29 August 2011
Students get concrete experience
Two RMIT University students are using their classroom studies to contribute to the construction of the Swanston Academic Building.
Michael Buckthought and Calum Friend are combining studies with work as cadets on the Swanston Academic Building project.
The $200 million-plus building will provide a new home for RMIT's College of Business.
Michael Buckthought and Calum Friend are employed by Brookfield Multiplex as cadets on the project, which will provide 12 lecture theatres, 64 teaching spaces and 10 specialist learning venues over 12 levels, including the basement.
The men are juggling a 40-hour work week with the third year of their Bachelor of Applied Science studies in the School of Property, Construction and Project Management. Mr Buckthought specialises in Project Management and Mr Friend in Construction Management.
Both are excited to be involved in the construction of the innovative, $200 million-plus building, which will provide a new home for RMIT's College of Business.
Mr Friend said Brookfield Multiplex had given them real responsibility. "I look after quality assurance. Every morning, I have to account for sub-contractors on site in terms of emergency procedures and pay.
"I'm also handling the documentation on the defects system, making sure that any mistakes or damage are dealt with."
Mr Buckthought said he was responsible for coordinating with some of the tradespeople on site. "I have to ensure that sub-contractors have up-to-date documentation."
Both students said having the chance to do work integrated learning enriched their studies.
Mr Buckthought said: "It's a great way to expand how you learn at university. Things that didn't make complete sense in the classroom really come to life on site."
And having the chance to work the Swanston Academic Building was the icing on the cake.
The building has cantilevered, double-height student portals for study and recreation that overhang Swanston Street and an innovative mix of teaching and office space on all levels. The façade will feature double glazing and sunshades.
"The building is typical RMIT," Mr Buckthought said. "It's anything but bland and will really add to the streetscape.
"If you're working on blocks of flats, it's the same design from level 1 to level 54. But not here - this building varies from floor to floor."
Mr Friend said it was the most complex construction job in Melbourne at the moment. "It's exposing us to different construction methods and trades."
RMIT's approach to education emphasised professional skills, he said. "The whole program is designed around you working at the same time.
"It's a professional course - you're being trained to get a job and succeed."
Andrew Walter, Assistant Project Manager, Construction and Development, with Brookfield Multiplex, said the students were fortunate to work on an exciting project.
"Their enthusiasm and practical approach to building has assisted their integration from studying at RMIT, to working with Brookfield Multiplex.
"Both demonstrate sound knowledge of construction from their university study and they are helping in administering trades packages and overall management systems."