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Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) building at dusk Outdoor seating area of the Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) building The entrance of the Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) building

Healthy direction for medical learning

Positioned in the heart of Adelaide’s biomedical precinct, the new Adelaide Health and Medical Sciences (AHMS) building is transforming the way students learn and preparing the next generation of health leaders for professional practice.

Mott MacDonald has provided excellent project management support for the AHMS in unusually challenging circumstances.

Roger Parolin

Associate Director Strategic and Major Projects, The University of Adelaide.

The AUD$246M project represents the largest capital infrastructure investment in the University of Adelaide’s 143-year history and was supported by the Australian Government.


Health and medical sciences students, researchers and lecturers at Adelaide University work closely with members of the Royal Adelaide Hospital – sharing skills, knowledge and resources. When the hospital had to move to a brand-new facility, it was essential to co-locate the University’s health and medical sciences building with it to maintain and enhance collaboration. This has helped to cement the University’s position as a world-leading education and research organisation attracting international students.

The new facility incorporates state-of-the-art simulation suites and advanced technology to facilitate an integrated, immersive learning environment where students can learn together.

Originally designed as a six-level building, the project grew to 14 levels, including a dental hospital and dental school, presenting program challenges. The AHMS is located on a constrained site on one of the city’s main arterial roadways, with underground rail easements adding to access and design challenges.


The project management team was a collaboration between us and the University’s Strategic and Major Projects portfolio. Collaboratively we developed a suitable delivery methodology considering risk allocation, time, cost certainty, quality, project complexity, governance and safety.

We implemented a design and construct approach in recognition of the fixed completion date, early cost certainty and need to maintain control of the briefing and stakeholder engagement process.

Early contractor involvement was introduced to assist development of a building methodology that considered design process, buildability issues, value for money alternatives and efficient trade subcontractor procurement. This resulted in an innovative time management process, which ultimately reduced programme and project duration by enabling design and construction activities to occur concurrently.

The change in scope added significant costs and increased the programme duration by nine weeks, requiring the project team to introduce innovative building and cost management methodologies to mitigate further program extensions. The implementation of a stringent change management process that enabled the early identification of proposed changes, a detailed review and analysis of these changes against cost and program inclusive of client review and approval proved to be very beneficial. Additionally, we developed a progress tracking tool to enable project monitoring, in particular, against critical path activities resulting in rapid response to concerns.


After an incredible four-year journey, the AHMS was opened in February 2017 – on time and on budget. Bringing together more than 1600 students and 600 researchers in an innovative environment, it is already providing the space for better health solutions to be created which will ultimately lead to better health outcomes in the future.

Mott MacDonald has provided excellent project management support for the AHMS in unusually challenging circumstances. The delivery of an exceptionally significant building on time and on budget given the significant scope, access, design and value management and other challenges is a testament to everyone who worked on the project in general and the talented and hardworking Mott MacDonald team in particular.

Roger Parolin

Associate Director Strategic and Major Projects, The University of Adelaide.

Awards won:

Australian Institute of Project Management’s 2017 Construction/Engineering South Australia Award

Australian Institute of Project Management’s 2017 Construction/Engineering National Project Management Achievement Award

2017 Asia Pacific Federation of Project Management Award – Construction/Engineering

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