We are excited to announce that SMEC Australia with McIlwain Civil Engineering and the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads have won the Consult Australia 2021 Awards for Excellence Collaboration for Project Excellence Award, for Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements – Event 20A – Binna Burra Road. This award recognises collaboration initiatives between project participants and the client, which contributed to project excellence.

Following a destructive bushfire in 2019, the Queensland Department of Transport (TMR) and Main Roads (TMR) commissioned McIlwain Civil to design and construct remediation measures along the bushfire affected road and regain safe access to Lamington National Park and Binna Burra Lodge.

McIlwain Civil then procured designer SMEC to provide design input and construction support. This contract arrangement was deemed the most suitable due to the severe damage caused to the roadway combined with the constrained project program.

The scope of the project and the number of sites that required remediation was under assessment throughout the contract. At time of initial tender, two sites were identified as requiring remediation. At project completion the number of sites to be remediated had grown to 20.

To manage the concurrent assessment, approval, design, and construction of the identified sites, the project required close, ongoing collaboration with TMR, and its emergency works responders RoadTek.

The staging, combined with tight project program, resulted in the construction of many sites being undertaken in parallel with the design, requiring real-time sharing of design information between design and construction teams.

Transport and Main Roads’ (TMR) South Coast Regional Director Paul Noonan said collaboration was key to successful delivery.

“We had regular contact with McIlwain Civil and designer SMEC through the design and delivery of these remediation works,” Mr Noonan said.

SMEC’s Manager Geotechnics – QLD/NT Trudy Wallington said the award was unique as it recognised the importance of open and flexible collaboration on projects with a complex, evolving scope.

“Flexibility was a crucial aspect of the Binna Burra project delivery,” Ms Wallington said.

“We had to mitigate the safety risks to allow us to deliver design and construction remediation measures within the incredibly unstable mountainous environment.”

Prior to this project SMEC and McIlwain Civil worked together on other Disaster Relief projects, and the existence of a prior working relationship ensured both parties were familiar with methods of working. This provided a foundation that was built upon throughout the completion of the Binna Burra Road project.

Design Lead Rick Martin said the close collaboration resulted in construction excellence and best practice to develop solutions that met the challenging environment and tight timeframe.

“The remediation has ensured safe public access to the National Park and the heritage-listed Binna Burra Lodge, supporting local tourism and a major local business,” Mr Martin said.

Eligible reconstruction works are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).

Congratulations to the entire team associated with this project, this award is testament to the technical expertise and collaboration required to manage the recovery from natural disasters, which is increasingly a vital capability for the future.

SMEC was pleased to have all eight of our nominations to the 2021 Consult Australia OneConsult awards be selected as finalists and commends them their efforts and significant contribution to our industry and the communities we serve. Consult Australia’s media statement announcing the winners can be found here.