Sustainable infrastructure for the social good
When Webuild (previously Salini Impregilo) becomes involved in delivering a major piece of infrastructure it not only creates a structural icon to be admired, it also provides communities with enhanced liveability and access to vital services for current and future generations.
A case in point is the Forrestfield-Airport Link in Perth.
Webuild was awarded the contract to design, construct and maintain the rail link by the WA Government in 2016. As well as the functional imperative of connecting the city centre with the eastern suburbs and Perth Airport, the Forrestfield-Airport Link is a critical solution to the West Australian capital’s population challenge.
Perth’s population is expected to grow from 2 million to 3.5 million by 2030. That spells the twin scourge of traffic congestion and air pollution for a city which has to date largely been spared what has become endemic in major cities around the world.
The 8.5 kilometres long Forrestfield-Airport Link will allow residents to commute between the suburbs and the city centre in 20 minutes each way versus 45 minutes by car. The incentive for commuters to leave their cars at home will help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and maintain the city’s enviable quality of life.
In the meantime, the project will create 2000 jobs, an additional boon for a city whose employment opportunities are subject to the vagaries of the mining industry’s peaks and troughs.
Webuild is the lead partner (80%) in the Forrestfield-Airport Link project joint venture with Perth-based contractor NRW Holdings (20%).
The Forrestfield-Airport Link is a critical solution to the West Australian capital’s population challenge. The project will help reduce traffic congestion and air pollution and maintain the city’s enviable quality of life
Another example of infrastructure’s contribution to enhancing future community wellbeing is the $5.1 billion Snowy 2.0 project.
Webuild owns 65% of the Future Generation joint venture that won the civil works and electromechanical component of the Snowy 2.0 project. The remaining 35% is held by Australian engineering company Clough.
While the future of renewable energy is the subject of debate in political circles, the fact is that Australia is getting on with planning for the reliability and security of the nation’s future energy needs.
Snowy 2.0 will increase the Snowy Mountains Hydroelectric Scheme’s generating capacity, currently 4100 megawatts (MW), by 2000 MW. Webuild will link the existing Tantangara and Talbingo dams by excavating a series of tunnels and building the biggest hydroelectric power station in Australia with pumping facilities located nearly one kilometre underground. Snowy 2.0 will triple current pumping capabilities.
Hydroelectricity plays a key role in Australia’s production of clean energy and is currently responsible for 33.9% of renewable energy produced, according to the Clean Energy Council. Snowy Hydro supplies the National Electricity Market at times of peak demand.
“With this massive project, Salini Impregilo is entering the hydro sector in Australia to help the country produce more clean energy”, says Webuild’s Executive Director Asia Pacific, Marco Assorati.
“As more renewable energy sources enter the grid, Australians can be confident that hydroelectricity will help keep the lights on when the wind is not blowing or the sun is not shining”.
Assorati says Webuild develops infrastructure that best serves community needs and social amenity by thinking ahead.
“Designing the infrastructure of tomorrow means ensuring that each project has the inbuilt flexibility to manage the needs of the future”, he says.
We draw on our global expertise to ensure that the infrastructure we build is future-proof. In that important respect, we are not just builders, we are partners in the vision that governments have for their citizens. We are not only builders, we are thinkers, we are innovators, we bring new ideas and tested solutions to the table
Melbourne-based public infrastructure investor, developer and manager Plenary Group shares Webuild’s focus on thinking about infrastructure as a social asset.
Plenary specialises in Public-Private Partnership (PPP) infrastructure projects. Its international portfolio consists of 48 projects in Australia, Canada and the United States valued at $33 billion. Its 14 projects in Australia include several in Victoria, including the High Capacity Metro Trains project, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, in Melbourne’s south-east and the Western Roads Upgrade project in Melbourne’s western suburbs.
Damien Augustinus, Managing Director, Origination, with Plenary, says PPP projects are “all about outcomes for the community”.
“We take responsibility for each stage of a project from design to construction, delivery and long-term management”, Augustinus says.
That involves a team of more than 100 specialists helping to deliver or manage public infrastructure in transport, health, education, water and defence.
“We’ve got a significant team, the largest in Australia, to focus on the PPP market. The scale and breadth of these projects calls for different skill sets across the consortiums we lead”, he says. “Our depth of experience and expertise allows us to choose the best people for a particular project”.
Augustinus says Plenary is typically involved in government infrastructure projects.
“Maintaining public assets for government requires us to have world-class skill sets. Our approach is to be on the frontline of every project from the outset, putting solutions together for government and being there for the long-term”, he explains. “It’s a model that is proven to work exceptionally well for government, and importantly, for the community. The PPP model is ultimately about ensuring long-term public benefits”.
Our involvement from day one ensures that as a project evolves we can make sure that a piece of community infrastructure remains fit for purpose. Many of these infrastructure projects go on to become much loved parts of the community
Rick D’Ovidio, founder and Director of Melbourne civil contractor Civilink, agrees that infrastructure is no longer about just building things.
“Understanding that these are community assets is why we are always striving to be innovative and environmentally sensitive and always looking for a better way of doing things”, he says.
D’Ovidio is a qualified building engineer with 20 years’ experience in civil contracting. He believes the industry has had to change the way it thinks about infrastructure.
We are very mindful that everything we do must be seen from a social perspective. A large focus for any contractor today is sustainability and liveability. This is something that has developed and evolved over the past 10-15 years