WA Update: Infrastructure & Buildings 2021

about 1 month ago by Tiana Andreello

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SPOTLIGHT ON RAIL

As the 2020/21 financial year ends and we write our update, the last of the track slabs are being laid on the much-anticipated Forrestfield Airport Link.  This keystone project on the Metronet program is heading into completion of testing and commissioning period with a big push to hit their reviewed target for December 2021. Other projects ending in the coming months include the Freight facility at Kenwick and the Claremont Station, making room for the start of the PTA’s 10-year program to update their Signalling systems to high capacity. 

With the Engineering hubs still full steam ahead on the Morley, Ellenbrook and the Swan River Crossing, we eagerly await the tender awarding in the next month for the Midland Station and the LXR.

With all this work we have a shortage of the technical skills required to deliver these projects. Expertise within track, bridge design, and OLE are the main pressure points but with HCS gearing up, we expect the same issue with Signalling this coming year. 
 

SPOTLIGHT ON ROADS

Another hot area in the WA market is Roads - Critical infrastructure and road/highways projects currently in the stages of design and delivery.  Major improvements, new bypasses, and technology upgrade projects in the Metropolitan region and also regional development is a focal point for the WA state government.

The Mitchell Freeway extension and the south-bound widening are also under construction this year bolstering the need for boots on the ground.  Looking down the pipeline, we have the planning stages for Great Eastern Highway realignment, extension for Tonkin Highway, upgrades to Great Eastern Highway Bypass, Red Dog Highway, Thomas & Nicholson Roads, as well as Kelvin, Welshpool & Hale Roads.  The list goes on...

A new project that is set to get a lot of hype will be the Causeway Pedestrian and Cyclist Bridge.  The last pedestrian bridge Perth delivered was reported to be $16m over budget and more than 12 months delayed.  That was of course the Matagarup Bridge which links pedestrians from East Perth to Optus Stadium.  Fingers crossed for a smoother journey for the Causeway.

Shortages being seen lie in the need for MRWA knowledge and fluency of standards but the pool of local candidates is becoming dry.  Titan has been successfully bringing Australian citizens and PR holders home - specifically for Drainage Engineers and Bridge Engineers. Although, there is still a need for Australian experience for Highways design. We continue to source these gems for the current and upcoming needs. 

SPOTLIGHT ON BUILDINGS

Buildings have been quieter in recent years but over the last 6 months, we have seen an increase in roles being released.  Not in the way of major projects but in improved sentiment and investment in key team members.  Confidence and pipeline of work all seem on the up.  Smaller companies that have really chipped away at the market are providing quality work which has resulted in substantial growth as they take the “quieter achievers” approach. Building services, particularly with some of the larger consultancies are reaching out to Titan for specialist skills in Fire Systems, CFD, Hydraulics and Security. 
 
 

SKILLS SHORT MARKET

The current busy market and skills shortage is seeing experienced candidates being spoilt for choice!  They have many opportunities presented at once, often competing with higher salaries, and drastic counteroffers presented in the final stages. Candidates have never been in a better position for opportunities in the WA market, however some employers are nervous around retention of staff and the need to increase capability for upcoming projects. Companies are acting swiftly when candidates are on the market to ensure that they do not miss out.

EFFECTS OF COVID-19

Travel restrictions due to COVID further intensify the pressures on a market that is already tight, especially with companies unable to look to the East coast due to lockdowns, travel restrictions, etc. Additional costs are worn with the price of flights and the required quarantines. For offshore candidates with no working rights, sponsorships are still being processed but are doing so slowly with an estimated approvals time of around 9 months. Sponsorships need to be viewed as long-term plans rather than immediate support.

If you would like more information on the market around salary benchmarking, skill shortages, or project information, please let us know and we would be happy to provide further insights over a coffee/virtual coffee over the coming month.

Please call Suzi Johnson on (08) 6467 0607 or any of the Titan team.