Inspire : Public Works Nov Dec 2012
25 GED BRENNAN HOW IMPORTANT HAS COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT BEEN TO THE SUCCESS OF THE GRANTHAM RECOVERY PROJECT? The Grantham community has been heavily involved in the process. The actual project was to reconstruct a residential development on higher ground. But what has made it unique is that it involved a land swap. This was a voluntary process for the impacted families. They could move their home off their original lot, they could have a relocatable house -- there was no governance or restrictions placed on them. How they fnanced their house was totally voluntary. The different families have worked at different paces, due to the various circumstances they found themselves under. The council was very active in establishing a policy and administering a ballot process. There were four different sizes of land allotments and the landowners could voluntarily enter the ballot and swap their land. We had to provide a mix of housing sizes to match the allotment sizes. WHAT WAS YOUR ROLE IN THE PROJECT? I was the project manager of the onsite construction from July to December 2011. I was in charge of delivering 90 lots in that time and making sure the frst of the houses were complete and it was possible for families to relocate into the new development before the anniversary of the foods. We had the frst family in before Christmas. There’s around a dozen families living in there and around another 25-30 houses under construction. Because some families are under signifcant duress, particularly emotionally and fnancially, it will take some time in some cases for them to fnish their preparations and arrangements to get on site. I had some specifc objectives: frst, an absolutely rigid time frame for the delivery of the frst stage; second, a focus on the landowners and the need to meet any requirements that they had; and third, maximise the use of local resources, suppliers and local contractors. The combination of those three were not always complementary. Quite often, local contractors tended to be smaller, so we had to coordinate large numbers of contractors. Sometimes the sophistication of their equipment or their processes probably made the delivery more challenging -- we sometimes had to overcome certain problems they created. For example, the local quarry suppliers didn't have the ability to create moisture into road pavement, which meant we had to establish a pug mill onsite in order to place the pavement at the speed we needed to. WHAT WERE THE MAIN CHALLENGES YOU HAD TO OVERCOME TO DELIVER THE PROJECT? The constr uction of the houses concurrently with the construction of civil works was a signifcant challenge. A great amount of work had to be carried out to ensure it could be done safely. We probably had 15 separate work crews involved in the process, fve of which were council work crews. It wasn't something they were regularly involved in -- although they had a good skill level. We also had to incorporate other specialist contractors who were installing reservoirs, NBN networks, electricity wiring or curbing channels. All these different activities were running at the same time. Meanwhile, we also had to ensure the site was as accessible as possible for the landowners. We provided them with a guide to get them onto the site when they needed to. WHAT WORK WAS UNDERTAKEN TO ENSURE THE AREA IS MORE RESILIENT TO FLOODING? The lots have been constructed many metres above the obser ved food height from 2011. The site is uphill from the original part of the township and there were houses there that might have been tens of metres higher than the food level. This development is further up the hill again. It's well and truly clear of any concern. HAS THIS PROJECT HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE OF COLLABORATION AND COOPERATION IN THE INDUSTRY? It has shown what's possible. Really all that's required from all concerned is a problem-solving approach. If everyone has a positive objective, things can happen really quickly, effectively and without taking shortcuts. I worked very closely with the Lockyer Valley Regional Council, essentially inside the organisation, as their project manager. I was certainly treated as their representative. The council really has to be commended. I had really good support from the executives and the councillors. They showed great leadership. @ We probably had 15 separate work crews involved in the process, ve of which were council work crews ... All these di erent activities were running at the same time.
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