2010

Client: Australand

Description of Works:

Densford constructed 60m of precast concrete retaining

walls, 300m of DN150 sewer, 700m of DN300 stormwater and 700m of linear soakage units, 1450m of DN100-DN200 water (potable and non-potable) reticulation, and 1650m of electrical reticulation including 18 streetlights and associated cabling and conduits. In addition to marina beach earthworks and rock armour placement, Densford also constructed 10,000 square metres of pavement and associated kerbing, furniture and footpaths as well as 5,000 cubic metres of clean white sand for the beach.


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

The firm values simplicity and hard work – a reduction in complicated systems and processes and an increase in communication and respect within its workforce. Mr Armstrong explains, “We place value around hard work but also while having a bit of fun at the same time . . . It’s about [saying]: ‘This is the job we have to do; how are we going to do it well?’ and ‘Let’s get people involved and let’s do the hard work and get it done.’” For Densford Civil, ‘getting it done’

means more than just completing the job – the company also places a high value on quality assurance and safety. Says Mr Armstrong: “We learn from our mistakes and we try to improve all the time.” This dedication has been the driving factor in increasing Densford Civil’s safety standards in recent years, as the company nears its three year mark of no loss-time injuries (since July 2008). Mark Armstrong explains that the company endeavours to create straightforward safety pro-


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Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



cedures for its workers and to open the channels for communication before anyone steps foot on a job site. He adds that often the industry focus is placed on filling out forms, rather than proper education and collaboration with the workforce.

tions before they go out onto the job . . . Our view is that the safety and collaboration before the task is performed is more important than filling in the form, but the paperwork is something that shows that you’ve gone through that process.”

“It’s about simplicity,” remarks Mr Armstrong, “giving the guys simple and easy tools and processes to use and making sure that they’re supported in terms of being able to stop and think and ask the ques-

This theme extends to the firm’s use of technology and equipment. Though Densford Civil does maintain latest generation plant equipment and technologies as well as software systems, the emphasis is

APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


still on simplicity and making each process uncomplicated to ensure maximum productivity and safety. In turn, this translates into better results for Densford Civil’s clients, who receive well-designed and high quality results without long process times. Contributing to this is Densford Civil’s commitment to offering – wherever possible – a complete solution. “We try to do the work where we can,” says Mr Armstrong. Where outside services are required, such as for electrical or underground work, the company will “contract in” the work itself in order to more


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

tightly control the project in terms of quality control and timeline adherence. “The two things explained to me when I started in my role were around safety - and how important that is - but the other was around values with our customer,” continues Mr Armstrong. “We don’t argue with our customers, we don’t try to rip them off. We just work well with them and . . . we try to solve problems, otherwise we might as well not be there.” The results of this approach can be seen in Densford Civil’s recent work on the Whitfords and Greenwood railway stations,

“Fundamental to our success is our adherence to the principles of small business - ours is a personal business. Efficiency, reliability and personal service are the cornerstones of our success. We refuse to become one of those large and impersonal corporations.”

where the company was employed by the Public Transport Authority to create new car park extensions and retaining walls. The task required Densford Civil to work together with the PTA to ensure that the greater community was made aware of the process, as the pedestrian and cycle routes needed to be maintained throughout the project. Additionally, Densford Civil was proud to suggest an alternate reinforced earth wall system – resulting in around a million dollar saving for tax payers. While Densford Civil has become a strong choice for government agencies, including the PTA and also

Main Roads Western Australia, who engaged the company for its Karratha Dampier highway duplication project in January 2010, the company is also a popular choice for private developers, companies and contractors alike. Showcasing this versatility is Densford Civil’s recent involvement in the $4 million 2D Phase of Australand’s Port Coogee project. As one of Australia’s largest coastal renewal projects, ultimately offering a world-class marina and residential estate, it speaks not only to the broad range of skills offered by Densford Civil but also to its strength and reputation as a company capable of excellence. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus


