40 Years of RBG: Expanding our Presence in Melbourne in 1999

In 1999, RBG expanded into Melbourne while working on the Melbourne Docklands, one of Australia’s largest urban renewal projects. RBG provided structural and civil engineering services for some notable residential and commercial projects in the Docklands area including New Quay, Victoria Harbour, NAB HQ, Victoria Point, and Yarra’s Edge. The scale of these projects and RBG’s expanding presence in the southern state was more than enough to warrant a local office setup on Collins Street which grew to a small team of 9 staff by 2002.

In 2004 RBG was appointed as Civil Engineer for the Royal Melbourne Showgrounds redevelopment which saw the establishment of a Civil Engineering team in Melbourne. The office grew in numbers from strength to strength over the next 3 – 4 years to a staff of approximately 55 including the establishment of our Construction Engineering Division. In 2007 – 2008 the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) significantly impacted the construction industry, slowing business expansion and calling for a redirection of focus on new business opportunities. To continue the growth journey, RBG looked to government stimulus work, including schools and housing. The residential apartment market grew rapidly following the GFC with significant international investment mainly from Asia and the birth of super-tall towers in Melbourne. From 2010 to 2019 tall-tower projects were a core part of the Melbourne portfolio, resulting in the completion of several notable projects, including Australia 108, the tallest residential tower in the Southern Hemisphere in addition to Victoria One and EQ Tower to name a few. Notable projects in the retail sector included Emporium, Myer, David Jones, Chadstone, Knox and The Glen. The Sporting Sector was also growing with key involvement in projects like AAMI Park and Rod Laver Arena. To accommodate business growth and future expansion, the Melbourne team relocated from 500 to 727 Collins Street in 2018. By 2019, the Melbourne office consisted of a team of approximately 130.

From 2012, Construction Engineering became a vital part of RBG’s sector diversification strategy, which facilitated RBG’s entry into the infrastructure market via a specialist team of temporary works engineers. The proven track record of Construction Engineering in the building, sporting, and recreational sectors facilitated the construction of the MCG, AAMI Stadium, and Wheel Repair to name a few. During this period, the Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) team became an instrumental part of RBG’s growth locally and around the globe. The specialist divisions complement the RBG service offering from our well-established Building Group Team in the Melbourne market which continues to deliver world class projects.

New project wins in infrastructure and renewable energy have been a welcome addition to Melbourne’s more recent growth. Today, the team is looking forward to the delivery of NELP, one of their largest infrastructure projects to date.

Image 2 – Robert Bird, Founder and Executive Chairman of RBG, dove under the docks to investigate the existing piles of the wharf structures at Melbourne Docklands.