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2014 IS Project/Asset Award

2014-09-02 03:12:28

This Award recognises the IS certified project or asset that has demonstrated the highest overall excellence and sustainability achievements.

2014 Winner: Gold Coast Light Rail, McConnell Dowell


  • Enlarged Cotter Dam, Bulk Water Alliance (ACTEW, John Holland, GHD, Lend Lease)
  • Great Eastern Highway Upgrade, Main Roads Western Australia
  • Gateway WA, Main Roads Western Australia
  • Whitsunday Sewage Treatment Plants Upgrade, Tenix

WINNER: Gold Coast Light Rail, McConnell Dowell

Stage One of the Gold Coast Light Rail project is an ambitious, city changing infrastructure project that integrated new and existing transport systems to provide more sustainable transport options for the residents and visitors of the Gold Coast.

McConnell Dowell Constructors (Aust) (Macdow) in association with its joint venture D&C partners committed to not only delivering a sustainable transport solution, but also committed to delivering the project in a sustainable manner. Not satisfied with just marketing the project as sustainable, Macdow applied the newly released IS rating tool developed by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council of Australia (ISCA).

 ECD ProjectAward

Enlarged Cotter Dam, Bulk Water Alliance (ACTEW, John Holland, GHD, Lend Lease)

ACTEW Water is committed to providing safe, clean and secure water and sewerage services as well as building sustainable infrastructure. The construction project to enlarge the Cotter Dam is an exemplar sustainable infrastructure project and represents one of the most significant projects in Canberra's history.

Utilising the ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating tool to ensure sustainability was threaded through the entire design and construction, this project has managed to deliver long term water security for current and future generations; economic benefits to the local region; significant environmental achievements and world firsts in construction design as well as engineering advancements.

The project took six years to complete from inception with project design commencing in 2008 and completion of the enlarged dam in October 2013.

A lengthy drought in the ACT between 1999-2010 depleted Canberra's water supply. ACTEW together with Bulk Water Alliance partners (ACTEW, Abigroup, GHD and John Holland Group) commenced the project to enlarge the dam by 20 times its original capacity and future climate-proof the region using first class sustainable design. While securing water was the main purpose, this project, completed in October 2013, had additional significant sustainability outcomes.

ISCA involvement

Involvement in the ISCA Infrastructure Sustainability program led to this project being the first to register for a national IS rating. Using this framework encouraged innovative thinking and led to new standards in construction and project management being established.

 CEA ProjectAward

Great Eastern Highway Upgrade, Main Roads Western Australia

City East Alliance embraced sustainability from its outset and following on from participation in a pilot trial of the IS rating tool, the City East Alliance (CEA) Team became the first project in Australia to achieve an ‘As Built’ rating under the Infrastructure Sustainability (IS) rating scheme.

More than a dozen sustainability initiatives were developed by the Alliance, many of which were implemented across the project in some capacity. Many of these initiatives involved reducing waste, reusing material onsite, recycling waste and using recycled products and the outcomes included:

  • No potable water used for construction purposes
  • 43% of imported materials by weight being recycled materials.

Working collaboratively in an Alliance provided an ideal platform for applying the technical requirements and specification reviews of innovations such as Warm Mix Asphalt (WMA) and Crushed Comingled Recycled Concrete (CCRC) sub-base and Recycled Asphalt Pavement (RAP).


Gateway Western Australia

Gateway WA Perth Airport and Freight Access Project is the largest infrastructure project ever undertaken by Main Roads WA and aims to improve the safety and efficiency of one of the State's most important transport hubs, where road, rail and air services connect. The $1 billion national priority project will create landmark road infrastructure around the Perth Airport and the freight and industrial hubs of Kewdale and Forrestfield.

We registered for a rating as we see this as an important part of our continuing journey – understanding and applying sustainability on Main Roads projects.

Most importantly, the tool encourages 'mainstreaming' by devolving responsibility more widely across team. The rating is the product of the entire project teams work, not just a report developed by the sustainability team in isolation of the project.

