How Hansen Yuncken is disrupting the Australian construction sector
Construction company Hansen Yuncken has continued to define the Australian skyline for decades, creating some of the nation’s most notable landmarks and buildings including The Melbourne Star and the Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Yet, although the Australian firm has a rich history spanning over a century, it certainly isn’t stuck in the past. Keeping up with the blistering pace of change in the construction sector, the business is tackling each and every project with aplomb and an innovative stance.
It’s for this reason that Project Manager Vanja Krumpacnik believes that Hansen Yuncken remains a heavyweight in the industry, even after all these years. “As the years have gone by, we’ve grown to take on bigger and more complex projects,” he explains. “We’re trying to be a leader in the construction sector by using new technologies which allows us to provide transparency to our stakeholders, clients and consultants regarding quality and safety processes on site. We also have a rich history; we’ve been around for 100 years and whilst we’re changing with the times in terms of techniques and technologies, our core principles and values have stayed the same.” Michael Gibson, Senior Contract Administrator, also proposes that the firm’s landmark builds have helped to establish Hansen Yuncken as a reputable brand. “It makes clients want to be associated with us and helps to attract talent. We’ve always been an employer of choice,” he notes.
Whether it’s in the commercial or community fields, health, entertainment or somewhere in between, Hansen Yuncken has created landmarks for sectors across the country. Take the theatre world, for instance: not only is Hansen Yuncken in the midst of redeveloping Her Majesty’s Theatre in Adelaide and ‘The Hedberg’ Creative Industries and Performing Arts Development in Tasmania, it’s also in charge of creating the Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, set to open in December 2019
With a sleek undulating design allowing for up to 2,200 guests, the Sydney Coliseum Theatre is set to be the first of its kind outside of Sydney’s central business district (CBD). West HQ CEO Richard Errington says: “With its spectacular architecture and design, Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ will set a benchmark for the arts industry globally and is something Greater Western Sydney residents will be immensely proud of.”
Executive Director of Sydney Coliseum Theatre, West HQ, Craig McMaster added: “The theatre is a stunning multi-mode venue that will host world famous musical theatre and live music, family entertainment, comedy, ballet and symphony orchestras. Servicing the 2.2million people of Greater Western Sydney, the Sydney Coliseum Theatre is also expected to draw audiences from the Blue Mountains, regional New South Wales (NSW) and Eastern Sydney”
The right mix of common sense, intelligent thinking and cutting-edge digital technologies helps Hansen Yuncken manage and govern its projects. It keeps people safe, allows them to focus on what they need to do and ensures their clients get what they want when they need it.
Backing this human-touch is their award-winning Information Management System, HYway. This superfast virtual brain brings together shared knowledge, digital applications, software and processes as well as best-practice procedures honed and shaped across a myriad of projects into a centralised hub that is accessible to all 24/7. For over 8 years, Hyway has been the digital backbone to Hansen Yuncken’s project delivery. Intelligent and intuitive, it drives processes and supports precise reporting and informed decision-making: it lives, breathes and delivers certainty. “We can’t live without it. With HYway, we can quickly and clearly identify what’s happening on projects from safety to cost,” observes Gibson. “It’s all about collaboration; it makes it easier for project managers to the CEO to see where a project is at through live data. It is even used to compile corporate reporting.”
On top of this, Hansen Yuncken is also adeptly using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design Construction (VDC) which perhaps can be seen most clearly at the New Royal Adelaide Hospital (NRAH), completed two years ago. The $2bn hospital was the largest hospital project ever undertaken in Australia and the single biggest infrastructure project in South Australia’s history. With such complexity and scale, BIM and supporting construction technologies proved to be useful tools to collate and manage the build in a virtual world. “Since NRAH, Hansen Yuncken has come a long way in its use of BIM and VDC, We have adopted a range of field technologies on our projects such as drones, point cloud scanning and supporting Autodesk products that are all accessible via iPads,” adds Krumpacnik. “We utilise these to monitor safety and quality and we believe it's made our teams more efficient in delivering trade because we have the latest information at our fingertips. Additionally, we've used 4D programming whereby we’re essentially adding a fourth dimension to a previous 3D model: time. This means you can visualise the building being constructed in 3D over a time sequence which provides clarity on the process and safety of the build. Essentially getting an insight into what the site conditions and constraints might be at a future point in time. We’re modelling structures right down to every single element of steel or precast, and that's quite unique in the industry.”
Just as innovation has shaped Hansen Yuncken’s operations, the firm is also keen to promote a more environmentally sensitive way of working. Today, the firm is part of the Green Building Council of Australia and therefore, every decision the construction firm makes – from the choice of materials and processes to construction waste management and ongoing maintenance – takes sustainability into account. “Hansen Yuncken are not just early adopters of sustainable design, we actually helped to write the Green Star standard, a set of sustainability standards for design and construction,” notes Gibson. “We also created a Council House 2 project in 2006 which was awarded the first ever 6-Star Green Star rating – the highest rating you can get. It's much more than a tick in a box for us, it is a vital part of our business.”
Today, the Australian construction market is regaining momentum and it seems that for anyone looking to carve out a rewarding career in the sector, Hansen Yuncken is the place to be. Krumpacnik speaks highly about the firm’s lean national structure that promotes and inclusive culture, noting how everyone feels “important and highly valued”. “Everyone’s got their own responsibilities and no-one is seen as above anyone else,” he adds. “The Executive Management Team are really approachable and there’s a mix of experience whereby we have long-term employees as well as new cadets.” There’s also a yearly leadership course for employees looking to get the next steps in their careers. “Future leaders are identified and nourished through programmes and mentoring,” Krumpacnik explains. “That might be why we've retained so much of our staff: there's opportunities to learn and be rewarded.”
With a variety of projects in the pipeline, Hansen Yuncken is shaking up the Australian construction industry with a people first, innovative and sustainable way of doing business. “Looking forward, I hope Hansen Yuncken continues to increase turnover and chase these challenging landmark projects,” reflects Krumpacnik. “We want to grow and be at the forefront of technology drives. It’s what we currently do and I hope that continues.”