Projects completed in April!

Some exciting projects were completed in April at Nicholson Construction!

Our Warrnambool team completed the Warrnambool Racing Club’s impressive grandstand and function facility upgrade to include large social spaces, spectator seating, kitchen and bars and new amenities to patrons.

Our Bendigo team completed the Regional Hockey Centre in Bendigo, complete with large spectator platforms, multipurpose spaces and a large amount of storage and changeroom facilities for clubs.

Lastly, our Bendigo team also completed the Community Health facility in Kyneton. A large modern facility with consulting suites, co-working spaces, multipurpose spaces and external landscaping, this facility will be used by the Cobaw Community Health primarily for Allied Health and the local community.

More information and imagery on each of these projects can be found on Projects Page.

Our Warrnambool Race Club project in the news!

Warrnambool Racing Club’s $5.8 million showpiece grandstand upgrade will offer a “game changing experience” for patrons who attend race meetings, chairman Nick Rule says.

The new facility will not be open for the revised two-day race meet next month because of the coronavirus pandemic – as no patrons will be on-course for the event.

The Standard was given a tour of the new facility by club chief executive officer Tom O’Connor and Rule. The Matilda Room is now linked to the existing grandstand. “We’re offering a brand new experience for people who attend racing in Warrnambool with this new development,” Rule said. “The facility is multi-purpose and was achieved on time by Nicholson Construction. “We’re thrilled with the design and the finished product – our only disappointment is we can’t show it off to our members, sponsors and the general public at our event but as we are aware that is beyond our control.

“The club is looking forward to seeing the facility full of people at race meetings and other functions including weddings and conferences once the virus is over.” O’Connor, who took over the CEO role in October said stakeholders including the Australian Government under its Building Better Regions Fund, Racing Victoria, Country Racing Victoria and the Woodford Racing Club had played massive roles in the upgrade.

The room now has the capability of sitting 500 people. “We’ve nearly doubled the size of the old Matilda Room,” O’Connor said. “I’m confident everyone will be delighted with the finished product. “It’s a state of the art project for Warrnambool and will be a wonderful facility for people who are going to the races or if they are attending a function at the complex.

“Nicholson Construction have done a great job. “They have used local tradespeople where possible.

“We’ve had a lot of support over the journey from our stakeholders and I must also acknowledge the Racing Minister Martin Pakula, our volunteer local project manager Colin Hunt and Ashlee Scott.” The facility also includes a new ground floor trackside dining and presentation bar behind the mounting yard and includes upgrades to kitchen, bars, viewing deck and other amenities.

Check out the full article from The Standard here 

And see the video interview here

Mooroopna Early Learning Centre

We have commenced works on the Mooroopna Integrated Early Learning Centre within the Shepparton Education Plan with the first sod turned this week, with the Centre due to be up and running for the 2021 school year.

The Centre will give families access to high quality early learning, kindergarten and day care all in one place. It also allows a number of services to be delivered such as education, health, care and support to children and their families.

“This new centre is not just a kindergarten – it is an Integrated Early Learning Centre and will provide extra support that local families will be able to get there.”

“We are getting on with the job of boosting education outcomes in Greater Shepparton.” Minister for Education, James Merlino.

See the full Media Release from the Hon James Merlino MP here

Purnell Road Child and Family Centre now complete!

Nicholson Construction are excited to confirm we have delivered our first ever Greenstar project for the City of Greater Geelong! The Purnell Road Children’s & Family Centre in Corio, Geelong. 

The two-staged construction works entail the demolition of existing buildings and the construction of new buildings as well as external landscaping and carpark works. 

Stage 1 Works comprised of the construction of the new Children’s & Family Centre building with integrated childcare facility, maternal child health rooms, family program area, consulting suits, community rooms, commercial kitchen and ancillary staff facilities. Along with associated site works, site services, external works including Stage 1 car park works, fencing and landscaping. 

