Engineers Australia held virtual events for the Australian Engineering Excellence Awards (AEEA) for 2020. Infrastructure projects dominated the awards - unsurprising given the array of major projects continuing or wrapping up around the country. 

The winners list includes the likes of the Sydney Metro, Canberra Light Rail, Albion Park Bypass and Newcastle Light Rail but also includes construction innovations such as University of Wollongong’s Desert Rose House and self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs) developed by Gateway South (Fulton Hogan-Laing O’Rourke Joint Venture) for the Darlington Upgrade in South Australia.

International design firm, Aurecon, dominated the winners list taking home five awards whilst Surbana Jurong-owned, SMEC, had a hand in three winning submissions and WSP received two.

Aurecon were recognised for several groundbreaking projects they have been involved with. Here’s their list of wins:

  • Project Gilghi, an Australian-first solar-powered packaged water treatment plant at the Gillen Bore outstation approximately 75 km from Alice Springs.
  • 25 King, Australia’s tallest engineered timber building.
  • Hornsdale Power Reserve, the world’s biggest energy storage project Hornsdale Power Reserve.
  • Woodside Building for Technology and Design, Monash University’s new, landmark building representing the latest thinking in tertiary education and world-leading energy efficient building design that is on target to achieve world-leading Passive House certification.
  • Victoria’s Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal project which saw the removal of nine of the most dangerous and congested level crossings on one of Melbourne’s busiest rail lines.

Aurecon CEO, William Cox, said he was delighted to see so many of Aurecon’s projects receiving such prestigious recognition: “These achievements are testament to Aurecon’s culture of innovation, eminence and excellence and the talented people bringing these projects to life with our clients.”

SMEC also had a successful haul, taking home awards for the following:

  • Albion Park Rail Bypass, a 9.8 kilometre, four-lane divided highway extension of the M1 Princes Motorway between Yallah and Oak Flats in New South Wales which includes 13 new bridges.
  • Sydney Metro Northwest Stations, which included the detailed design for eight new metro stations, including three underground stations, three open-cut suburban stations and two elevated stations. It was also responsible for train stabling maintenance facilities, 36 kilometres of new metro track, overhead power systems and precinct civil works and car parks.
  • InQuik Bridging System, an Australian developed, semi-modular 'tray-and-pour' solution for rapid installation of bridges.

SMEC CEO, James Phillis, said: “Our teams work hard to deliver industry-best projects, through a combination of teamwork, innovation, and technical excellence. We’re fortunate to have the opportunity to continue to support our clients on exceptional infrastructure projects..”

On the contractor side, CPB Contractors won 3 awards, whilst Fulton Hogan, Lendlease and John Holland all took home 2 each.

Sir William Hudson Award finalists and state Engineer of the Year winners progress to the national Pinnacle Awards Ceremony on Monday 9 November.

Here’s some of the construction-related winners. To see the full list of AEEA and Engineers of the Year winners, visit the Engineers Australia website here.


Sydney Metro Northwest Stations (Sir William Hudson Award finalist) - Mott MacDonald, SMEC & KBR

Eight new metro stations, including three underground, three open-cut and two elevated stations, train stabling maintenance facilities, 36 kilometres of new metro track, overhead power systems, precinct civil works and car parks.

Albion Park Rail Bypass - SMEC & Fulton Hogan

A 9.8 kilometre, 13-bridge, four-lane divided highway extension of the M1 Princes Motorway between Yallah and Oak Flats in New South Wales.

Shell House - Taylor Thomson Whitting (TTW)

One of the tallest retained heritage facade in the world standing at 65.5 metres at the former Sydney headquarters of Shell Oil Company. Read our feature on Shell House here.

Sydney Metro Northwest – Operations, Trains and Systems (OTS) - Northwest Rapid Transit (CPB Contractors, John Holland Group, MTR Corporation & UGL Limited)

The design, construction and commissioning of Sydney Metro's northwest line rail infrastructure, a train facility, and all associated track, overhead wire structures and combined services routes, procurement of rolling stock, operation and maintenance, and financing.

Desert Rose House - University of Wollongong

A smart, energy efficient, and net zero house designed for the elderly and dementia sufferers by University of Wollongong which came in second place in the Middle East Solar Decathlon in Dubai.

Yandhai Nepean River Crossing - Transport for NSW, BG&E & Seymour Whyte Constructions

A 284 m triangular steel Warren truss pedestrian bridge linking Emu Plains and Penrith with curved steel-concrete composite box approach spans. It is one of the longest single clear span footbridges in Australia and includes viewing platforms and balconies along the structure.

Image: Glenn Ling


Project Gilghi (Sir William Hudson Award Finalist) -Aurecon, Ampcontrol

Project Gilghi is a solar-powered, self-sufficient, containerised plantwater filtration system that takes feed water from a range of sources, including bores, streams, brackish and saltwater, where it’s stored in an inlet tank before it passes through three stages of treatment.

