I recently wrote an article focussing on the biggest projects happening around Sydney in 2020. With the huge volume of work happening in NSW I assumed that nowhere else in Australia could possibly match it (typical Sydneysider attitude, right?). Well, Melbourne does match it.
When I started researching for this article I was shocked by the number of megaprojects, all occurring concurrently in the same city with a population of five million people. Very impressive.
I think these projects have become even more critical to the country with the current economic downturn caused by Covid-19. Both national and state governments have been relying on these mega projects to keep a portion of the population employed and keep the economy from being completely crushed.
So let’s get into the biggest construction projects in Melbourne for the year of 2020.
1) Metro Tunnel
As one of Melbourne’s once in a generation projects, the Metro Tunnel was the first project on my list. The scale and complexity of this project has resulted in an estimated cost of around $11 billion, but this might be on the conservative side with recent reports showing potential cost blowouts of around $3 billion. The Metro Tunnel is composed on twin 9km tunnels (that’s over a billion dollars a kilometre!), and five new metro stations right through the heart of Melbourne.
There is a good comparison to be had since Sydney is also building a Metro network at the moment. The first stage of Sydney Metro (Northwest) cost $8.3 billion to build twin 15.3km tunnels. While the second stage (City and Southwest) is currently under construction and estimated to cost $12.5 billion for 15.5km of twin tunnels.
Comparing these costs dollar for dollar, makes the Sydney Metro look like better value on paper. However, as anyone that’s worked in construction will know; no two projects are the same. These mega projects are called “once in a generation” projects for a reason.
Projects like the Metro Tunnel will completely change the way Melbourne functions for the next 50 to 100 years and shape the way people interact with the city. Tourists that visit Melbourne will likely take the Metro due its convenience and speed of service with trains expected to run every two to three minutes. Regular commuters to Melbourne will enjoy more suburban trains in and out of the city as the City Loop is freed up by the new tunnels.
The collection of companies working the Metro Tunnel reads similar to a list of the biggest construction and engineering firms in Australia. We have John Holland, CPB, Lendlease, Bouygues, AECOM, Aurecon, Mott MacDonald and Grimshaw Architects.
I mentioned earlier that there are predicted cost blowouts of $3 billion. How does this happen? Part of this is due to an increase in the scope of work (late changes proposed by government in relation to signal boxes, vents and power requirements for substations https://www.theage.com.au/national/victoria/late-metro-tunnel-design-changes-could-see-cost-blowout-soar-20191213-p53jqr.html), but it is also partly due to geological issues. Reports have said that the density of soil was causing digging delays (https://www.theage.com.au/business/companies/metro-tunnel-builders-battle-claimed-2bn-blowout-20190606-p51v92.html).
Tunnelling always carries inherent risk. There is no way to guarantee with 100% accuracy what the geological profile of the entire tunnel is going to be without the investigation work becoming prohibitively expensive. There is always a cost-benefit trade off that needs to be made when deciding how much geotechnical investigation is required, and it appears that in this case, perhaps more should have been done. But hindsight is always 20/20.
2) West Gate Tunnel
The West Gate Tunnel project is designed to complement the existing West Gate Bridge which is regularly under heavy congestion. The new tunnel will be 6.8km long, bringing commuters into the City from the west.
Analysis from the Victorian Government has shown that the tunnel should remove 9000 trucks from residential streets by enforcing a ban of trucks on all residential streets and forcing them to take the West Gate Tunnel.
The project also includes upgrades to the existing West Gate Freeway and a new bridge over the Maribyrnong River along with new cycling and walking paths.
In total the project is estimated to cost $6.7 billion.
You might think that sounds like a very expensive road, and you’d be right.
A 2015 study compared the cost per lane kilometre of new roads across Australia. The report focussed on greenfield sites versus complex infill roads, such as tunnels. The graph below shows how complex infill roads (notably tunnels) are so much more expensive than greenfield projects.
