Managing Complexity in Newcastle’s Construction Boom.

Newcastle is in a construction boom with more than $1.6b of development in the pipeline. Development activity significantly increased in the first half of 2017, due to the $583m Light Rail and Interchange projects, with a total of nearly $900m of construction underway across the city.

Newcastle has received $2b worth of private investment since the heavy rail line was cut back to Wickham including projects such as Hunter St Mall ($222m) and The Verve apartments ($130m). The University of Newcastle’s New Space city campus, with the assistance of the Australian Government, added a $95m landmark to the Newcastle skyline.

It is rare for companies to have the internal capability to manage complex projects, as it is not normally a recurring core function. For example, healthcare organisations operate medical centres every day, but may only build a hospital once in their lifetime. Much like an airport expanding with new terminals, an educational institution building new schools, or an industrial conglomerate establishing a new plant. The building of these facilities is not a part of their normal operation, and the projects to develop and construct these facilities are complex.

When owners delegate management responsibility to design and construction contractors, they take the risk that the contractor’s interests are not necessarily aligned with those of their clients. By operating on the opposite side of the buyer-seller relationship, the inevitable conflicts of interest may impact negatively on the project’s success.  To eliminate these risks, owners may decide to manage their infrastructure projects internally. The problem with this arrangement is that few organisations have the skilled resources and tools required to execute these projects and perform design trade-offs required by the decision makers.

How can owners/clients manage their projects without experienced staff and when design and construct contractors struggle to remain objective on the project requirements?

Client’s need to have the right people in their corner, who can act as an advocate, advisor, and who can maintain control of their projects. This is where professional client-side project management becomes extremely valuable. By engaging a team of project managers who are knowledgeable and experienced, and who are primarily focused on their client’s requirements, owners can be confident that the design and construction process will be effectively and efficiently managed.  While there are similarities between the skillsets of client-side and delivery project managers, client-side project managers require a strategic outlook with greater abilities in leadership, contracts, communication, governance and above all integrity.

To enhance your organisation’s project delivery, get the right team in your corner and enlist professional client-side project management to maintain control over your next project.

If you would like more information on client-side project management services, please contact Wildara Australia on (02) 4009 1000, email or visit