-By John Boley

rospects for the construction and real estate industries right up and down the eastern seaboard, especially in the days immediately following the election of the Coalition government in New South Wales, are fair to middling, with a distinct upturn expected by the start of 2012. At least, that's the view of Rod Burger, commercial director of Grindley Construction. Rod has 27 years' experience in the industry and has managed design and construction projects to the range of $150 million, including high profile Australian developments. He has responsibility for business development and project design management at a company which makes something of a speciality of health and Aged Care and spans a comprehensive range across the Independent Living, Commercial, Retail, Educational and Industrial markets. He has spent a lot of the year to date at meetings and conferences and believes he has heard a good cross-section of opin-

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Project: Constitution Hill RACF, Toongabbie Client: Australian Unity Architect: Budden Nangle Michael & Hudson Architects Details: Construction of a 120+ bed aged care facility, and decanting of the existing facility to make way for further redevelopment. The expansive facility was constructed in a sensitive residential environment, requiring exacting logistics. Grindley's depth of experience ensured the facility met and exceeded technical and quality requirements, and – in spite of a tight time frame - finished ahead of program. Value: $16,500,000

ions. “Most of the opinion is very cautious and tentative. I don't really think confidence is back in any way in Queensland and New South Wales. We believe that in both markets – in both states – there will be a pick-up towards the end of the year but the reasons are different.” In NSW “we believe the election has delivered a mandate for premier [Barry] O'Farrell to act quickly and that confidence will rise quickly. A


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

lot of things that were on the shelf will start to get pulled out later this year. I think we are in for another slow 6-8 months but by this time next year the industry will be firing on eight cylinders and it will be back to business with a much more robust construction industry in NSW from both the residential and commercial points of view.” Rod does forecast, however, “some casualties between now and then.”

Project: Patrick AutoStrad Terminal, Brisbane Client: Patrick Corporation Architect: Fiala Ooi Architects Details: The world’s only fully automated marine container terminal, the Brisbane AutoStrad Terminal is far removed from most people’s perceptions of the traditional waterfront. A sophisticated, safe and highly efficient environment, it exhibits revolutionary technology and a highly skilled workforce. It presents iconic facilities in a terminal featuring world leading stevedoring technology, and was built in an extremely tight timeframe. Value: $29,500,000 Awards: QLD MBA Regional Winner 2010, QLD MBA State Winner 2010, Industrial Buildings Over $15 million

The general consensus, he says, is that there are a lot of “haves and have-nots” – still a lot of companies that have a lot of work – “and we're one of them, because we have taken action to maintain our market position” – but there are also a lot of companies out in the marketplace that are “shedding workers. Some of them are major companies, some smaller,” and some operations are cutting back pending the onset of more encouraging times and “just

battening down the hatches.” Grindley Construction takes the view that while no one likes to work at cost for no profit, there are other factors to consider in addition to the bottom line; one of them is quality staff. The company employs some 120 people and there is a “family” aspect to management thinking – maintaining the team is important and as an example, Rod cites a 98-99 percent retention rate. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Project: SITA Waste Management Facility Client: SITA Environmental


tions Architect : Smith + Tracey Details: A green waste and AWT (Advanced Waste Treatment) facility servicing Penrith and Liverpool City Councils. SITA’s SAWT facility is the largest source separated and mixed stream processing and composting plant in Australia, and has the capacity to accept 134,000 tonnes of waste annually, diverting up to 78% from landfill. The project will have significant impact on green house gases - the equivalent of taking around 19,000 vehicles off the road and reducing green house gas emissions by 75,000 tonnes of CO2 per year. The facility will recover metal, paper and plastic recycling as well as compost green waste and residual food waste to produce compost for use in commercial markets, forestry, agriculture and land remediation activities. Value: $42,100,000

“That loyalty can't be bought. These people know they will never be laid off.” The company understands these people have mortgages and car payments to make and “we treat that with perhaps a higher priority than the absolute bottom line.” He notes there are a lot of people coming onto the market, which suggests


