Signing the contract

Collaboration is the name of the game

  • Harnesses the strengths of each business more effectively
  • Reduces commercial negotiations for sharper focus on engineering thinking
  • Fosters a deeper understanding and collaboration between both businesses

A promising new era of collaborative working has opened in Australia for Laing O’Rourke and engineering consultant WSP. 

The companies have signed a national framework agreement that defines the relationship mechanisms and commercial terms that will underpin any future projects. The formalisation of this framework means much of the early negotiation work is removed, allowing the respective engineering and delivery teams to put greater focus on developing compelling technical solutions for clients more efficiently than under traditional engagement arrangements.

It builds on the success the two organisations have enjoyed working together as part of the Pacific Complete delivery partner team working on the AU$4.3 billion Woolgoola to Ballina Pacific Highway Upgrade, duplicating the final 155km section of the country’s largest regional road project, due for completion in 2020.

“This is the first agreement of its kind for us in the Australia Hub” says Laing O’Rourke’s Australia Hub Engineering Director James Glastonbury. “It will remove a lot of the lengthy, complex, commercial discussions that usually take place at the start of a pursuit.

“We’ll be more agile and able to spend greater time and energy focusing on what we need to do to arrive at a compelling offer. We’ll be investing more effort in developing the brave ideas and smart thinking to deliver the best solutions for clients.”

James continues: “The journey we’ve both been on over the past few years on the Pacific Highway project has allowed us to develop an understanding of each other’s’ strengths. We recognise WSP’s long history in complex building and infrastructure design and they share our commitment to positively challenge the engineering of a project, which makes our partnership a good fit.”

Richard Boggon, WSP’s general manager of Transport Services agrees. “We’re really excited about this long-term, strategic agreement. The large number of infrastructure and complex buildings projects planned for Australia provide many opportunities for us to be successful together.”

He says rail infrastructure is one area where the two companies offer great potential to collaborate, given WSP’s strong record of railway-related design and Laing O’Rourke’s extensive involvement in passenger and heavy-haul rail engineering and construction projects. Both organisations are currently working together on one of the early works packages for the next phase of the Sydney Metro network.

“We collaborate well, our skill sets compliment each other and we share similar cultures.”

Annabel Crookes, General Counsel, Company Secretary and Executive Committee Member for Laing O’Rourke adds: “The agreement, signed in October, is the first major step in our drive to move from transactional to collaborative relationships with our design partners. 

“We’re currently, mapping out who we want to progress similar relationships with and discussing the possibility of setting up further agreements with a select group of other delivery partners.”



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