The Newcastle Light Rail Project - Downer

The 2.7km Newcastle Light Rail connects Newcastle Interchange with Newcastle Beach, and is the first in Australasia to be “catenary-free” – without the overhead wires that many light rail systems employ for traction power along the entire route.


The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Project - The Caulfield to Dandenong Level Crossing Removal Alliance (Lendlease, CPB Contractors, Aurecon, WSP, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP))

A $1.6 billion project removing nine dangerous and congested level crossings by using an elevated rail design along Melbourne's Pakenham Line between Caulfield and Dandenong stations. The project also includes the construction of five new stations.

271 Spring Street, Melbourne - Arup

Sitting above both tunnels of the Melbourne Underground Rail Loop, atop archeologically significant land and sandwiched by two heritage listed buildings requiring challenging facade set-backs, 271 Spring St is a benchmark example of balancing the needs of commercial developers with heritage preservation.

Burwood Brickworks Shopping Centre - Spencer Group Engineering Pty Ltd

Dubbed the world's most sustainable shopping centre, Burwood Brickworks shopping centre is the first urban agriculture project in a shopping centre environment in Australia including a 2,000m2 rooftop farm. It achieved certification under the Living Building Challenge, requiring a building to produce 105% of its operational energy, dedicate 20% of the site to agricultural use, and have a net-zero carbon footprint.

Southern Program Alliance – Initial Works Package - Southern Program Alliance: Lendlease, Acciona Coleman Rail, WSP, Metro Trains Melbourne (MTM) and the Level Crossing Removal Project (LXRP)

The Southern Program Alliance (SPA) is removing four level crossings on the Frankston line, building a new road bridge across the Patterson River, removing the Carrum train storage facility, rebuilding Carrum Station and revitalising Seaford and Carrum.

The Woodside Building for Technology and Design - Aurecon

The Woodside Building for Technology and Design is one of the most efficient and innovative teaching buildings in Australia and the largest Passive House project in the Southern Hemisphere.


25 King - Aurecon

Australia's tallest engineered timber building standing at 45 metres high or 10-storeys. The commercial office complex, located in Brisbane and designed by Bates Smart, draws inspiration from the renowned timber Queenslander home. It was constructed in just 15 months using 100% responsibly sourced European Spruce.

Watch our feature video on Australia's top 5 engineered timber buildings here.

Cairns Shipping Development Project - Ports North

A $120 million upgrades at the Port of Cairns to improve access for larger ships, including cruise ships including dredging to widen and deepen the existing outer shipping channel and the upgrade of the existing heritage cruise shipping wharves.

Cedar Grove Environmental Centre - Logan Water

Australia's first sewage-to-energy project, turning sewage sludge (biosolids) into heat energy and biochar, which improves and maintains soil fertility.


The InQuik Bridge System (Sir William Hudson Award Finalist) - SMEC, InQuik Bridging Systems

A semi-modular solution for rapid and inexpensive construction of regional bridges, particularly for disaster relief. Read our feature on the InQuik bridging system here.

Canberra Light Rail - Canberra Metro (Pacific Partnerships, CPB Contractors, John Holland Group, UGL, Mitsubishi Corporation, Aberdeen Infrastructure Investments, DB Engineering & Consulting, CAF and Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Ltd)

Stage one of Canberra's lighrail includes twelve-kilometre route with 13 stops that connects the northern area of Gungahlin to Canberra’s City centre.

Western Australia

EZONE – University of Western Australia - Pritchard Francis Consulting Pty Ltd, The University of Western Australia

A world-class learning space for engineering and mathematical science students at the University of Western Australia.

Kalbarri Skywalk Structures, Kalbarri National Park - Terpkos Engineering

Two 100m-high skywalks which cantilever out 25m and 17m beyond the rim of the Murchison River Gorge at one of its highest points.

South Australia

Darlington Upgrade Project – Bridge Construction Innovation - Gateway South

Using self-propelled modular transporters (SPMTs), the 180 m bridge was constructed off-site and manoeuvred into position, the largest segment weighing 90 tonnes and measuring approximately 40 metres long.

GPO Exchange - Meld Strategies

Adelaide’s smartest commercial office building comprising a state-of-the-art integrated remote operations centre. The 20-storey tower was integrated with the heritage Telephone Exchange Building.


Port of Burnie Post-Panamax Container Crane Demolition - Tasmanian Ports Corporation, BridgePro Engineering

The 680-tonne, 90 m crane at the Port of Burnie has been a feature of Burnie’s skyline since it was installed in February 1994 and was the first and largest of its kind to be built in Australia at the time. It underwent a controlled collapse in November 2019.

UTAS Stadium – Field of Play Reconstruction - Hazell Bros

The first upgrade to UTAS Stadium’s field in 20 years which included excavation of the existing surface, sub-grade stabilisation, a new sub-surface draining system, a new automatic irrigation system and a purpose-designed fence to complement the LED perimeter signs.