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

not all Grindley's rivals take such an approach. Approximately 60 percent of Grindley's $150 million turnover is represented by the aged care sector and according to Rod “we are the largest constructor in NSW.” The company pioneered a model of independent

living unit development, starting with a 50-50 joint venture with Australian Unity with a deferredmanagement scheme: Constitution Hill (see sidebar) is a 430-unit independent living development, with a community centre, 120 age-care bed places, and all services on one site. The project was constructed in 10 phases between 2002 and 2007. Grindley is currently looking at a number of similar though smaller such models on a joint-venture ba-

design and construct partner in advance of the submission of development applications. “We have a preagreed negotiated contract strategy so we are not only building the project for them but on the design team from the master planning stage.” This, says Rod, allows buildability and cost and programming input from a competent builder who is on the team from day one “instead of waiting till you go out to tender to see if you have made errors or omissions.”

“The election has delivered a mandate for premier [Barry] O'Farrell to act quickly... by this time next year the industry will be firing on eight cylinders.” - Rod Burger, Commercial Director, Grindley Construction sis. “We do a significant amount of straight residential and aged care facility construction and we do that on several procurement methods.” Another significant client of the firm’s is the Salvation Army, with whom Grindley adopts ECI (early contractor involvement), acting as

A new venture within the company is Grindley Interiors. Focusing on fitouts, refurbishments, building refits and Green Building upgrades, this division covers the Commercial, Industrial, Educational and Retail markets, with delivery services fully integrated from project inception to occupation. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Reserve Bank Australia - Business Resumption Facility

Rod is confident that the industry is “a lot more stable than it was at the time of the last recession because of the regulations and the security payments legislation and the ratios we have to keep in order to trade and maintain our licence – particularly in Queensland.” That has meant the balance sheets of master builders have been more solid, enabling them to endure and weather the proverbial – and literal – storms of recent times. Queensland suffered the floods and other catastrophes but even before that the receivers were quite busy in southeast Queensland, Rod reck-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

ons. “They are even busier now.” He knows of receivers who are moving staff up from NSW to QLD to cope with the extra flow of business there – “not only residential around the Gold Coast but all round southeast Queensland.” The floods might have been expected to be good for Grindley's business but Rod says he forecast immediately that “it won't be good for Grindley or for anyone else, because the government and the insurance companies will sit and fight for six months about who's going to pay for what.” The government, he says, is likely to sit

Blue Haven Village, NSW

on its money and/or redirect funds from other projects such as education or health, while the insurance companies will “keep people waiting as long as they can” and it will be close to the end of the year before funds are released. It's “very, very competitive in Queensland and really hard to get on tender lists and there really is some fear in the construction industry up there. We all know it's going to bounce back big-time, but right now it has fallen in a hole.” Despite this, Grindley remains strong. “We went into the finan-

cial crisis with a lot of work – a record profit margin in the year to June 2010. This financial year will be reasonably similar, though it won't break a record. We do think next year, starting July, will be the toughest year for all the building industry because all the carry-over profits and work from pre-GFC days is now gone” as are stimulus programmes from the government (e.g. BER). “Political changes, especially in NSW, will be washing through. A tough six months is coming up. After that I think things will rapidly improve – setting aside any external shocks,” he added as a note of caution.

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

-By Jaime McKee In Surfers Paradise, just steps from the beach, the spire of the world’s tallest residential building reaches majestically into the sky. Q1 (shorthand for Queensland Number One) is a skyscraper located on Queensland’s Gold Coast. The tallest building in Australia and the Southern Hemisphere and the second tallest free-standing structure in the Southern Hemisphere, Q1 stretches an impressive 322.5 metres to the top of its spire. With 80 storeys, a post-modern concrete and glass curtain wall exterior, and a roof height of 275 metres, Q1 serves as a formidable addition to the Gold Coast skyline. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Q1 was designed by Atelier SDG and Innovarchi, and was developed by The Sunland Group and built by Sunland Constructions between 2002 and 2005. Its form inspired by the 2000 Sydney Olympic torch as well as the Sydney Opera House, the structure has come to be regarded as one of the truly iconic buildings in the region, and indeed, the world. Q1 was the Silver Award winner of the 2005 Emporis Skyscraper Award, coming