The Stage 2 Works commenced in January 2020 and entailed the demolition of an existing kindergarten facility on the adjacent site, followed by the extension of the Purnell Road carpark construction and landscaping surrounds, inclusive of site services.  

Surf Coast Stadium Construction Begins!

Nicholson Construction are proud to announce we have commenced works on the new Surf Coast Stadium in Torquay!

The construction will consist of an extension to and alterations of the existing Surf Coast Secondary Basketball Stadium. The Stadium site is located as part of Surf Coast Secondary College, the existing building features two courts. The building will be extended and altered to provide an additional three courts, associated infrastructure, and external works.

The three indoor sports courts will be built to netball standards and a spectator area with seating for 300 and temporary seating for 500 will be constructed.

Other facilities that will be built in the Stadium are;

  • Control and Operation Room
  • Storage, Cleaning and Plant Room
  • Foyer, reception, merchandise area and break out spaces
  • Offices and administration
  • Multi-purpose meeting and training room
  • Café and lounge
  • Staff room
  • First Aid room
  • 2 unisex change rooms and additional accessible toilet and shower
  • Public toilets for patrons
  • Referees and competition control room, with accessible amenities
  • Pedestrian traffic works, carparking and landscaping

See some progress photos below

Hammertech and Nicholson Construction

Hammertech completed a Case Study on Nicholson Construction and our implementation of the online system Hammertech – read about it here!

The company, founded in 1889, attributes its success to the strong and open relationships it builds with clients, staff, contractors and suppliers.

The company provides individually tailored commercial construction services in regional Victoria from its head office in Ballarat and satellite offices in Bendigo and Warrnambool, and has extensive experience across government health, education and public facilities; as well as private retail projects.

In every Nicholson project, whether an office block, museum or hospital, success rests on relationships founded on trust, experience and knowledge. This emphasis on relationship made HammerTech a great fit for Nicholson.

Honesty and Accountability go hand in hand

After 23 years in the construction industry, and as the head of a company that has weathered every economic turn since 1889, Nicholson Construction director Richard Nicholson understands the importance of integrity. Reflecting on the company founded by his great-grandfather 130 years ago, he says: “The ethos of our company is based on honesty, integrity and respect, with accountability to all stakeholders.”

The company takes great pride in the fact that it knows, engages and supports local trades and materials suppliers, and understands that infrastructure investment in regional areas fosters successful and prosperous communities.  “We aim to be an industry leader in commercial construction by developing local leaders and partnering with local suppliers,” Mr Nicholson says. “Our clients benefit from these well-established local and regional connections.”

With such an emphasis on relationship-based business and recognising local quality, it’s no surprise that Nicholson Construction turned to Australian construction technology group HammerTech when it came to upgrading its construction technology platform.

Seamless Transition Holds Strong Appeal

Nicholson Construction’s existing safety management system was accredited to FSC and ISO standards. Richard admits to some apprehension in implementing any changes, given the risks of unexpected IP hiccups. Fortunately, he was pleasantly surprised. “Changing to accommodate a new IT based approach is less than ideal (but) on the contrary, HammerTech was quickly adapted to our system,” he says. This was an endorsement of the decision-making process ahead of the change.

We chose Hammertech due to its simplicity and its flexibility to adapt to our management system.

He adds: “The cloud-based platform was a considerable factor in our decision to move to HammerTech. The ability to roll out HammerTech across all our sites via our existing hardware platforms was a great result.”

Fast implementation and then ongoing opportunities to tailor the system

“The implementation of HammerTech occurred quite quickly, in just three months.  Whilst a lot of work was required to set up our system, we were well supported by HammerTech and had the system up and running quickly. The simplicity of using HammerTech was bonus and our site teams quickly embraced the process.
Now that the system is up and running, Nicholson Construction can further refine its capabilities to suit the company’s needs.  “We are currently working on ways to extract daily reporting data for Directors information, but aren’t quite there yet,” Richard says.

