The recently opened Southern Seawater Desalination Integration Project was the big (overall, infrastructure and building, management of engineering) winner at the 2011 WA Engineering Excellence Awards in Perth on Saturday September 17. The $955 million project is the largest integration project ever undertaken by the Water Corporation. It is a technically complex undertaking that was delivered on budget and ahead of schedule and its success is regarded as crucial to the future sustainability of Western Australia. The project involved constructing a large-scale desalination plant and ocean inlet and outlet pipelines on the coast about 30 kilometres north of Bunbury, as well as major works to bring the new supply into the existing distribution system. GFWA undertook the construction of the diaphragm walls and carried out the piling works in this project. Gary Webley had earlier won the Young Engineers and 9th Baden Clegg Award on 13 June 2010 for the same project, and has more recently published a paper about the project titled “Case History: Southern Seawater Desalination Plant Diaphragm Wall Construction” in the December 2010 issue of Australian Geomechanics.
State Theatre Centre of Western Australia, previously the winner of Master Builder’s Best State Government Building 2011 Award, also won this year’s Western Australia Engineering Excellence Award for Small Company Projects. Large portions of the Centre were submerged below the water table to reduce the building footprint and height impact on adjoining low-rise heritage buildings. GFWA carried out the diaphragm walls, CFA piles and anchors of this prestigious project.