This article was originally published on Business News.

Author: Dan Wilkie
Published on Business News: Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 – 14:13

Facilitating the biggest construction project outside of WA’s resources sector has been a complex undertaking for Rowe Group subsidiary Proven Project Management.

Chris West (left) and Proven senior project manager Stephen Ralph are overseeing the Karrinyup build. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

AMP Capital ’s $800 million redevelopment of Karrinyup Shopping Centre has emerged as an interesting case study of the benefits of early engagement with architecture firms and construction contractors on major projects.

Proven Project Management, a subsidiary of town planning firm Rowe Group, was appointed in 2015 to manage the project on behalf of AMP Capital, which manages the centre for owner UniSuper.

Once complete in late 2021, Karrinyup will be the second-largest shopping centre in WA, at 109,000 square metres of gross lettable area, trailing only the recently redeveloped Westfield Carousel.

Additional facilities at Karrinyup include new supermarkets, large-format international retailers, an alfresco dining precinct and a new cinema, while the centre will also incorporate 134 apartments in its first stage, to be developed by Blackburne.

There has also been significant investment and emphasis on how the project will be accessed by public transport and other traffic, with increased bus routes and new dedicated bus lanes among the new infrastructure on offer.

Construction began in November last year and is expected to create around 2,500 jobs during the building phase, and another 2,500 permanent retail, support and management positions once the centre is complete.

Works by Rowe Group included facilitating the design process and planning approvals, as well as the procurement process to sign a construction contractor.

Proven director Greg Rowe told Business News it was without doubt the firm’s most important project since the subsidiary was established in 2016.

Mr Rowe said he considered the Karrinyup build to be the best demonstration of the state government’s vision under its Activity Centres policy, which replaced the former planning framework, Retail Centres policy in 2010.

“Retail is a big part of this, but there is so much else – it’s got food, beverage, entertainment, and it’s got civic and cultural aspects and high-density residential,” he said.

“It’s meant to be a true destination, but also a place where people can live.”

Proven senior project manager Chris West said early engagement with construction contractor Multiplex was necessary in order to integrate each component of the Karrinyup redevelopment and keep the centre operating during construction.

“It’s a very large, complex build in terms of how you maintain the operation of the existing centre, so the staging of it is quite complex,” Mr West said.

“It was useful having an early contractor involvement model in place, because it let us navigate that complexity with the person who was ultimately going to have to deliver it.

“The second benefit of the ECI was it allowed Multiplex to bring construction intelligence to the design process, in order to help AMP achieve its cost plan and get a competitive price for the scope of work they were after.

“Retail projects are quite difficult to get up in Perth, it’s a difficult retailing market, so there was a lot of work that was done to meet budget.

“That was part of the idea of the ECI, to have the builder involved to be able to do that, because we were working in such defined parameters.”

Mr Rowe said the ECI process was also crucial because there were several other large-scale shopping centre redevelopments in the planning pipeline at the time Proven was appointed to the job.

“There are only three tier-one builders in WA, and there were seven major centre projects, so it was crucial to lock them in early,” he said.

The design of the project was also a complex undertaking, Mr Rowe said, with most of the work undertaken through collaboration between architecture firms Hames Sharley  and Taylor Robinson Chaney Broderick.

“It’s a joint venture because we needed the skills that they had and the experience, but we also needed the grunt of a big architectural team,” he said.

“AMP also brought their own designers into it, and then they have an overarching peer review from a London architecture group called HOK.

“The design was pretty thorough, rigorous and quite contemporary. HOK was brought in for that really up-to-date, modern design thinking.”