Aurecon ranked a top professional services company in Australasia’s Most Innovative Companies list

AFR Most Innovative Companies 2021 - Aurecon

The 2021 ranking means Aurecon appears in the prestigious innovation list for the fifth year running.

18 October 2021 – International design, engineering and advisory company Aurecon ranked #3 in The Australian Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies 2021 list for professional services businesses. The 2021 ranking places Aurecon in the prestigious innovation list for the fifth year running.

This year’s entry, ‘The A-Bridge’, highlights how we are using innovation to address the problem of replacing bridges, connecting communities and creating a better future. This is timely against the current needs for resilience and community safety. 

Aurecon CEO, William Cox, said, “This award confirms that innovation is in Aurecon’s DNA. Last year, was a remarkable year when we were named the most innovative company overall and led the rankings for professional services businesses and for social impact for the award-winning Project Gilghi. This year, we’ve cracked a major issue plaguing Australia’s rural communities. It’s another example of Aurecon rapidly responding to community needs, using innovation to solve a wicked problem with a scalable solution.”

“Our ability to innovate, that is to convert unique ideas into new products and services, will enable us to create a more sustainable future for our communities and a broader and more diverse economy. The Aurecon A-Bridge and Project Gilghi are two examples of this thinking in action,” adds Cox.

Co-creating resilience

The A-Bridge innovation addresses a wicked problem, as replacing aging bridges is problematic – even if adequate funding is available. 

“A local council client told us that what keeps them awake at night is that the heaviest vehicle going across a timber bridge each day is the school bus,” explains Aurecon’s Group Managing Principal, Eminence, Digital & Innovation, Dr Andrew Maher.

“As innovators, we need to be open to the logic of what might be – not what is. Aurecon has focused on developing a culture where people imagine what’s possible, challenge the status quo, see problems as opportunities, and continually ask ‘why’”. 

Cox says the Aurecon leadership team understands what it means to be patient, giving people time to think, reflect and iterate. “This goes hand in hand with the safe space concept – safe to try new ideas, fail fast and learn from the experience. Our leaders continuously work on their own beliefs around what innovation actually looks like”.

“Before the A-bridge, councils had two options – neither of them good. Cast a concrete deck in-situ, which usually meant closing the road for three months. Not a viable option for many communities. Or use cheaper designs that are only suitable for minor roads and quickly require expensive maintenance,” explains Aurecon’s Design Director, Bridges, John Hilton.

“Generally, the industry is moving towards low- or no-maintenance bridges – not just because of cost but because of the safety risks involved in people inspecting and repairing bridges.”

Aurecon’s Bridges & Civil Structures team decided there had to be a better way. Hilton brought together a team of subject matter experts to design a single system that would meet industry standards for all road types, while offering councils: a short construction time, low cost and very low maintenance.

The resulting A-bridge is a concrete structure with, no bearings or deck joints, which means essentially no maintenance. “It’s pre-cast beforehand – built in a quality-controlled environment – so you don’t get those quality issues you may see on site,” says Hilton.

“The A-bridge is most resilient against flood loading. No elements can be dislodged even under the most severe flooding stream flow or log impact.”

Recognising the A-bridge design, construction and performance benefits, Kyogle Council in northern NSW committed to constructing the first bridge of this type in Australia in 2021. Council estimated it would have taken 12 weeks of onsite works to replace the bridge using traditional methods. The Kyogle A-Bridge concrete components were all installed in only three days. 

The whole bridge was ready for traffic in just two weeks.

Maher says Kyogle’s first A-Bridge has given the community great confidence, reliability and security in their road access. “This Aurecon A-bridge will improve safety and connection in rural and regional communities, supporting rapid and low-cost timber bridge replacement across Australia and, we hope, the world.”

The Australian Financial Review BOSS Most Innovative Companies list ranks the most innovative organisations from across industries in Australia and New Zealand. The competition is judged and compiled by Inventium – Australia’s leading innovation consultancy. In 2021, more than 1,000 businesses across Australia and New Zealand entered the competition.

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