The Probuild Difference: How thinking differently has driven success

The Probuild Difference: How thinking differently has driven success

Probuild’s core strength is its people, who are dedicated to teamwork and excellence. Striving to deliver high-quality projects on time and within budget, Probuild also keeps a strong focus on safety and the environment. Its track record for providing quality service to clients is one of several reasons Probuild was selected as the preferred contractor for the Eastland redevelopment project in October 2013 when construction kicked off.

Project background

Since initially opening for business in 1967, Eastland in Ringwood, Victoria has completed structural updates four times, most recently in 2002.

With 50 per cent of its latest expansion designed by QIC Global Real Estate, Probuild has begun its part of the construction for the $490 million Eastland Stage Five Redevelopment. The new Eastland will include a town square lined with restaurants, a library learning and cultural Centre, by Maroondah City Council

So far, the project has wrapped up major demolition and excavation, as well as some structural construction. In addition, crews have also completed fit out in major tenancies and some upgrades to the existing Centre.

Probuild is currently in the process of putting together the structure, services and commencement of its base build fit outs. The project involves work around a trading Centre in two major parts. The intention is to have the first half completed by late 2015, with the entire project slated to finish in the middle of 2016.

Thanks to Probuild, by the time all work is complete the shopping Centre will have new south and east malls, four new permanent loading docks, additional car park decks as well as improvements to existing decks. The malls include 22 lifts, 21 escalators, and four moving walkways, as well as the library and town square.

Project goals

As with all Probuild projects, the main goal for Eastland Stage Five Redevelopment is to finish on time while staying within budget and maintaining high quality standards. Optimising on the design expertise QIC brings to the design and development of assets.

“A major priority of the project and retail projects generally is to maintain as much flexibility as possible for the client to allow leasing-driven changes. This way, scope changes occur with minimal programme and cost implications as construction progresses,” said John McManus, Construction Director.

Strategic management

According to McManus the key to delivering this particular project on schedule has been to have open communication and collaboration with all stakeholders, especially Eastland.

Probuild holds design management meetings to go over any issues, monthly Project Control Group (PCG) meetings, several site-based meetings with consultants and subcontractors, and bi-monthly meetings with members of the Maroondah City Council.

Probuild has committed to supporting the existing Eastland Shopping Centre, which has been continuing normal business operations during construction. By forming complex work sequences and schedules, Probuild has successfully coordinated construction around tenants and the general public.

The Probuild Difference

Probuild creates a better way of doing things, by unpacking, analysing, challenging and looking for opportunities. For clients, it results in an overall smarter and more simplified process. Probuild believes that thinking differently drives business; this is “the Probuild Difference.”

Part of thinking differently includes challenging construction methodologies to meet the demands of design concepts—and this approach has been key to the continued success of the project.

According to McManus, the main construction innovations to come out of the project revolve around the external appearance of the Centre. This includes the use of honeycomb aluminum fins instead of Glass Reinforced Concrete (GRC) to create a light-weight but heavy-duty façade. There is also a new GRP Lattice System that acts as a secondary façade to meet the design intent of the conceptual architect.

Additionally, Probuild, along with Shard Bespoke Engineering, developed a new façade lifting system for the Town Square Portal stone installation to create the required profile of the design’s intent. This was necessary to accommodate the weight of each 1.5 tonne piece of stone.

Training for safety

Six hundred workers were onsite at Eastland as of June 2015, but the workforce is expected to increase to approximately 800-1000 at its peak. To augment this large workforce, programs include audit training, safety courses such as first aid, software, and other discipline-specific training to ensure new employees are kept up to speed on Probuild’s processes and rigorous standards.

“At a minimum, monthly safety interactions are undertaken by all Probuild staff onsite, ensuring that safety is a priority of all employees,” said McManus. “Regular audits are undertaken on the Eastland Stage Five project, and Probuild undertakes audits each month on selected contractors.”

This commitment to end-to-end safety prevents accidents caused by training underlap and contributes to setting Probuild apart from the crowd as a company dedicated to keeping its employees healthy.

Local job creation

As one of several initiatives focused on providing more jobs to the local community, Probuild has partnered with the ICN Gateway to promote local subcontractors and suppliers that will be involved in the project. ICN posted a variety of work packages on its website, with each opportunity going to the highest bidder.

The local Maroondah City Council has been a vital partner for the project, thanks to its involvement with the library addition. “This is the largest retail project to have been undertaken within this local government area, and when complete, Eastland will draw in new visitors to the area, creating further local job opportunities in and around Eastland,” said McManus.

Plans for the future

By 2016, patrons of the Eastland can enjoy a location for cultural enrichment as well as commerce. Over 350 tenants are expected to conduct business at the completed Centre in 2016, which is approximately a 50 per cent increase, supported by almost twice the original square meters and a significant increase in parking spaces. The new structures and stunning architecture promise to propel Probuild’s reputation as a company that delivers on its word.