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Building the Education Revolution. Australia

Client
Australian Government
Services
Engineering Expertise
Duration
Two years

Building the Education Revolution. Australia

Building the Education Revolution. Australia

Building the Education Revolution. Australia

Full project details

Laing O’Rourke participated in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) initiative, which was part of the Australian Government’s 2009 economic stimulus plan. Over a two-year period, Laing O’Rourke completed design and construction projects at hundreds of schools in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory.

Laing O’Rourke participated in the Building the Education Revolution (BER) initiative, which was part of the Australian Government’s 2009 economic stimulus plan. Over a two-year period, Laing O’Rourke completed design and construction projects at hundreds of schools in New South Wales, Queensland and the Northern Territory. In New South Wales, Laing O'Rourke won two of the state’s nine available BER works packages. As managing contractor for the Western and Riverina regions, Laing O’Rourke delivered new school infrastructure across more than half the state. These regions received $320m in capital works over 18 months under the BER program, which aimed to both improve school facilities and boost local employment. As a result, Laing O’Rourke engaged with virtually every town west of the Great Diving Range. 

The project involved all aspects of Laing O'Rourke's New South Wales business, from design to delivery. Laing O'Rourke worked across 329 operational sites throughout the regions, implementing specific quality and safety systems and measures to reduce the impact on each school. By engaging with local schools, builders, suppliers and other service providers, Laing O’Rourke was able to maximise the effectiveness of the program and leave a lasting legacy throughout the regions. 

To keep costs down, while still delivering high-quality school buildings, in some locations the Laing O’Rourke team worked with local manufacturers who designed and constructed prefabricated buildings. The buildings were made off site and then assembled on the school grounds. They were built to the same standard as on-site constructions, and have the long life expectancy required for state government buildings. In partnership with the Master Builders Association, Laing O’Rourke also initiated a series of regional employment forums to support the BER program. Over 700 people attended the meetings, and local contractors were eager to play a role in delivering the new facilities. The initiative helped boost employment in towns that had been adversely affected by the economic downturn, including Wagga Wagga, Griffith, Albury, Dubbo, Orange, Bourke and Broken Hill. 

In Queensland, Laing O’Rourke was responsible for 186 individual projects at 121 schools in the South West and Darling Downs regions. The works extend from Ipswich to the Northern Territory and South Australian borders, and south to the border of New South Wales. At each of the schools, buildings were constructed, refurbished or upgraded to meet the curriculum needs of pupils for years to come. Laing O'Rourke was engaged as construction manager, which meant it was able to self-deliver the works. However, because of the stimulus nature of the overall BER program, Laing O'Rourke generally employed local builders and tradespeople for the works, and only delivered one project single-handedly. In the Northern Territory, the Laing O’Rourke team delivered 15 projects for the Department of Education, along with Integrated Learning Centres for three Catholic schools. 

As managing contractor, Laing O’Rourke successfully managed the BER funding for each project, as well as the design and construction of the buildings. The BER works presented a number of logistical challenges, with the teams in each region often working on multiple job sites in remote locations. The successful project outcomes are therefore testament to Laing O’Rourke’s solid reputation as a provider of quality construction solutions.

Project facts

Laing O’Rourke engaged with local communities and tradespeople to maximise the program’s effectiveness

The deployment of a DfMA strategy to boost value for money, by prefabricating new classrooms for the smallest country schools

Regional employment forums were attended by over 700 people in country New South Wales

Every Laing O'Rourke project in Queensland was deemed by the federal government to represent value for money.

Teams in each region often worked on multiple job sites in remote locations