Gavin Cotterill

International digital consulting firm Professional Construction Strategies Group is ramping up its Australian presence, appointing Gavin Cotterill to head up a new Melbourne office and drive business growth across the Asia Pacific region.

Mr Cotterill most recently worked for Aurecon, as leader of the company’s Melbourne-based digital advisory service. Prior to that he had been with AECOM for six years in both the Sydney and Melbourne offices, where he worked on establishing a technology strategy, including CAD, BIM and GIS, for major infrastructure projects.

Mr Cotterill said the firm’s Melbourne office would offer services including Smart Cities advisory, information management, digital economy advisory, and the use of BIM in digital building approaches for infrastructure projects.

The company is looking to work with state and federal governments, and also the private sector, Mr Cotterill said.

“The need to realise increased productivity and global competitiveness is a huge driver for the adoption of digital solutions in infrastructure across the [Asia Pacific] region,” Mr Cotterill said.

“But there isn’t necessarily an obvious correlation for clients in relation to these outcomes and the adoption of a digital and future-proof approach.

“There is still a lot of misconceptions and uncertainty around how to approach BIM and in fact in relation to understanding the subject itself. Confidence, clear guidance and appreciation of the need for investment in digital strategies by infrastructure owners is necessary to truly maximise the value of this new approach.”

Infrastructure sectors the business is targeting include road, rail, airports, water and energy. It is also looking at the smart grid and smart cities sectors as growth areas.

“Energy is an area of huge opportunities with smart grids,” Mr Cotterill said.

In the smart cities realm, there is an opportunity to draw on work the company has done in the UK, where chairman Mark Bew has led the development and implementation of the UK Government BIM strategy and led the Digital Built Britain programme for BIM, GIS and Smart Cities.

Mr Cotterill said there was an opportunity in Australia for the firm to bring cities a digital information model that gives a “helicopter view” of how the city is procuring data around waste management, pedestrian flows, pollution and traffic, for example.

It brings together BIM, GIS and the Internet of Things, he said, in a “bottom-up” approach.

Sustainability is one of the major drivers from the smart cities perspective, Mr Cotterill said.

The UK company currently offers a wide range of sustainability consulting services, and the Australian arm will be looking to bring over “appropriate resources” from the UK to boost its capacity in this arena.

The company will also be looking to partner up with other firms and build up its internal capacity, Mr Cotterill said.

He expects the company will be hiring between 10 and 15 people over the next 12 months in Australia, predominately for the new Melbourne operation and the existing Sydney office. A third existing office in Brisbane has been focused on the bidding component of the company’s services.

“…there is a lot of good practice coming from the UK across the digital information modelling sector, but this is not simply about replicating UK experiences,” Mr Cotterill said.

“The scale and complexity of challenges facing infrastructure asset owners and operators in Australia and South East Asia is very different and so requires a very geographically and culturally different approach to the solution.

“While this new PCSG business will be able to draw on the best talents and knowledge in the sector from around the world, it will maintain focus on offering locally relevant solutions.”