Western Sydney business leader David Borger launches the Centre for Smart Modern Construction (c4SMC)

Western Sydney University's Construction Management academic and research team hosted 100 leaders at the recent industry launch of the Centre for Smart Modern Construction. Western Sydney Business Chamber Director David Borger officiated. The event was testimony the growing engagement the Centre is having with industry.

David Borger said "If you want to be part of the Western Sydney construction economy over the next 20 years this is the time to invest in building the industry’s capabilities for a smart modern construction future. If you want to be part of contributing to building those capabilities engage with the Centre for Smart Modern Construction at Western Sydney University."

The Dean of the School Professor Simeon Simoff announced that the Centre had now funded two High Achiever Undergraduate Scholarships and four Research Scholarships to start in 2018. Professor Simoff announced that the University would contribute a further $160,000 to add to the Centre's $200,000 Research Scholarships, in addition to one already committed by the School for a collaborative study. He acknowledged the leadership that the Centre's research initiatives would bring to the industry.

The Centre's Director, Professor Srinath Perera acknowledged the support of the Centre's Foundation investors who along with recently pledged investments that have firmly cemented the Centre's ability to get on with all of its priorities. He said;

"The Centre for SMC is about industry and academic collaboration in order to build the capacity to face the challenges of being ready to deliver the multibillion dollar investment and development plan for Western Sydney (WS). WS is already the third largest economic region in Australia and will continue to grow and will become the Construction Hot Spot in whole of Australia. At WSU, we are determined to provide the construction work force that is future ready to embrace this development effort.

We want to ensure that the next 20-years of massive construction investment in Western Sydney and near regions leaves a sustainable legacy of Smart Construction Businesses.

We want to make the Centre for SMC the knowledge hub that binds WS industry and academia together. The government and universities have identified the need for Impactful research. The construction industry with 95% of its enterprises at Micro & SME levels is realising that change and progress cannot effectively be achieved without collaboration. And that is why Centre for SMC can be the hub for this collaboration.

Today, I would like to outline our planned contribution and how you can help. Our priority activities are:

  1. Establishment of new c4SMC undergraduate scholarships to be awarded to the best of our undergraduate students. These are meritorious scholarships.
  2. To invest in new areas of SMC knowledge enquiry and research. As part of this endeavour we are establishing a series of Doctoral Scholarships to pursue research in SMC areas.
  3. The Centre will support bringing overseas academic leaders in SMC, to Western Sydney University for 2 to 3 months each year to share their insights directly with our academic team and with our industry investors.
  4. The fourth initiative will be to enable 1 or 2 of our academics to visit SMC hot-spots in various places around the world each year to foster knowledge transfer and build global and local networks.
  5. And finally, one our most exciting initiatives is the establishment of a SmartBuild-Lab on our Kingswood campus where we will create a full-scale construction demonstration platform. This live construction laboratory will available for industry collaborators to demonstrate, test and further develop their construction products and systems and make those available for students and academics for both teaching and research. Our focus will be on applied industry capability building.

We can assure c4SMC investors that their funds will be strategically directed to each of these initiatives. They are all important. We will regularly report on progress.

We will be advocating for a more joined up construction conversation involving clients, industry, government and academia. We believe that a more joined up conversation will be fundamental to preparing our future constructors and their enterprises to thrive in the years ahead. Joining up Construction will be a theme of planned Industry Round Tables starting next year. These will occur 2 – 3 times annually and culminate in a major international conference every 2-years at Western Sydney University.

Professor Perera said, "We currently have the largest construction management undergraduate program in Australia with over 1400 students, 91% employment rates and 81% student satisfaction. Dr Mary Hardie and Assoc. Prof Swapan Saha take care of the programmes. We will graduate over 1500 modern constructors by 2025. Many of those graduates will work with or lead construction related enterprises in Western Sydney. It is our collective responsibility to ensure they are future ready."

We will be acknowledging our investors and engaging regularly. We will be looking to share their modern construction narratives on the Centre’s web site and showcasing the Centre activities. Please contact any of our team to know more and get involved.

Written by:
David Chandler OAM
Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University
18 December 2017