in second to Sweden’s Turning Torso. It has also been honoured locally, recognised for its grandeur at the state’s 150th birthday celebration in 2009, and taking Building of the Year at the 2006 RAIA Gold Coast Regional Architecture Awards and a High Commendation at the 2006 RAIA Queensland Architecture Awards. Though soon to be overtaken as the world’s tallest residential tower – when Dubai’s 395 metre 23 MaAustralian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

rina is completed later this year – Q1 is likely to remain amongst the top 50 tallest buildings in the world for some time. While the Gold Coast skyline boasts other impressive structures – notably the 220 metre North Tower of Circle on Cavill and the 243 metre Soul building, still under construction – none are quite so imposing as Q1. The building’s unique design lends it some of the best qualities of both the large and the small. For example, despite its towering heights, the structure experiences sway to a maximum of a relatively calm 600mm. Its three-dimensional honeycomb shape features an internal lift core which stabilises the building. And the shadow cast by Q1 is surprisingly no less imposing than that of its neighbours, owing to its clever design principles. Q1’s foundations consist of 26 piles, each two metres in diameter, extending over 40 metres underground and through up to four metres of Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


solid rock. Outfitted for stability and safety, the building features a fire refuge lobby on each floor, a mid-level fire command centre, a dedicated fire lift with an emergency power source, and two flights of stairs – coming in at an impressive 1331 steps each! 527 one, two, and three bedroom units comprise the residential portion of the structure, while luxury resort and spa accommodations make Q1 a destination for tourists. Apartments boast an abundance of natural light owing to floor-to-ceiling windows, and amenities include two lagoon-style swimming pools, a lap pool, a gymnasium, a children’s


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

game room, a theatre, a ballroom, a day spa, and meeting and conference facilities. A unique retail precinct and top dining facilities – in the Q1 Beach Club and the award-winning Absynthe Restaurant – round out the structure’s offerings. Residents wishing to experience a taste of the outdoors can visit Q1’s level 60th level Sky Garden, with its 30 meter high rainforest and outdoor terrace observatory, while those who wish to take in the view can access SkyPoint, Australia’s only beachside observation deck, located on levels 77 and 78. Offering 360 degree views of Brisbane to the North, the Gold Coast Hinterland to the West, Byron Bay to the South and the Pa-

cific Ocean to the East, SkyPoint can accommodate 400 people, and may see further expansion if a recent request to construct a walkway around level 78 is approved. Q1’s staggering heights have proven irresistible to some; the structure has been used as a fireworks launch site during New Year’s Eve celebrations, and in 2007 was the site of (illegal) base jumping out of one of its apartments. In 2009, reports of building disrepair began to emerge. Complaints included peeling paint, rusting interior and exterior steel, and shattered glass panels on the lower levels. The building’s north stairwell

has also been assessed as defective due to its pressurisation system not meeting the minimum air flow requirements for a fire emergency. In July 2010, the Building Services Authority asked Q1’s builders to rectify the problems. While owners are understandably upset by the issues, many have hope that the building will soon be restored to its initial pristine grandeur. While it remains to be seen whether Q1 will continue to live up to its promise, the building’s significance on the world stage cannot be argued. As a true modern Australian icon, Q1 has certainly made its mark upon the Gold Coast skyline. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


-By Aleisha Parr


ith so much attention focused on dealing with the recently excessive rainfall and floods across Queensland and Victoria, it is easy to forget about Australia’s underlying water crisis – its desperate lack of reliable water. Australia is actually the driest inhabited continent,


