Darlington Upgrade Project
The Darlington Upgrade Project

The Australian approach

  • A targeted approach has changed Laing O’Rourke’s innovative methods for the better
  • The Hub aims to build on its reputation for building landmarks
  • Time spent with clients and investing in its people have contributed to the success of The Hub in recent months

Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson, Finance Director, Australia

The Australia Hub has embarked on an unprecedented breadth of projects this year, thanks to a string of wins in 2016 that led to more than A$2.4bn of new work and project variations being added to the order book. The Hub will be playing a key role in the delivery of some of the most important infrastructure projects across the transport, defence and road sectors in almost every state and territory. The key to success? A commitment to an innovative culture coupled with a genuine desire to connect with clients.

A targeted approach

The Hub changed its approach to new business opportunities a few years ago to enable Laing O’Rourke to ‘walk the talk’ when it comes to innovation. “We believe we’ve really seen the benefits of this over the past 12 months,” explains Mark. “We’ve become far more targeted in terms of the clients we want to work with. We’re looking to establish and maintain long‑term relationships with those who value our ability to innovate.”  

One example of a successful long-term relationship is with the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC). Laing O’Rourke has commenced work on the extension to Brisbane Airport International Terminal, building on a partnership that’s been enjoyed with this client for almost four decades. Valued at more than $70m, the project will deliver two new gates to the international terminal and increase its capacity for bigger aircraft, including the Airbus A380.

Laing O’Rourke will also be building on a long partnership with the Department of Defence this year, with work on the redevelopment of the Larrakeyah army barracks and the neighbouring Coonawarra naval base in Darwin. 

Roads, rail and architectural icons

The Australia Hub will also be building on Laing O’Rourke’s proud history of delivering major metropolitan rail projects around the world with the design and construction of a bridge at Sydney’s Central Station.

Another rail infrastructure project is the upgrade to Adelaide’s Torrens Rail Junction, as part of a consortium with AECOM and KBR. The upgrade will have a significant impact on the city’s road and rail networks and both its commuter movements and freight productivity. 

Major road infrastructure projects are also ramping up, including the A$400m Northlink WA Central Section in Western Australia, a joint venture with BGC Contracting. “This is our first major road project in Western Australia for close to a decade,” says Mark. 

Investing in our people

Laing O’Rourke has built a culture that fosters a mindset of growth and innovation among its 3,000 employees in Australia. An investment in career development is central to this. “Every line manager is expected to have a personal understanding of the people in his or her team and their development needs,” Mark explains. “Then, as a business we try to support new opportunities for people through a range of programmes targeted at highly talented, high potential individuals.”

Time with our clients

While people fear that technology will reduce human interaction, Laing O’Rourke is using it to enrich client relationships. The adoption of a digital-first approach across all aspects of the business – technical, operational and in support functions, is fine-tuned to not only deliver projects more safely and efficiently, but also as a valuable reporting, people management or stakeholder engagement tool to take to clients and the public. 

“We spend a lot of time with our clients,” says Mark. “The feedback we receive from them is that we listen and we do all we can to understand their needs. We proactively work with them to find solutions that address their requirements and we do this through leading-edge technology and innovative thinking.”