Military precision: Shifting our defences

Moorebank Units Relocation
Holsworthy, NSW
At a glance

Innovation and collaboration were at the core of this relocation project that saw Department of Defence assets moved from Moorebank to Holsworthy.

A project that required flawless collaboration with a number of stakeholder groups from early in the design phase, the Moorebank Units Relocation (MUR) involved the design and construction of more than 80 separate facilities.

It involved significant unknown in-ground services that had to be identified and relocated, as well as major earthworks, much of which was contaminated and required disposal to a licensed facility. It included work on numerous heritage structures and significant building finishes that required coordination with specialist contractors.

Experience pays

Our work on the MUR showcased our ability to

  • manage multiple and diverse stakeholder groups on a major, high-profile project
  • work in a live facility without affecting operations
  • identify and dispose of contaminated material
  • manage approval process for design and work to heritage building fabrics
  • achieve high sustainability outcomes
  • develop innovative approaches to workforce, project and supply chain management

Our application of Digital Engineering during design and delivery allowed us the flexibility and transparency to interrogate design and construction for clash detection in 3D, construction sequencing in 4D and cost planning in 5D. This provided certainty in model–design integration across disciplines and assisted with stakeholder management.

The result

The project was completed ahead of a number of target milestones, providing a three-month contingency in overall timeframe.

It was the largest single-site Australian Defence capital works project since World War II, receiving the 2016 Australian Construction Achievement Award – Australia’s most prestigious construction award.

The project in numbers
  • 260km of in-ground services installed
  • 750,000m³ of bulk earthworks
  • 55,000m³ of asbestos-contaminated material classified and treated on site
  • 160,000m³ of sandstone unearthed, processed and reused on site
  • 50 consultants and 300 trade contractors
  • 35% of the 9,000 people on the project were recruited from within 15km of the base
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The Laing O’Rourke team … has truly performed as part of the greater Defence and Liverpool Military Area team. They have been most collaborative with Defence users and authorities, resolving and actioning some difficult design, schedule, and site management issues to the satisfaction of everyone. They must be especially commended on their ability to continue with progress despite heightened security measures at Holsworthy whilst also ensuring continued access for Defence personnel through safe lanes in the job site. The team has also been forthcoming with valuable ideas and suggestions, and also welcomed the same, to achieve improved outcomes for the project and base users. I would gladly work with this team again!

Lieutenant Colonel Doug Fox Project Director MUR, Defence Support and Reform Group

in-ground services installed


of bulk earthworks


of asbestos-contaminated material classified and treated on site