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

with far too many communities plagued by chronic water shortages and droughts. These water woes have led to government issued water restrictions in many regions and cities over the last several years, but it is clear that Australia needs to develop a more permanent and suc-

cessful plan for water preservation and acquisition in order to continue to grow and develop as a nation. Mitchell Water, Australia’s largest dedicated water pipeline contractor, has been developing and implementing pipeline systems for nearly

thirty years, helping communities across Australia to obtain their water needs. Offering a complete design and construct service, Mitchell Water’s solutions extend from efficient pipeline network design, directional drilling, storage tank and pump station construction inAustralian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


cluding programming control and SCADA communications, through to bulk earthworks and poly lining for reservoirs and channels. In a recent publication, Mitchell Water boasts, “We are not limited by the size of the task, the location or the complexity, and remain committed

to delivering excellence in pipeline construction.�



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Although it began in 1982 as a small family run business, through the dedication of its founding family and their loyal workforce, it has seen record growth over the past

five years with the successful completion of nearly 9000 km of water pipelines, 32 pump stations, 82 tanks and 25 earthen storages up to 140 ML. The company now turns a sizable yearly profit, servicing the entire continent. Part of that process included increasing capabilities through building up a committed and reliable workforce and amassing the largest fleet of specialised pipeline trenching equipment anywhere in Australia. The fleet includes equipment imported from North America as well as innovative machinery including trenchers, vibratory ploughs, and trench screening and backfilling

equipment developed by Mitchell Water. One important innovation championed by Mitchell Water is the Modified Vibratory Plough, which was recently developed to install HDPE up to 125 mm diameter and 1200 mm deep without creating any trenches or surface grading and ensuring ultimately no soil erosion or sinkage. In normal circumstances without the use of this technology, the topsoil would have to be removed and set aside, the trench dug and the pipeline inserted, then re-covered with the original ground and the topsoil returned. This technology reduces damage done to crop areas, and Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011



APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

also allows for more accuracy and navigational control when working in cultural preservation areas where artefacts are at risk of being disturbed. Recounts Mr Bennett, “Farmers were absolutely impressed. They kept saying to us ‘This is marvellous. You’re not upsetting the ground in which we grow our crops, where we grow our pasture’.” Mr Bennett attributes the company’s success also to its devotion to helping improve the quality of life of residents and to increase productivity of local industry within these areas. Referring to a recent project out in Tungameh, Mr Bennett explained, “They only used to get water three or four times a year. It would flush through the channels into the dams and then they’d be expected to use the water in the dams all sorts of domestic purposes, supported by rainwater of course. In times of drought, they didn’t have water. At the end of the project the

farmers would come up and say simply that they now have water on tap 365 days a year of a good quality that they could drink it.” This particular project involved the installation of a domestic system throughout middle Victoria. Mitchell Water installed 776 outlets over a total of 360 km, ultimately saving approximately 80% of water previously lost in the area. Although a very successful project, the Tungameh pipeline was small compared to a more recent endeavour carried out in Wimmera Mallee, which covered almost 9000 km of terrain, roughly 10% of all of Victoria. Jointly funded by the Commonwealth of Australia, the Victorian State Government and water users, the project was overseen by the Grampians Wimmera Mallee Water Corporation and benefited 36 towns across the region by providing water that had previously been unavailable. With an initial project completion period assumed for ten years, Mitchell Water was able to Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


deliver on every requirement of the multiple phase $415 million project in just three and a half years – an incredible feat and a great testament to Mitchell Water’s capabilities. The situation in Wimmera Mallee prior to Mitchell Water’s work was so bad, in fact, that many residents and farmers did not have access to water most of the time. In certain cases, Mitchell Water allowed these communities to use the systems they were creating, even without a com-


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

mission tendered yet, just to ensure that they were able to get the water they so badly needed. This generosity fuels much of the work carried out by Mitchell Water. Mr Bennett shares his feelings on the Wimmera Mallee project, “The sheer size of the Wimmera Mallee project means that for us it’s one of the feathers in our cap. It was the largest irrigation domestic project ever undertaken in Australia and we’re really proud of it. It’s a great feeling that we then saved 95% of

the water that they used to use. So, in Australia where water’s a scarce resource, it makes you feel proud that you provided that benefit.” Mitchell Water’s work far surpasses merely providing a service to communities; it actually changes peoples’ lives. Property values increase, standards of living improve; indeed, even the little things that we sometimes take for granted – like being able to take a shower without worrying about consuming water preserved for drinking water – can be life-changing.

