Building the Education Revolution

  • Management of 2,904 school construction projects worth AU$2.58bn.
  • A lasting educational legacy for the Australian State of Victoria.
  • A substantial contribution to stimulating employment in the building industry.

The Building the Education Revolution (BER) program comprised 2,904 school construction projects between 2009 and 2011 worth AU$2.58bn.

This included 1,253 primary school projects ranging from $100,000 to in excess of $3m, 70 secondary science and language centres and 1,581 school maintenance projects.

The projects were scheduled to occur within a tight timeframe to support the Australian Government’s economic stimulus plan, a response to the global financial crisis.

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"It's social sustainability in providing educational outcomes, and economic sustainability in providing work and opportunities that filter through the economy" 
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Demanding targets

Departments of Education set demanding targets for quick release of works to market;  engagement with schools, the community and with building contractors; cash flow and reporting.

Program management

Arup was awarded the role of Program Manager for the BER program in Victoria. This involved providing direct support to the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) and overall program-level management.

Arup was also tasked with overseeing four regional project management teams.

Immediate mobilisation

The Arup response allowed DEECD to be on the front foot in meeting Commonwealth expectations. It involved immediate mobilisation of an experienced program management team, active program management strategies from day one, and the ability to start working with the project management firms from two weeks in.

Legacy assests

As well as focusing on immediate economic stimulus, both DEECD and Arup were committed to delivering educational facilities that would be true legacy assets.

Template-based design

The demands of the BER program initiated major changes to the process of procuring education capital works in Victoria. Rather than custom-designed solutions, a template-based approach was chosen.

Exemplar building design templates were developed, incorporating the best of contemporary educational planning and sustainable design principles. The templates focused on design quality and flexibility, strongly informed by contemporary learning environments.

Coordinated procurement

The client was keen to engage fully with the commercial construction market, from multinational companies to small regional contractors. Arup developed a coordinated procurement strategy comprising standardised tender and contract documentation, and allowed work to be spread across the construction market.

Collaboration is key

Arup worked closely with DEECD to ensure effective consultation with stakeholders. This involved participation in large briefing presentations to contractors and construction material manufacturers and suppliers. Arup also helped schools choose appropriate design templates within tight decision timeframes.

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Design 2010 - Arup's Design Yearbook
  • School building with children playing outside.Open gallery

    The project includes 1,253 primary school projects and 70 secondary science and language centres.

  • Artists impression of multipurpose eduction centre. Credit Victorian Government.Open gallery

    Arup was awarded the role of Program Manager for the BER program in Victoria.

  • Open plan school interior. Credit St Leonard's Primary School.Open gallery

    DEECD and Arup were committed to delivering educational facilities that would be true legacy assets.