Lavarack Barracks army housing project marches on

Published 23 May 2013

TOWNSVILLE, QUEENSLAND –  Plenary Living’s $117 million defence housing project at Townsville’s Lavarack Barracks is in full swing with construction of the second stage of the development well ahead of schedule.

Lavarack Barracks is one of 17 packages to be delivered across 14 Australian Defence Force bases as part Plenary Living’s Single Living Environment Accommodation Precinct (LEAP 2) Project for the Department of Defence.

The first stage of the Lavarack Barracks works was completed October last year and comprised 272 residential units. The remaining 270 units are likely to be ready for soldiers to move into in early July.

Plenary Group Director, Mr Ray Wilson said collaborative problem solving was the key to Lavarack Barracks’ Stage 1 successful ‘on-time/on-budget’ delivery; the same approach was driving a fast tracked construction program for Stage 2.

Mr Wilson said construction outcomes on the Public Private Partnership (PPP) project had been achieved despite extremely challenging conditions.

“Queensland experienced an unseasonably wet season last year and torrential rain forced our construction partner, Watpac, to down tools an incredible 85 times over 15 months,” Mr Wilson said. “That’s more than double the average and double what had been allowed for in the construction program.”

“Watpac brought in an extra 180 workers during Stage 1 construction and at peak, there were around 400 workers on site, a record for any project in Townsville.”

“Our facilities management partner Compass Group even moved its team on to the base to help expedite the commissioning process.”

Lavarack Barracks has been an outstanding achievement for Plenary and Watpac who are combining to deliver a further 434 units across four bases in ACT and Victoria as part of this project.

Mr Wilson said that he looked forward to seeing the consortium join forces again and applying its successful PPP delivery model to other opportunities in the future.

Watpac Chief Executive Officer Martin Monro said the successful delivery of the accommodation facilities at Lavarack Barracks demonstrates the inherent value of using PPPs to deliver major infrastructure projects.

“Our delivery model was able to draw on our own technical and project management expertise and combine this with a skilled local supplier network, resulting in high productivity and greater construction capacity despite the challenging weather conditions,” Mr Monro said.

“This is an outstanding result delivered under extraordinary circumstances and all credit goes to our talented Townsville workforce.”

Watpac established permanent operations in Townsville in 1998.

Watpac’s work at Lavarack Barracks consolidates the company’s already substantial Defence construction portfolio in the region, which also includes the completion of 3RAR infantry battalion. Watpac is also delivering the expansion of the Cleveland Youth Detention Centre.

About Single LEAP 2

The second phase of the Single LEAP project (LEAP 2) is being delivered as a Public Private Partnership with Plenary Group partnering with a consortium of local construction firms and Compass Group Pty Ltd to finance, design, construct, operate and maintain 3,015 accommodation units for 33 years.

Accommodation is being delivered at 14 military bases across all Australian mainland states and territories for the Department of Defence and offer high quality independent living accommodation for Australian Defence Force personnel.

The project, which is expected to be completed by the first quarter of next year, will create around 1,500 construction jobs nationally and is valued at around $900 million.

Plenary Group also partnered with Watpac on the first phase of the Single LEAP project (LEAP 1) in 2009, which saw the successful delivery of 1,395 accommodation units across three bases in Queensland and New South Wales.