31 Aug 2021

Project in the spotlight: Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Project

Project in the spotlight
Project in the spotlight: Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation (ACCCE) Project

Taking out the Project of the Year award in the 2020 Project Management Achievement Awards, the ACCCE Project delivered a technically capable and innovative policing facility. Here, Kirsty Barrie, the lead Project Manager on the ACCCE project, covers the finer details of the project. 

The ACCCE Project was delivered for the Australian Federal Police (AFP) in response to a priority Government initiative. The project included the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art office, to deliver a technically capable and innovative policing facility, focussed on improved staff mental health and wellbeing.

A first of its kind for the AFP, this facility is a national coordination hub supporting Federal and State law enforcement agencies and non-Governmental partner agencies in a national and global effort to pursue the recovery of victims from harm and prosecute those perpetrating acts of child exploitation. The project team had fourteen months to design and deliver the project and relocate all the agencies into their new shared facility.


OBJECTIVES

One of the project’s key objectives was to drive cultural change through the design of this facility. The vital role the ACCCE team play in protecting some of our society’s most vulnerable groups, exposes them to abhorrent materials that can impact mental well-being.

A critical success factor was therefore providing staff with a positive and engaging office facility which allowed them to remove themselves from the nature of their daily tasks when necessary. It was also critical that the facility was functional and capable, meeting all base technical requirements to ensure the staff were able to undertake their role as easily as possible, in a safe and secure building. Future proofing also had to be incorporated to enable growth and expansion.


The ACCCE roof terrace. (Source: RPS)

 

CHALLENGES

The program

The project was highly complex due to integration of various law enforcement agencies and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). AFP national standards required adaptation in the scope definition phase to respond appropriately to this challenge, particularly in relation to Security and ICT. This meant that scope definition was evolving throughout the design phase and into construction, adding further pressure to the available fourteen-month program. 

To maximise program efficiencies, an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) methodology was employed. This allowed integration of early building investigations, construction consultancy services/design peer review and early construction works. These works were undertaken prior to design completion, establishing consistency and buy-in within the project team. 

The team were also able to leverage off existing collaborative relationships, ultimately contributing significantly to project success. With the critical path activities established, the program was split into three key construction phases with three separate building approvals, to enable completion of all scope in the required timeframe. Overcoming these issues required a proactive and determined approach, bought into the end goal of delivering a facility which plays a critical role in keeping our communities safe.

Communication

The Client for this project had four key stakeholder groups, each of whom had different, often conflicting, project priorities. To achieve the required outcomes within the condensed program, RPS recognised that deconfliction of interested parties and stakeholder buy-in and commitment across the board was essential. The team implemented several strategies to establish and maintain this throughout the project.

  • Leadership: The team demonstrated leadership through personal commitment by ensuring consistent engagement with the client and wider project team members, enabling flow of information between stakeholder groups. A culture of trust was established by listening, thoroughly understanding project requirements, and guiding the project through the value management process, whilst guarding critical user requirements to ensure the project stayed true to its character and purpose.
  • Positive teamwork: RPS approached the project with a can-do attitude, willingness to be flexible, explore options and address challenges as they presented. This enabled positive and team-focussed working relationships to develop.


The ACCCE exterior view. (Source: RPS)

 

OUTCOMES

The project team had two weeks to reduce project costs by $1 million when costs received from the Head Contractor were 20% over the pre-tender estimate. Critical thinking and problem-solving was paramount in this exercise, to ensure the client’s key objective of providing a positive space focussed on staff wellbeing was not unnecessarily diluted. In a project wide collaborative effort, the team ensured less obvious and more innovative options were presented to enable the client to make priority-based decisions.

The result was a schedule of options which had been agreed to by all project stakeholders, resulting in a total cost saving of over $1 million. This outcome was achieved and incorporated into the design documentation within two weeks, enabling the project construction works to proceed on program. The facility commenced full operation on time in February 2020 within the approved budget.

 

“In the 12 months we have been here and despite the implications of COVID, the teams from across all of the ACCCE portfolios are achieving, and in many cases, exceeding the results we expected for children both here in Australia and globally. The building is irrefutably one of, if not the best purpose designed facilities for investigators working in this very challenging crime type anywhere in the world that I have seen.”

Detective Inspector Jonathan Rouse APM, ACCCE

 

The staff working in this facility undertake a crucial but psychologically demanding and burdensome role in our society. By challenging the status quo in policing facilities, the team worked closely with stakeholders to incorporate scope and design features aimed at improving mental health and wellbeing including natural light, green planting, collaboration zones, alternative working locations and unique spaces.
 

BENEFITS REALISATION

These design outcomes have been pivotal to the new work practices and balance of the ACCCE. The project has delivered a technically capable facility in which users take pride and feel comfortable to do their best work, with an ability to remove themselves from the nature of their daily tasks regularly. Most importantly, this facility offers a place where staff want to work.
 


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