The Lane Cove Tunnel for example, constructed in Sydney between 2004 and 2007 cost a total of $1.1 billion for 3.6km of tunnel, coming in at a cost of around $75 million per lane kilometre (2 lanes each way). The West Gate Tunnel by comparison will cost around $160 million per lane kilometre (3 lanes each way). This could be affected by the complexity of the project, but also due to the shear amount of work currently taking place in Australia, which will naturally push prices up.
3) Level Crossing Removal Project
The Level Crossing Removal Project may not be the most glamourous or high profile project on this list, but in terms of dollar value and time frame it is one of the biggest and most far reaching. The project consists of the removal of 75 level crossings by 2025 spanning all over Melbourne and the surrounding area.
This might not sound like a major project, but in total its estimated to cost around $13 billion. Along with the removal of level crossings there are 13 new stations being constructed, a new train maintenance facility, numerous bridges and couple of tunnels. The project is sure to impact almost every person that lives or visits Melbourne as they enjoy a safer experience on the road.
Laing O’Rourke was one of the key companies involved in the early stages of the Level Crossing Removal Project. They leveraged their strong digital engineering tools to enhance their level of community engagement early in the project and to provide a platform for a variety of innovative solutions to be developed. http://www.laingorourke.com/media/news-releases/2016/trains-on-time.aspx
Aurecon also embraced a number of digital engineering solutions to make this project a success. One example is where they made a simulation for the train drivers in order to test the visibility of signals.
Everything that was going to be constructed was modelled and then brought into Aurecon’s real time visualisation software to enable train drivers to test the location of signals in an environment as close to the real thing as possible. Doing this work prior to construction meant that any errors or issues could be picked up early and rework on site could be minimised, which was critical on a project with such a tight construction time frame. https://www.aurecongroup.com/expertise/digital-engineering-and-advisory/case-studies/lxra-caulfield-dandenong
4) Regional Rail Revival
The three monster projects will provide a huge boost to the Victorian economy over the next five years, but there are many more projects, both provide and public that, while significantly smaller, are still big projects.
For example, the Regional Rail Revival with a measly cost of $1.7 billion will provide significant upgrades to the Ballarat Line, the Gippsland Line, Warrnambool Line, Geelong Line, Bendigo and Echuca Line, North East Line and Shepparton Line. The works vary for each location with upgrades such as more accessible stations, more parking for commuters, new bridges to allow for faster trains, track duplication, and more.
Works are expected to continue until late 2022 and are already providing masses of employment opportunities right across the state.
5) Other projects
I didn’t want to finish this article without mentioning a number of other significant projects going ahead in Melbourne during 2020.
The Sunbury Line Upgrade is a significant project valued at around $2 billion. The purpose of the project is to allow the new High Capacity Metro Trains to run along the Sunbury Line. This requires power upgrades along the line, platform extensions and accessibility improvements along the entire line.
Upgrades to the M80 are expected to cost around $500 million and include new lanes, a new freeway management system, new and improved on and off ramps and pedestrian bridge upgrades. The construction work is being undertaken by CPB Contractors and is expected to finish by 2023.
West Side Place is comprised of two towers, the largest is 81 storeys (281m) while the smaller one will be 64 storeys (221m). The larger tower will be the home of the Ritz-Carlton once complete and it will become the tallest hotel in the Southern Hemisphere.
West Side Place only just beats out Queens Place in the height department. Queens Place is comprised of two 79 storey towers and 1800 apartments. Work on the towers has been taking place since 2018 and is expected to be complete in 2021. Queens Place is being constructed by Multiplex and was designed by Cox Architecture and Fender Katsalidis Architects.