Working towards a rating has enabled us to:

  • establish more robust, transparent project governance including commitments, roles and accountabilities
  • support a continuing push towards more integrated decision making across the project team
  • focus on whole-of-life-cycle impacts including identifying upstream supply chain opportunities
  • support continuing push towards greater use of recycled materials in major highway construction; examples include sourcing bulk fill and pavement from construction & demolition waste
  • focus on reducing consumption of resources (water, electricity, fuel) and better management of materials and waste; examples include expanding the recent trial of warm-mix asphalt
  • consider new technologies such as electric cars for site vehicles, LED lighting for parts of the Tonkin Highway, and high-modulus binder in asphalt
  • support trend towards more effective engagement with project stakeholders

As a state government project, it is important to ensure that economic activity is managed in a socially and environmentally responsible manner for the long-term benefit of the state. This includes upgrading roads to free flowing freeway standards reduces greenhouse emissions as less fuel is used and emissions are reduced as vehicles operate more efficiently. Main Roads' modelling indicates environmental benefits over the 30 year modelled period of nearly $200m. This is largely as a result of fuel savings through less idling time and travel at more optimal speeds.

Better moving roads enhances productivity, sustainability and liveability throughout the region by improving connectivity of this critical transport hub to the broader Perth metropolitan network.

The certification of GWA is also an important step in Main Roads' sustainability journey, which includes the certification of Great Eastern Highway, Kooyong to Tonkin and the registration of Northlink.

 Whitsunday ProjectAward

Whitsunday Sewage Treatment Plants Upgrade, Tenix

The Whitsunday STP Upgrades Project is the first project to have followed through from an IS Design to an IS As-Built rating. This has been achieved at an 'Excellent' level. The rating follow-through is significant as it demonstrates the effectiveness of the IS rating scheme in facilitating follow-through of design ideas and commitments to on-the-ground delivery. Tenix's key objectives when committing to achieving an IS Design rating were to:

  • Drive the best-possible sustainability outcomes within the project's cost, time and resource constraints
  • Demonstrate the practicality and value of the IS rating scheme thereby encouraging further uptake and help reinforce the legitimacy and need for ISCA as an organisation
  • Obtain an independent and robust assessment of the sustainability of Tenix's wastewater designs
  • Identify and address gaps and opportunities in Tenix's pre-rating systems and procedures to significantly enhance sustainability performance on all Tenix projects
  • Use the rating outcome and process to drive internal and external engagement – the latter focussing on Tenix's current and potential clients
  • Provide demonstrable evidence of Tenix's commitment to sustainability

The above objectives have been met through the pursuit and award of 'Excellent' Design and As-Built ratings for the project. It is hoped that this example of following-through from a Design to an As-Built rating encourages others to do the same – particularly for projects with relatively long design and delivery timeframes. In such situations, it may be difficult to maintain momentum and on-going consideration of sustainability.

Adoption and pursuit of IS Design and As-Built ratings will ensure that momentum is maintained and/or accelerated over design and delivery. It will also provide clear evidence of an organisation's commitment to sustainability and no doubt drive greater innovation and value-generation.

Some of the notable specific achievements from the project are:

  • Water pollution: 44 fewer tonnes of nutrients will be discharged to the World Heritage Great Barrier Reef each year – helping to protect and preserve this vital natural resource for current and future generations
  • Carbon emissions: 20,000 tonnes of carbon emissions will be avoided over the plants' operational lives and 32% less emissions have been avoided due to lower (and more sustainable) material use
  • Climate change: Adaptation strategies and actions have been implemented to reduce 22 high or very high risks to moderate or low levels
  • Energy use: 458 MWh of grid electricity will be saved each year with a cost savings of $120k per annum
  • Materials: 4,400 tonnes fewer materials have been used including over 4000 tonnes less concrete and 400 tonnes less steel
  • Resource use: 5,800 m3 of excavated topsoil, subsoil and rock have been reused and 40 tonnes less of liquid sugar will be used annually (a $14k saving pa)
  • Water use: A substantial water saving of 3 GL will be realised over the plants' total lifecycle as a result of efficient dewatering and dust-suppression practices
  • Innovation: A World's first trial of a new (patented) wastewater treatment process – parallel nitrification and de-nitrification has been implemented to prove the technology and points the way to smaller footprint plants with better effluent quality