BESIX Watpac First Anniversary
It’s one year since the official launch of a rebranded player in the Australian and New Zealand construction markets and already BESIX Watpac is proving its name change runs much deeper than a new logo.
Crafted from nearly four decades of Australian building history under the Watpac banner and more than a century of mega project experience from global parent company BESIX, the new BESIX Watpac has established itself as an engineering-led, multidisciplinary contractor with an appetite for complex projects.
Prior to the rebranding, Watpac had a strong reputation as a builder with expertise in hospitals and stadiums, but BESIX Watpac CEO, Jean-Pol Bouharmont set about broadening the new brand’s capability across sectors.
“I’m really happy that today BESIX Watpac is seen as an engineering-led, multi-disciplinary construction contractor that will partner with clients to add value by optimising their design, de-risking their projects and going the extra mile to deliver excellence,” Jean-Pol said.
Jean-Pol’s influence on the business has been profound due to his remarkable career with BESIX and a wide variety of major projects in the Middle East and Europe. These include the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, the remarkable Dubai Canal and its three iconic pedestrian bridges and one of the world’s most advanced hospitals, the Cleveland Clinic in Abu Dhabi.
Central to BESIX Watpac’s engineering focus was the development of its in-house engineering capability which is now an important hub in the global BESIX Engineering Department. With teams based in Brussels, Dubai and Brisbane, the 160 person-strong Engineering Department provides expertise across the board including design optimisation and delivery methodology.
This engineering focus, combined with the BESIX expertise in transport infrastructure, heavy industrial projects and marine infrastructure, has guided the BESIX Watpac strategic focus toward a range of sectors in which complexity is the key challenge. These include defence infrastructure, secure facilities and data centres, stadiums, hospitals and laboratories, transport facilities, marine projects and bridges, and complex commercial buildings.
This strategic shift has already delivered results with the Brisbane City Council recently awarding a BESIX Watpac-led team the contract to deliver the spectacular new Kangaroo Point Green Bridge in the heart of Brisbane.
“This is the first iconic bridge project for BESIX Watpac here in Australia and in a magnificent CBD location – it’s hard to imagine a better way to showcase that we are the contractor who can deliver these types of projects,” Jean-Pol said.
In a long list of recent project wins, Sydney Metro awarded BESIX Watpac the contract to deliver Barangaroo Station in the Sydney CBD, Christchurch City Council engaged the BESIX Watpac-led Kōtui team to deliver the Canterbury Multi-Use Arena and the company was appointed as Managing Contractor for the upgrade of the HMAS Cairns naval base. There are many other projects ongoing in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia and more prospects in the pipeline for which the company has been shortlisted.
Brisbane’s success in securing the 2032 Olympic Games will add to the growth potential for BESIX Watpac and plays to its strength in delivering stadiums and major venues. The company has already delivered most of the major stadiums in Queensland and it will be well placed to bid for the redevelopment of the legendary Gabba (Brisbane Cricket Ground).
BESIX Watpac has intimate knowledge of The Gabba having delivered the major redevelopment two decades ago and several upgrades since, including the refresh completed in time for the historic 2020 AFL Grand Final.
But the opportunities for Brisbane 2032 go beyond stadiums and venues. The Olympics will require significant upgrades to transport infrastructure, potentially including upgrades to passenger terminals at Brisbane Airport, all of which fall into BESIX Watpac’s capability sweet spot.
The constant pipeline of new health infrastructure across Australia will also continue to be a key focus as state governments face rising demand for health services and the need for new and more advanced hospitals in population growth centres.
“There is a deep and longstanding expertise within BESIX Watpac in hospitals and health related facilities and therefore this sector will continue to be a critical component of our long-term strategy,” Jean-Pol said.
He believes the key to success for the company’s strategic direction comes down to following its core values of Excellence, Co-Creation, Respect, Passion and Unity.
“A lot of companies talk about their values but in our case, they are central to our success. Observing them helps ensure we select the projects where we can partner with the client in the spirit of Co-Creation and apply our Passion and engineering expertise to add value and de-risk their project. Respect and Unity are central to our relationship with our client, our staff, subcontractors, and the community, and all of this comes together to achieve Excellence in safety, delivery and quality. That’s what success looks like to me,” Jean-Pol said.
BESIX Watpac is also committed to sharing its success with the community through an increasing focus on social procurement and Indigenous engagement. While all new projects come with an Indigenous engagement target and a strong emphasis on local procurement, there are plans to do more.
“To me this is all about respect and I know we can and will achieve more in these areas,” Jean-Pol said.
The BESIX Watpac brand has come a long way in just 12 short months and to have achieved its success despite the global pandemic has been quite exceptional.
Early next year, BESIX Watpac will move into its distinctive new Brisbane headquarters, a complex steel exoskeleton building it is delivering for developer, JGL Properties. It will be a striking new feature in Brisbane’s rejuvenated Fortitude Valley and a symbol of what BESIX Watpac brings to the market.
“This project is a landmark for the new BESIX Watpac because it’s complex, logistically challenging and engineering-led. I think our entire team across Australia and New Zealand should be very proud of where our brand stands today and I’m really excited about what we can achieve together over the next few years”.
On Friday, 29th of July BESIX Watpac hosted a Welcome to Country and Smoking Ceremony to bless the Kangaroo Point Green Bridge project site and Brisbane Connect team.