Adds Ross Bennett, Director of Business Development for Mitchell Water, “I can’t understand, myself, why they don’t implement that right across all the farming regions of Australia, particularly the more intensified farming areas, where people are still presuming that they can live on the little rainwater that falls out of the sky. It’s quite feasible to pipe water to large areas of farming. The difference it makes to people’s lives just to have stock domestic water, and the very little amount of water it actually uses is incredible.”

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


-By John Boley


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

Woodhead's origins go back to Adelaide and 1927, but the company today is very different and much larger. Now encompassing offices throughout Australia, Woodhead is also a serious presence in Asia and reaches as far as Europe. Its list of projects is impressive and includes a variety of major transport successes including Singapore Changi airport's Terminal 3, work at Hong Kong's awardwinning Sydney airport, the interior of New Delhi airport in India (completed for the Commonwealth Games) and Leichhardt bus depot in New South Wales. Commercial and industrial projects are also numerous – a recent contract is a 61,000 square metre interior fitout for DBS Bank in Singapore, and other examples stretch from the Australian

Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


International Terminal of the Future

High Commission in New Delhi to Diamond Island in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh City to Foxtel's operations centre in Moonee Ponds. The list goes on. But David KingJones, principal at Woodhead, reminds us that “you're only as good as your last project.” He rejects the notion that Woodhead's stature makes it an automatic shortlist choice for major projects and instead insists hard work, competence and


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

teamwork across his organisation is what counts, as well as listening and communicating with clients to understand fully their requirements. And winning new contracts is always exhilarating. “It's a good feeling when you win (business). It's brilliant – that's what you're here for.” Woodhead also gets involved in smaller projects – “it doesn't have to be massive.” There's housing,

“It’s fabulous work, to be able to get in there and learn those things and show that you are flexible enough to take on those challenges, and to actually interpret them and get it right.” - David King-Jones, Principal education and also “a strong and proud record of indigenous projects over the last 40 years, such as the Central Land Council in Alice Springs which has won quite a few awards. It was a hallmark building for Alice, the first green star registered building in the centre of Australia.” Woodhead's reach entails some fascinating disciplines including mastering the intricacies of different cultures. A train station in Italy,

for example, and a train station in China (they've done both – in Campania and Xining) share the basic concept but the requirements of the consumer differ by 180 degrees. Hospitals are another great example, says David. “Our first project in China was a hospital” (Woodhead no longer has an office there because of the limitations imposed there on foreign companies that are only allowed to do the basic concept deAustralian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Singapore Changi T3 Singapore’s Changi International Airport is regarded as one of the world’s most popular airports. Woodhead, responsible for the Terminal 3 interior architecture, applied a project philosophy designed to create a memorable airport experience, capture the Singaporean sense of place and reinforce user friendliness and amenity. The interior design is calming and spacious, and based around a 21st century airport model, reflecting the airport’s economic importance together with a civic focus for the city and region. The terminal adopts an intuitive layout concept promoting ease of orientation. Four guiding design principles were lead the design process: clarity, natural lighting, external views and maintainability. The design approach encompassed two


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

distinct zones: landside – accessible to the public, and airside – accessible only to travelling passengers. The project accommodates over 130 retail and food and beverage outlets, both landside and airside, and facilitates over 22 million passengers each year. Terminal 3 features a unique five-storey vertical garden, the ‘Green Wall’, spanning 300m across the main building and viewable from both the Departure and Arrival halls. Together with the rest of the terminal the detailed interior design provides a rich tactile experience that sees passenger flow integrated with retailing, airport facilities and themed landscaping. The project was awarded Winner, Mixed Use Buildings, at the MIPIM Asia Awards 2008.

velopment). “We designed a western medical delivery system and they then unwound that when they did the details on the documentation. The clean/dirty separation that is absolutely mandatory in the surgical and clinical areas of hospital design here was not such a major issue there. But for cultural reasons the morgue had to be a long way out of sight of the building whereas normally it's an encompassed part of the building here.”

