EOI for project open, with proviso

Expressions of Interest are now open for the design and construction tender of Strathnairn School in the ACT, but there’s one catch – the construction team must be all female and female-led.

Women currently count for less than 14% of the workforce in the construction industry and only 2.6% of construction workers in the ACT are, according to the 2016 Census. However, the territory government has its sights on increasing that to 10% in the coming years.

To improve gender equity, the ACT Government has mandated that the successful contractor for the Strathnairn School will have a 100% female site management team. It will also be a requirement for the project to have female participation in every trade involved in the build. It is part of an action plan by the ACT to ensure females join the construction industry.

“The ACT Government’s support of more inclusive hiring practices sends a message that construction does not need to be a gender-specific career,” it stated.

Located in Ginninderry (West Belconnen), the school is scheduled for completion in 2025 and will cater for more than 600 students. The $62.4 million project will go through a fair and competitive process despite the gender quota imposed, the Minister for Education/Minister for Women, Yvette Berry told Riotact website.

The territory government revealed members already on the project team include CK Architecture, Major Projects Canberra, Education – Infrastructure and Capital Works. NAWIC, the National Association of Women in Construction; and the Construction, Forestry, Maritime, Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) will also be involved.

Minister Berry said the aim is to increase the number of women working in construction by allowing women and young women to see what they could be doing one day, a sentiment echoed by Master Builders Association CEO, Michael Hopkins. MBA is currently working on an all-female-led house project in the same area.

“We commend the government on using its procurement power to demonstrate the role of women in the building industry because we know that young females need role models and to be able to see more experienced females working in the industry to attract them to it,” he said.

The school design and construction works tender (1299675) closes at 2pm on 25 August 2022.

Image: Members of the project team (L-R) Shoba from CK Architecture; Shobha from Major Projects Canberra; Amelia from Education – Infrastructure and Capital Works; and Gabby from CK Architecture.

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is the Editor of Concrete in Australia and at the helm of our magazine for 8 years. She was behind the Institute's weekly news bulletins from 2016-2021 and is now writing our focused news items. Desi has been an engineering news and features journalist/editor across all disciplines since 2013 - part of a 30-year career writing for a wide range of industries.