Australian Business Awards

The Water Corporation shows excellence planning and collaboration

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The Water Corporation is a supplier of water, wastewater, drainage and bulk irrigation services in Western Australia. It operates assets with a replacement value of well over $30 billion including water sources such as dams and desalination plants.

The Water Corporation undertook the commissioning, design and construction of the East Rockingham Wastewater Treatment Plant in conjunction with a joint venture of contractors. By adopting a competitive alliance approach, Water Corporation aimed to develop a collaborative alliance of contractors based on tight teamwork that also benefited from competition at the project design phase. This meant that the final two proponents had to secure selection over each other, resulting in a superior effort in the project design and costing proposals. Representatives from the plant’s future operators were also placed full-time within the plant alliance to facilitate early and co-operative discussions on operational issues and identify potential risks for future use requiring amendment early in the design. Additionally, the project alliance undertook comprehensive community and stakeholder engagement, allowing the project to have minimal impact on locals, particularly in relation to odour control.

These methodological features of the project alliance manifested themselves at later stages of the project, with potential design issues for operators being resolved at a low-cost development stage and collaboration between alliance members resulting in enhanced communications. During delivery the alliance team developed groundwater, odour and environmental management plans to manage potential impacts with technical measures also implemented to manage temporary impacts of construction. Advanced odour management processes were installed at the plant which has a two stage odour treatment system and a buffer zone that’s subject to planning controls was created.Corporation General Manager Assets Delivery, Mark Leathersich, said the project required hard work and dedication to overcome the many challenges. “Delivering a new major metropolitan wastewater treatment plant is a particularly challenging task – safety, community expectations, environmental requirements and procurement of equipment locally and internationally all have to be managed to ensure timely delivery of the asset,” Mr Leathersich said.

Water Corporation and the wider project alliance’s emphasis on collaboration and inclusive engagement processes with future operators and the community saw the project finished on time and $13 million dollars under budget. Water  The project was also completed safely, with no ‘lost time injuries’ sustained and no more than 500,000 total hours worked. The successful commissioning, design and construction of the East Rockingham Wastewater Treatment Plant has earned the Water Corporation a Project Management Award in the Australian Business Awards 2016.