This in-depth comprehension of the needs of the user is vital. “It's fabulous work, to be able to get in there and learn those things and show that you are flexible enough to take on those challenges, and to actually interpret them and get it right. It's a great challenge and it's a privilege to be able to do that sort of work.” Much of Woodhead's work at home is currently public-sector based with health, education, defence and inAustralian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011


Corporate Design Category shortlist

Woodhead is excited to have been shortlisted in the Corporate Design Category for both the Department of Education, Employment & Workplace Relations in Canberra and Coffey International Workplace in Adelaide. Woodhead has designed the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations interior fitout, delivering a new building for 2,500 of DEEWR’s national office staff. The interior design encompasses 40,000 square metres of office accommodation over 11 levels, and is designed to perform at a 5 star Green Star/4.5 star ABGR level. Through a series of detailed workshops with DEEWR senior executives and leaders, Woodhead established a set of guiding principles that underpinned all decision making throughout the project. The result is a workplace which demonstrates accessibility and visibility, both literal and metaphoric. The design concept creates an environment that engages human emotions and experiences in a ‘living’ space, a place where the boundaries of work life and home life are blended. A connection stair intersects all 11 floors, designed to breakdown departmental barriers, and foster communication and interaction between staff. Community areas adjacent to the stair well alternate in size, from large to small, between floorplates, creating variation and people flow. These social spaces promote a unified presence for DEEWR staff, bringing together ideas about building form, activity and movement to encourage and maximise the interaction


APRIL 2011 | Australian Construction Focus

and collaboration of staff and visitors. Coffey International partnered with Woodhead to deliver the organisation’s first truly consolidated headquarters in South Australia. The project, known as Worldpark 01, brings the Coffey Group from a number of disparate locations across Adelaide into one workplace environment delivering the many benefits of increased knowledge sharing and improved efficiencies. Coffey’s new workplace design provides an open, naturally lit environment featuring chilled beam air conditioning, external views for all staff and a diversity of locales to meet and work. As part of the co-location project, purpose built laboratory spaces and soil testing facilities are provided onsite, ensuring staff from all groups within Coffey have been catered for. At the heart of the workplace design is a large central atrium, a “One Coffey” space where the whole organisation can meet as one to celebrate success. The atrium is accessed via an interconnecting stair and includes a communal library, function facilities and lounge. Woodhead has worked closely with the client to apply the Coffey brand to the three dimensional space. Subtle design language references ideas of exploration, typography and the connected network which Coffey operates within. The new workplace for Coffey embodies the group’s aspirations of applying its specialist skills and knowledge to finding solutions that deliver extraordinary outcomes to improve the lives of world communities.

frastructure projects, though some falls into the public sector, primarily resource projects. While the tourism/leisure sector has been slow in Australia lately, David reflects on some past projects in the sector: “we were involved in major projects such as the Sheraton Mirage at Port Douglas and Yulara out at Ayers Rock, which were signature tourist projects for Australia. But we haven't seen anything like that for a long, long time.” There was massive investment in the eighties and nineties, says David, but those projects are being recycled and refurbished so there has not been a lot of tourism projects in the last 20 years. Australia is “still pretty interesting – a bit fragile in some areas.”

David acknowledges that Asia is a major opportunity. “We have an Asia focus. We can't ignore the dynamics or numbers of Asia, it's on our doorstep – we share climate, environmental issues, nothing's too much of a surprise to us because it's accessible and anyway Australia is such a multi-cultural country. There are existing shared values, excitement and opportunity.” Without ignoring or neglecting the vital domestic market, he says, “we would like to grow, more out of Australia around the Asia region and the Middle East – I guess the jury's out at the moment but hopefully it will settle down.” One thing is sure: when it settles down, Woodhead will be in there, making it look good. Australian Construction Focus | APRIL 2011