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‘Fast Five’ with Kieron Hewitt – General Manager, Project Management

Kieron recently joined MacroPlan in the role of General Manager – Project Management.  Kieron has extensive experience delivering commercial construction and refurbishment projects from 1,000sqm – 50,000sqm for both public and private clients, throughout Australia.

Kieron has lead successful tender bids, consultant and construction teams on multiple highly technical multimillion dollar commercial projects.

Ranked amongst Australia’s top 30 under 30 by the Property Council of Australia, Kieron is a highly valued Project Manager who is well versed in managing a diverse customer base, exceeding client expectations in a changing environment and meeting financial and business delivery targets and deadlines.

What are some of the biggest challenges facing our industry at the moment?

Affordable housing options– House prices are growing at a faster rate than wages, driven by a lack of supply in key CBD areas. This, coupled with predicted high levels of population growth means it is becoming even more difficult to purchase a family home. For many people the dream of owning their own property is becoming unachievable, compelling them to consider renting as a long term option.

We should be embracing the new asset class of build to rent. To provide affordable rental housing at scale, we need a viable build-to-rent sector to deliver more dwellings, and diversify the housing options in the areas people want to live.

These purpose-built high-density premises provide a superior experience for the occupant. Some of the recently completed build to rent developments in the UK include a concierge, gymnasium and professional management arrangement. In addition, they provide longer term rent options where people can really settle in to their home knowing the landlord is not going to kick them out when they sell the property.

Does it really matter if your residential landlord is a mum and dad investor or a private entity? To unlock key growth sites in CBD’s, significant private capital is a necessity if we are to provide alternate accommodation options for families.

 

What upcoming major development do you think will have the greatest impact on Melbourne as a city?

In the short term, the Melbourne Metro will completely transform the way commuters navigate the CBD. This will hopefully reduce commuter congestion and further improve our extensive public transport system.

However, in the longer term the proposed South-East Melbourne Airport will unlock the area to the south-east towards Pakenham. It will open the area to the Asian export market, domestic travel and hopefully international tourism. This multi-billion dollar strategic planning concept sets the Victorian economy up for the next 50 years.

Finally, when a taxi from Tullamarine to my home in Elwood costs $85.00 (almost as much as the one-way flight to Adelaide), the most obvious piece of infrastructure for Victoria must be the train to Tullamarine Airport – currently on hold until 2035! If Melbourne wants to pitch itself as a truly international city, we must build the airport into our train network to allow people to get into the city as quickly and cheaply as possible.

 

Who are you backing to win the AFL and NRL Grand Finals this weekend?

AFL Grand Final I’m backing the tiger faithful. Look for Brownlow Medalist, Dusty Martin to kick 3 with 25+ touches from full forward. Will the Norm Smith medal hang from the neck of a Rioli again?

After keeping the Broncos scoreless on the weekend, Melbourne Storm should have it over the Cowboys.

 

How has technology impacted the evolution of project management?

Construction and project management were mobile long before technology came along. Project management and team collaboration are no longer limited to emails or sharing platforms such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Recent developments in technology have opened doors for mobile applications that promise smoother operations, increased efficiencies, and an improved overall collaborative experience.

Nowadays we set up a SharePoint site for every project to collaborate with the wider consultancy team, we manage project documentation, communication and financials via Acconnex or ProCore, tender projects through online portals, sign in and manage safety on construction sites using apps such as Sign on Site and manage project expenses using expensify – all automated by our mobile devices.

Early adopters of construction technology are reaping the benefits of time efficiencies with immediate field to office communication, leading to real time visibility of every project and reduced administrative support costs and contractor errors. Essentially, we’re doing more, with less.

 

Melbourne has once again been named the world’s most liveable city by The Economist, from an infrastructure and property perspective, what is Melbourne doing better than the rest of Australia’s Capital Cities?

Melbourne is fortunate enough to have significant parcels of relatively flat land to the south east and south west to expand into. Flat land makes infrastructure and property easier to construct. This also makes it easier for people to get in and out of the city and keeps house prices relatively affordable.

Moving from Sydney to Melbourne one of the main differences I noticed was that Melbournians use their CBD on the weekends. Its probably due to our love of sport and that our sporting venues occupy prime real estate integrated with the CBD. The other capital cities could learn a thing or two about the free tram zone in the CBD too.

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