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New campus is building the local workforce

Construction is in full swing for the campus transition to Inveresk, with the third of the precinct’s new buildings now coming out of the ground.

In November last year, local construction leader Fairbrother was appointed as part of a competitive tender process to deliver the Willis Street building, a $97m project that will house the University’s science labs, health science clinics and purpose-built teaching and research facilities on the ‘city side’ of Inveresk. The building, to be known as The Shed is a nod to the past when two large railway sheds stood on the site.

Local labour and innovation have been a priority for the project team. Using an early contractor involvement (ECI) process, Fairbrother was able to work closely with the University, architects and sub-consultants with a focus on initiatives to reduce embodied carbon by over 30%.

Fairbrother CEO Kurt Arnold said it was a unique opportunity to be involved in an iconic and architecturally designed project.

“We’ve been able to use interesting and innovative products, including Aramax perforated cladding chosen specifically for its sunshade capability, and cross-laminated (CLT) panels using eucalyptus nitens produced down the North-West coast. We’ve learnt a lot through the process, and it was exciting to be a part of that.”

As one of Launceston’s biggest infrastructure investments, the project has provided workforce certainty for Fairbrother following the insecurity of COVID. With over 200 workers involved on the site, Fairbrother is on track to achieve a target of 20% apprentice and training hours, providing new workers across all disciplines with the opportunity to learn their craft.

“It’s rare in the construction industry to have a two-year window of certainty ahead of us and for all the subcontractors involved,” Kurt said.

Professor Dom Geraghty, University of Tasmania Pro Vice-Chancellor (Launceston) said it was exciting to see the Inveresk developments already having far-reaching benefits.

“Learning outcomes sit at the heart of what we do, so it is wonderful to see our campus construction projects in the North creating new opportunities for Tasmania’s next generation of tradespeople to develop and hone their training,” Professor Geraghty said.

“The new Inveresk Precinct not only provides economic value through the construction phase, but it will help create a vibrant population closer to and within in the CBD, supporting more local businesses to flourish.”

The University will transition to Inveresk in stages starting with the Library early next year and the River’s Edge building in 2023. The ‘The Shed’ on Willis Street will be open from early 2024.

The urban realm outdoor spaces across the precinct will open next year and the refurbishment of existing buildings will be complete by 2024.

Published on: 21 Dec 2021 11:16am