Built, ready to help secure Australia

'The Australian' on Tuesday 28 May​,
By Rupe Hoskin AM

As Australia faces one of the most complex and challenging strategic environments since World War II, now is the time for a collaborative approach to deliver the infrastructure that is critical for military preparedness.

The National Defence Strategy provides a compelling description of Australia’s most significant strategic risks, the ADF’s tasks, and the priorities and funding required to fulfil them. These lead to a substantial infrastructure pipeline, including $14-18bn on northern bases plus other infrastructure spread throughout the Integrated Investment Plan.

For an Australian-owned and locally grown company like Built, this is an especially valued opportunity to serve Australia. As well as the undoubted commercial opportunities, it is a welcome chance to play a significant role in maintaining our sovereignty, prosperity and way of life. Securing Australia and its national interests is a team effort, and we applaud the ongoing drive to establish defence industry as a Fundamental Input to Capability.

This is where we need to take a collaborative approach with Defence, to optimise delivery and tackle the monumental challenge ahead.

On the Government and Defence side, we are seeing substantial moves being made to facilitate this, including Ministerial-level drive to enhance partnering with contractors, willingness to lean into risks and manage them together, continued enhancement of panel arrangements, additional commercial and technical expertise in-house to enhance procurement capability, efforts to broaden the number of companies involved in Defence infrastructure work, reduced emphasis on prior Defence experience in tender evaluations, and greater clarity of upcoming opportunities in a way that allows industry to plan, posture, and invest.

In our turn, as industry partners, we need to match this spirit by bringing our best game. Fundamentally, we must reliably deliver Defence’s needs at speed and scale, bringing industry best-practice in a way that provides value for money. A vigilant eye on Minimum Viable Capability will be essential, as will careful attention to resilience and adaptability. Built is inspired by what companies like ours achieved in previous eras, for example the extraordinary innovation and productivity that was mobilised by the US and allies such as Australia during World War II.

We see abundant potential to harness technology and practices that have been highly successful in other sectors. For example, Built’s continued advancement of digital first construction including the use of digital engineering (DE) ensures greater supply chain visibility, optimised delivery programmes, and reduced delivery risk.

For Defence, DE can also be used to model options and optimise capability outcomes early in project development, then adapt them as requirements evolve. Modern Methods of Construction can be harnessed for remote projects, by maximising the work that can be done “down South” in transportable modular components. Similarly, digital collaboration tools can be used to optimise on-site presence, with remote support provided from elsewhere, thereby maximising the utility of a scarce and dispersed workforce.
Built is ready to help deliver the infrastructure Defence needs to secure our future.


Rupe Hoskin AM

Rupe Hoskin AM is a Strategic Defence Advisor for Built and co-founder of strategy and leadership consultancy Balance Partners. He is a former Brigadier, with diverse experience including multiple deployments, military engineering, diplomacy, Defence Adviser to a Parliamentary Committee, and in private industry.

This opinion editorial was first published in The Australian on Tuesday 28 May.

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