Illawarra businesses heard about the many opportunities coming up at the University of Wollongong at an industry breakfast on Friday.
The Illawarra Innovative Industry Network (i3net) event at The Grange Golf Club included a presentation from UOW Facilities Management director John Dardano’s who said the university is preparing to undertake a substantial program of works and was interested to hear from any local business interested in being involved.
Major projects include the Molecular Horizons: Molecular Life Sciences Building and the Social Sciences and Law, Humanities and Arts (Western) Building. But there are a range of other opportunities such as building refurbishment, office accommodation projects and informal learning upgrades.
Mr Dardano said other special projects included power, building services and solar and LED upgrades. There will also be service and maintenance contract renewals for cleaning, security, fire, waste, electrical and building maintenance. He said UOW is keen to engage local industry and encouraged i3net members to register their interest.
“I want us to get out in the community and engage with industry on a much larger level than has been done previously. For 2018 we have two major projects out to the market right now. With the MLS and Western Building we have just completed an EOI process,” he said.
With that each large builder tendering is being asked to show the the university how it is going to use local suppliers, manufacturers and tradesmen to deliver the job. On such large building projects up to 80 per cent of the work can be fed down the line and Mr Dardano said UOW’s preference was for that money to stay in the region. He said many other projects are being driven in part by changes in the way teaching is now done. And there is whole range of maintenance and service work from cleaning to security going to be tender in 2018.
“We are going through a very large change. We are basically tendering every maintenance and operations service and we are going to be tendering our major projects. We are going to ask who wants to come and work for us,” he said.
The Molecular Horizons: Molecular Life Sciences Building is a medical research facility that will house one of the largest microscopes in the Southern Hemisphere. It will enable research into a whole new field of medicine that may help find cures for conditions such cancer and alzheimer's. “It is a very specialised piece of equipment and this project is due to commence early next year”.
The Western building will boast new performance and music spaces and recording studios. And next generation teaching spaces with the latest technology for informal learning spaces that encourages students to work together and learn together. Builders and service providers have been invited to submit expressions of interest which the university is using to develop a shortlist based on experience and capability.
Businesses interested in tendering for work were encouraged to demonstrate a willingness to engage with local contractors and suppliers to deliver the projects.
The university’s industry engagement process involves it undertaking a Registrations of Interest (ROI’s) where proposals are submitted via Industry Capability Network (ICN).
“In early 2018 we are going to be approaching people from appropriate industries saying “are you interested in being part of this work and if you are direct your registrations through ICN,” Mr Dardano said.
A breakfast is being planned in February where a shortlist of components for particular projects will be identified. Those tendering will then be told “here is the local market..show us how you are going to engage with them”.
“Our plan is to have this registration/registry process in January and hold this industry breakfast around the 6th of February,” Mr Dardano said.
“A lot of the procurement I am talking about is going to be occurring in early 2018. So we went to get out in the market and know who is available. We hope it will give those who haven’t had an opportunity in the past the opportunity to come and work for us”.