The Company: A successful and growing large home builder, have partnered with Design & Build to add a Site Supervisor to the team, to manage single & double storey homes across the metro Perth & Peel region. With continued strong sales, the opportunity has arisen for a Supervisor South of the river to manage a portfolio of c25-30 builds. Renowned for their quality workmanship, they pride themselves on their seamless processes and excellent client services within the single & double storey markets. The Role: Reporting to the Construction Manager, your responsibilities will include: Ensured effective management of trades on site, suppliers, completion of paperwork and admin tasks. Coordination of supplies and materials to be delivered Ensuring projects are delivered on time and budget Ensuring compliance with OH&S legislation Liaising with clients Quality checking on jobs About You: To be successful in this role, you will have: 4+ years experience as a Site Supervisor on residential homes Trade background or tertiary qualification Strong organisational skills and excellent time management Ability to work to deadlines and manage multiple sites A keen eye for detail and a commitment to quality What's in it for you? Up to $110k + Super + Vehicle + Phone + iPad Long term work close to home Working for an established and well respected brand If this sounds like the job for you please contact Ian Bond today on 0424 150 536 or apply now.
The Company: Established 15 years ago, they've become a household name in the Western Australian residential building sector, with a great reputation for building quality family homes. Due to continued strong sales, they're seeking 2 Schedulers with 3+ years experience to join the team, working across both single, double storey & multiunit builds, with contract values up to $600k. This is a unique opportunity to work for an industry leader and award winner but without the red tape usually associated with larger companies. Since their inception, they have won countless awards at both HIA & MBWA. In the role of Scheduler, you will be working in a close knit team, reporting to the General Manager To be successful in this role, you will have: 3+ years experience working as a Scheduler for a residential home builder Databuild software experience would be advantageous A positive and self-motivated approach to your work Excellent numerical and communication skills What's in it for you? $60k - $85k + Super Parking Career Development Fantastic culture This role would suit somebody who enjoys scheduling but is looking to work in a "family-feel" environment where they can see opportunity for growth and feel supported. If this sounds like the role for you, please apply now or contact Ian Bond on 0424 150 536 for more information.
The Company: A successful and growing family owned home builder, have partnered with Design & Build to add 2 Site Supervisors to the team, to manage custom home built sites across the metro Perth & Peel region. Currently, the team sits at 50 with a lot of the team having been with the business for 5+ years. A full pipeline of work already secured, with opportunities both North & South of the river, you will not only be close to home with a better work life balance, but more importantly have a manageable portfolio to look after, where you can really focus on quality & relationships (8-12 Homes). Renowned for their quality workmanship, they pride themselves on their seamless processes and excellent client services within the single, double storey, multi units & apartment markets. The Role: Reporting to the Construction Manager, your responsibilities will include: Ensured effective management of trades on site, suppliers, completion of paperwork and admin tasks. Reviewed and approved time sheets, expense reports, leave and overtime requests for staff and contractors Coordination of supplies and materials to be delivered Ensuring projects are delivered on time and budget Ensuring compliance with OH&S legislation Liaising with clients Quality checking on jobs About You: To be successful in this role, you will have: 3+ years experience as a Site Supervisor on residential homes Trade background or tertiary qualification Strong organisational skills and excellent time management Ability to work to deadlines and manage multiple sites A keen eye for detail and a commitment to quality What's in it for you? Upto $110k + Super + Vehicle + Phone + iPad Long term work close to home Working for an established and well respected brand If this sounds like the job for you please contact Ian Bond today on 0424 150 536 or apply now.
