A VIP function in early November presented the 2017 Constructionarium Australia project at the Construction Training Centre in Salisbury (Brisbane), where the project was built.

Inspection of the Story Bridge project at the Constructionarium VIP function.

A 1/20 scale version of Brisbane's iconic Story Bridge, built in 1935-40 by Evans Deakin - Hornibrook Constructions Pty. Ltd, a consortium of steel fabricator and shipbuilder Evans Deakin and contractor Hornibrook Constructions, founded by Manuel Hornibrook and builder of many iconic bridges on the East Coast.

The Constructionarium concept originated in the UK over a decade ago as a means of addressing a perceived gap between the theory of academic institutions and the practical requirements of industry. As such, it involved late year engineering students.

The initial Australian project took a slightly different approach, involving recent engineering graduates representing contractors, consultants and project owners; and saw this as a means of allowing mutual understanding to be built, along with a practical appreciation of on the ground issues involved in construction.

The most recent project took this further, involving engineering students in addition to recent graduates.

The build sponsors were contractor Downer, toll operator Transurban, the Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR), engineering consultant HDR and the University of Queensland (UQ).

The 18 participants comprised two Transurban Queensland employees, four DTMR employees, five Downer employees, three HDR employees and four UQ students. Their work involved three days of preparatory work and five days on site - effectively 4½ days as a client presentation was made on the afternoon of the fifth day.

A factor in Downer's participation was its connection to the project through its purchase of Evans Deakin - it was at one time known as Downer EDI. The location of the Construction Training Centre also includes the former Evans Deakin site where the steelwork for the Story Bridge was fabricated.

The challenge was supported by:

  • Construction Training Centre (providing the venue, facilities and an ongoing home for Constructionarium);
  • WH&S More Skills (provision of craneage services and a driver, a site office and training rooms);
  • RLG International (leadership and team building support);
  • DWW Engineering (quality assurance and delivering steel in line with the program); and
  • Struber (celebration event, marketing and communications for Constructionarium's social media and website).

The Cross River Rail CEO has given Constructionarium the challenge of building the first Cross River Rail underground station (the actual project will commence after 2018), and the group is seeking sponsors and participants for this in early 2018.