12 May 2020

The Best Projects have their Challenges

The Best Projects have their Challenges

Entries for our 2020 Project Management Achievement Awards (PMAAs) are now open, which are designed to recognise, honour and promote outstanding achievements in program and project leadership.

Over the 20 years since the PMAAs have been launched, the award winners demonstrate that even the best projects come with their challenges and complexities.
From delivering a leading edge centre on the opposite side of the world to managing stakeholder engagement across various government departments, we take a look at some of the winners of the 2019 PMAAs, and the obstacles they had to overcome to deliver exceptional projects.  



ACT project of the year: Sir John Monash Centre, Global Project Solutions

Imagine project managing a new leading-edge multimedia interpretive centre, located on the other side of the world? That’s exactly what Global Project Solutions was tasked with by the Department of Veterans’ Affairs, with the Sir John Monash Centre situated near Villers-Bretonneux, France.

The Sir John Monash Centre is located at the Australian National Memorial and is a lasting legacy intended to ensure that the Australian service and sacrifice on the Western Front is never forgotten.

The project required the design and delivery of a fully-integrated building and technology solution, involving construction, interpretive fit-out, multimedia hardware, purpose-built software and digital content.
Global Project Solutions had several challenges they had to overcome over the course of the project, which included:

  • Retaining the iconic architectural feature of the Australian National Memorial site, and ensuring the Sir John Monash Centre was subservient, complementary and enduring in its design.

  • Creating a primary multimedia-led experience for visitors, which is a new mode of delivery in the museum sector, and new modelling and patterns of expected visitor behaviour were required.

  • Delivering a project in France, with the challenges of language, industry capability, legal and cultural differences, plus the logistics of being half a world away from Australia.

  • Integrating an Australian-led, but globally distributed design and implementation project team.

The project team took these challenges on and the Sir John Monash Centre project was successfully delivered in 30% less time than typically required for a project of this scale and nature, was delivered under-budget and the exceptional quality of the Centre has been recognised through a number of national and international awards.

“Global Project Solutions entered the PMAA as we are proud of the outstanding work and dedication of the project team in having achieved a world-class outcome. The PMAA provides a mechanism for recognition of the team’s success,” David Freudigmann, Director at Global Project Solutions.



QLD project of the year: Battlefield airlifter main operating base facilities project

If you’re after an example of project complexity, look no further than the Battlefield Airlifter Main Operating Base Facilities (BFA) Project. A $370 million initiative, the project was delivered via 11 individual stages of work across four sites within RAAF Base Amberley.

The program of works included supporting the relocation of No. 35 Squadron (35SQN) to RAAF Base Amberley and sustaining the operation of the C-27J Spartan aircraft.

In order to deliver on the original scope, the project team had to gain approval to demolish heritage buildings at the base and a number of additional activities were undertaken (not normally implemented by a building project) which included:

  • Detailed archival recording and scanning of 38 heritage listed buildings and the development of a book detailing the heritage values of RAAF Base Amberley.

  • Development of a display, using materials salvaged from demolished heritage buildings.

  • Dismantling of other Bellman hangars to make them available to aviation heritage organisations.

  • Additional pressures included the necessity for heritage works to be completed in coordination with another project to be delivered at the base that included works that could not commence until archival recording processes were completed.

Overall, the BFA Project delivered excellent heritage outcomes for RAAF Base Amberley through the archival recording of heritage buildings, development and publishing of a book on heritage values at the base, careful relocation and adaptive reuse of a Bellman hangar and the development of a display using materials salvaged from heritage buildings.


WA project of the year: Great Northern Highway Muchea to Wubin upgrade program main roads Western Australia, Arup and Jacobs

​This project dates back to 2014, when Main Roads WA engaged Arup Jacobs in a joint venture to establish an Integrated Project Team (IPT) to upgrade 78.6km of highway across a 218km section north of Perth.

A significant part of the Great Northern Highway Muchea to Wubin upgrade program was stakeholder engagement over an extended timeframe.
Due to the length of the project, coordinated engagement was required with a significant number of internal and external stakeholders including affected landowners, all tiers of Government, technical advisory groups and future maintenance groups. The project included navigating the following:

  • Sharing of commercially confidential information between public and private entities. This was resolved through an early focus on the Integrated Project Team governance structure.

  • There were also significant technical complexities to be managed. The major program included numerous project stages and packages, multiple workstreams and disciplines, and a significant number of stakeholders with often competing objectives.

  • Due to the highway route passing through the Wheatbelt region of WA where farmland has been subject to extensive clearing, road improvements along the existing road alignment were not feasible. Instead, the Integrated Project Team considered offline construction in adjacent previously cleared agricultural paddocks.

The project achieved a number of noteworthy industry firsts. Main Roads WA was the first Australian road authority to trial the NEC3 form of contract and provide training to selected tenderers on the NEC3 form of contract. The IPT was also the first program of works in Australia to seek a sustainability rating through the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA) rating tool.