The Company: An established residential builder, with nearly 75 years in the Western Australian construction sector, whom have an unrivalled reputation for building quality family homes. Due to an increase in workflow off the back of strong sales, they are seeking an experienced Estimator to join their team based in Osborne Park. This is a unique opportunity to work for an industry leader in the single & double storey market. They build around 350 homes per year, with average contract values around $400k. Working in a team of 5, you'll have access to the latest bespoke estimating software and opportunities to receive industry leading training and real career progression. The Role: Reporting to the Estimating Manager you will have the following responsibilities: Pricing on jobs through all stages including sales, administration, contracts and construction including Produce variations as per customer requests Pricing of earthworks and site costs Working to a strict schedule to produce required documentation Work with internal departments as well us external customers to deliver a seamless service Maintaining the internal database to ensure products and services are kept up to date About You: To be successful in this role, you will have: 4+ years experience working as an Estimator for a residential home builder Understanding of different construction methods (double brick, timber etc) Ideally a Certificate in estimating or Diploma in Building & Construction A positive and self-motivated approach to your work Excellent numerical and communication skills What's in it for you? This role would suit somebody who enjoys estimating but is looking to work in a "family-feel" environment where they can see opportunity for growth and feel supported. A salary ranging from $70-90K (depending on experience), with onsite parking included. If this sounds like the role for you, please apply now or contact Ian Bond on 0424 150 536 for more information
Design and Build have partnered with a prominent mid-tier consulting engineering firm delivering first-class design services across multiple sectors including high rise commercial & residential, aged care, education and infrastructure projects. Reporting to the company directors, you will work in a motivating team environment with skilled professional engineers and technical staff. You are a senior level structural engineer with a demonstrated background in the management and delivery of quality structural projects to a variety of sectors. You have demonstrated experience leading a team of technical staff and managing projects at high level, on time and to budget. You will utilise your strong network within the building and construction sector preferably in Victoria and your willing to represent the company by increasing brand awareness and ensure a healthy project pipeline. The core benefits of this role are Excellent salary package and career development opportunities. Have impact on the organisation strategic direction and business outcomes Be a part of people first culture with a flexible working environment Day to day activities will include Increasing brand awareness of the organisation to drive project growth using your network and market knowledge Undertake strategic and speculative client meetings regarding projects and client relationship programs to gather intelligence and form project partnerships Forming successful working relationships with a variety of stakeholders including company executives, engineering & technical staff, clients and client staff and cross sector / discipline leaders. Develop and drive strategies for successfully entering new markets in line with the organisation’s strategy Manage the selection and securing of bid & project partners Providing technical leadership, mentorship, and advice to other engineers in the company and to client staff The successful candidates will have: Degree level accredited qualifications in a relevant Engineering field Demonstrated experience in leading and delivery of structural services of major projects Demonstrated ability to lead, with good influencing, motivating and delegation skills Strong local network in Victorian building and construction market. Strong technical capability & understanding to ensure quality service delivery Preferably you will be recognised as a Chartered Engineer or Engineering Executive Design & Build specializes in recruitment for the Construction, Engineering & Property industries on a national basis. Design & Build prides itself on only hiring recruitment specialists, finding the right people for the right jobs, and doing the right thing by both job seekers and employers alike. For any questions relating to this role please contact Teddy Murphy on 0412 182 171 / firstname.lastname@example.org or click apply. Your application will be treated as strictly confidential. Thanks for your consideration.
An opportunity for an intermediate civil designer to develop their career working for an up and coming engineering consultancy with offices in Melbourne and Geelong. As part of the Urban Development team in Victoria, you will gain experience on projects of varying size and complexity in a market that is stronger than it has ever been. You will work within a proven civil team to deliver landmark projects underneath an established brand. The ideal candidate would have good 12-D experience working on land development projects. Key Requirements: A passion about the industry 12D Model – Critical AutoCAD PC Drain The successful candidate will be joining at an exciting time for this company as key hires been made across the team. This role would suit individuals who are open to improving their skill set and growing with the business going forward. You will have the opportunity to be based from their Melbourne or Geelong office. To apply for this position, hit APPLY NOW or please send an updated CV to email@example.com. For more information please call Teddy Murphy at Design & Build on 03 853 53100.
Civil Engineer - Civil 3D/12D - Aged Care, Education & Commercial An opportunity to join an established consultancy in the CBD. This business has a strong reputation among clients in Melbourne. They also have a good forecast of engaging projects to gain good experience on over the next few years. This position would suit civil engineers with 3 years + experience working within a similar civil/structural consultancy environment. You will work in a team of 6 civil engineers in an office of 40 to 50 staff. The work will be on aged care developments, community centers, car parks & small scale subdivision work. 3 years+ experience in the Civil Urban Development sector Intermediate to Advanced level skill in AutoCAD Civil 3D or 12D design software experience is essential for this role For more information please call Teddy Murphy at Design & Build on 03 853 53100. To apply for this position, hit 'APPLY NOW' or please send an updated CV to firstname.lastname@example.org