It’s named after the spectacular aurora australis, or Southern Lights. But Aurora is, in fact, a major Lendlease residential community on the northern fringes of Melbourne, near Wollert. The first sods of earth were turned way back in 2005 and while the greenfield estate is already home to more than 5,000 people, it’s still growing rapidly. Work is expected to continue until at least 2025.
To date, Fleetwood has successfully delivered several key products at Aurora for Lendlease. This includes multiple Play and Shade products across the estate, such as the award-winning Aurora Entry Park and, most recently, a suite of shelter product (called the Lap Pod™) which I have been lucky enough to project manage.
Our latest task was to fabricate and install two large Lap Pod™ shelters at Aurora’s new ‘Linear Reserve’. Created by Melbourne-based landscape architects Beveridge Williams, the reserve design called for a multi-faceted greenspace with shade shelters, picnic facilities, a half-court basketball court, active play areas and extensive landscaping. There were a lot of elements to be completed simultaneously, guaranteeing a fast-paced work site with plenty of challenges, especially with so many different contractors on site at any given time.
Early on it was clear communication would be vital, so we invested quite a bit of time and energy in building good working relationships with both the Landscape Architect, Sarah Kelly from Beveridge Williams, and the head landscape contractors, Bitu-mill Landscapes. Given our previous experience with Lendlease, both at Aurora and on other projects, we also knew forward planning for safety would be super important, so that took up quite a lot of our time in the early stages as well. A successful project is always a safe project.
Smoothly does it
As for my specific responsibilities at Aurora? Well, no two days were ever the same that’s for sure. But you can say that for virtually every project. Ultimately as Project Manager the buck stopped with me when it came to keeping things running smoothly and safely. On any given day you could find me co-ordinating the small army of suppliers and contractors, overseeing the completion and installation of steelwork and timberwork on-site, providing regular workflow and budgeting updates, managing stakeholder expectations, as well as liaising with the Linear Reserve foreman and project managers from the various other facets of the project. That was especially important during the installation phase for us, to ensure we didn’t get in each other’s way. Easier said than done!
Looking back now, while there are always challenges to be overcome and learnings to be gained, we’re pretty delighted with how the project turned out. But, more importantly, so is Lendlease – because not only did we deliver the two new shelters to brief and budget, we actually delivered them three weeks before the landscapers had even finished. Who says project always run late?
Having been a Project Manager for many years now, I’m experienced enough to know nothing is ever guaranteed in this business. But with yet another product successfully installed at Aurora, this won’t be last time you’ll be hearing about Fleetwood Urban doing great things in Melbourne’s north. Stay tuned.
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