Community, Education

Successful Delivery Of Large Scale Education Projects In South Australia

The start of a new school year is always exciting, this year the South Australian Department for Education experienced even higher levels as it welcomed students to two brand new, purpose built “birth to year 12” (B-12) schools. Located in the ​​outer metropolitan areas of Adelaide, the Angle Vale Riverbanks B-12 College and the Aldinga Payinthi College, the schools were delivered as a Public Private Partnership (PPP) project. Following a comprehensive procurement process, TESA Education comprising Tetris Capital, Dutch Infrastructure Fund, Sarah Construction and ISS Services was awarded the $240 million contract to construct and maintain the two schools, and the outcome is truly world class.

Deb O’Riley, Director New Schools at Department for Education, said, “our working relationship with Sarah Constructions through the TESA partnership has been one of ease and professionalism. The Department engaged Sarah to build 3 of the new schools opening in 2022, as well as a number of capital works projects in our existing education sites across the state. The teams we’re working with, across multiple sites, are dedicated to delivering the projects on time and in a friendly and professional manner.”

The high level logistical and management requirements to simultaneously construct two B – 12 schools, in two separate locations required sophisticated resourcing, operational, financial and project management. Underpinning Sarah’s successful delivery of these schools and at the same time also managing large education projects at Whyalla Secondary College and Murray Bridge High School, are three core areas: resourcing, communication and supply chain management. Sarah’s skill and commitment across these areas resulted in world class Educational facilities delivering modern pedogeological outcomes.

Aldinga Payinthi College Completion Fly Through

Resourcing – the right people for the job

Sarah Constructions have a long history delivering Education projects and are experts in this field. Sarah’s experienced internal resources created a strong project management team and the ability to partner with the best subcontractors to deliver across both sites.

Sarah’s PPP Project Director, Ben Layley, said “Sarah’s collaborative approach, not only with the project team members and the Department throughout the design and build phase but also with wider market partners to ensure that supply chains and subcontractor availability and resourcing would be sufficient, was critical in our ability to provide surety around delivery.”

The advantage of putting emphasis on people first in commercial construction is that it builds the foundation for mutually beneficial business relationships. Sarah CEO, Adrian Esplin explains “our business is purely about people. We don’t make products; through our team of experts we manage advanced problem processing. We’re a business that consists of people who are highly motivated to achieve great outcomes. Working with the people within the Department of Education and bringing together expert people from our design partners, we have delivered unique world class campus style educational facilities that will stand the test of time.”

Communication – actively building strong relationships

With a focus on mutually successful relationships, differences of opinion and challenging conversations were expertly managed through Sarah’s relationship first and solutions based win/win outcomes approach, which resulted in the enviable outcome of a dispute free PPP engagement.

Navigating the complex PPP contract structure required high standard, effective communication to deliver all parties objectives. “Working with numerous stakeholders each with differing measures of success, required close and active management. Building strong relationships within the project team and creating a collaborative project ethos was instrumental in the cohesion achieved within the project and the outcome that satisfied all of the different objectives” said Mr Layley.

For Alison Colbeck, Principal at the new Aldinga Payinthi College, Sarah’s strong communication and relationship building approach enabled “a thoughtful approach to pedagogy. As teachers we understand that the best learning environments are collaborative and not just within four walls, and working collaboratively with the Sarah team, that’s what has been designed and built. I’m excited and thrilled to see this sort of investment in this diverse and creative community. This school will be beneficial, from the level of education we will deliver through to the positive outcomes for the community.”

Supply Chain Management – foresight and knowledge to avoid delays

With two sites building effectively the same buildings at opposite ends of Adelaide, at the same time, strategic subcontractor selection, package breakdown and allocation was essential to ensure adequate resources were available to achieve program. Key subcontractors were awarded packages across both sites where efficiencies existed, for example services and structural framing trades.

Even though SA was relatively sheltered from the lock downs and larger effects of COVID until November 2021, throughout 2021 there were increasing supply chain constrictions, and additional requirements on site operational functions for hygiene, density and tracing requirements.

“Sarah’s processes and agility allowed us to embrace new ways of doing things with minimal impact on the delivery of the project. For the Education department, surety of delivery in a market stressed by constrictions and supply chain shortages, provided significant reassurance.”

Sarah approached the PPP as a delivery partner rather than just a builder. We place high value in the relationship we have with the State and Department for Education. The project team was committed to approaching the design and delivery of these schools with a best for project mentality. Educational outcomes were at the forefront of all design decisions and the overriding determinate during challenging design or delivery situations. We are proud of the facilities that have been delivered and with the relationships fostered during the project” said Mr Layley.

Following the success of these projects, Sarah Constructions has recently been awarded the build of Morialta Secondary College, A new public secondary school to cater for 1200 students from year 7 to 12.

To learn more about our capability or the SA Schools PPP project, contact us today.

Still photography by Sam Noonan.

Aldinga Payinthi College done footage by Scott Berwick Creative. 

Angle Vale Riverbanks B-12  drone footage by Stray Creative. 

Share this article