Valuable data insights and efficiencies without the paper pain

Richard says the company has witnessed significant efficiencies through the implementation of HammerTech’s platform.
Data collection is vastly improved, and the roll out of new and updated procedures occurs instantly across all our sites, Hammertech has helped us consistently and accurately collate data across all our sites, removing the reliance on paper-based management systems.
The software has also helped improve Nicholson Construction’s regular site inspections (daily, weekly, monthly). “Undertaking site inductions is quicker and more effective, and we use HammerTech to capture visits from all stakeholders to site,” Richard explains.  “Overall, it’s helping us implement and manage our safety system and capture the data that’s feeding into our performance KPIs.”

Safety means being on the road ….

Nicholson’s HSEQ Manager Chris Lavery, HSEQ Coordinator Bruce Gavin and their team of five are often on the road, visiting the construction company’s various projects and checking in on safety and quality assurance. “Travelling to a site can take up to three hours for some locations, although we do try to group site visits for those longer trips,” Chris says.

“While there, we review activities occurring or coming up on a site with a particular focus on High Risk Activities, where we work through ensuring we have procedures in place to ensure the activity runs safely and smoothly.” Chris explains that these reviews involve various members of the site team depending on the activity, and may include site managers, project managers, HSEQ reps and subcontractors.

While on site, Chris uses a ‘Site Visits Plan’ which has various tasks noted on the plan for attention on a rotating basis, to ensure effective and beneficial coverage. Tasks include HIRAC Reviews, audits, general site visits, SWMS audits, weekly inspections, and WorkSafe focus. All these visits are logged on HammerTech as well as many of the audits, inspections and reviews.

…. And in the Office

But an HSEQ manager spends plenty of time in the office too. Chris is constantly looking at opportunities for system improvement and development, while procedure reviews, policy review and development and work associated with maintaining certifications also take a lot of his time.

Chris has to be across risks and safety at all times, discussing safety issues both verbally and via emails with the Site Foreman, Project Managers, HSEQ personnel, Directors and Admin staff. He says the HammerTech platform helps with data analysis and providing support to site teams and subcontractors.

At the end of the day, everyone wants to do a good job and get home safely

With 30-plus years in the industry (including the last two with Nicholson), Chris says safety is paramount.

“The construction industry involves numerous high-risk activities at most stages of the build, and safety must always be a key priority,” he says. “It may be a bit of a cliché, but we really do want people to go home to their loved ones each day without injury.”

There are reputational issues for a company like Nicholson Construction too, which has built its respected brand and track record of safety and quality over more than 125 years.

“Quality of our final product reflects pride in what we do. We look to achieve a great result for our clients that meets or exceeds their expectations.”

“Nicholson Construction has committed to this over many years by obtaining certifications for AS/NZS 4801, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and FSC Accreditation. We have recently been awarded 6 years re-accreditation with the FSC and are aiming to gain certification for the new ISO Safety Standard, ISO 45001 later in the year.”

Word of Mouth helps drive Hammertech’s popularity

It was a passing comment from a colleague that ultimately led to Nicholson adopting HammerTech’s platform across its business.

Initially, we had been trying to develop our own internal system working with developers to try and set up an ‘add on’ to our existing document management system, “Chris explains. “We had a CAPA Module in place and were focussing on expanding to on-line induction and plant management, and intending to branch out from that. However, we were experiencing many delays and not getting far at all.”

“I had heard of HammerTech some time earlier, but couldn’t remember the name until a new site foreman, who had previously been working in the West, mentioned it in passing one day. Straight away I knew that was the name of the product I had heard of. From that, I looked up the website, watched the video and read all the information about it, and thought this is very much along the lines of what we had been trying to do ourselves.”

Chris passed on the information to Richard Nicholson to have a look at and soon the company was meeting with HammerTech to explore the system’s potential.

Bells and Whistles, no just nuts and bolts

It turned out the HammerTech system was able to offer even more than Nicholson Construction had hoped. “We were aiming for a system that was digitally-based, could be used by local and regional site teams to manage things such as CAPA’s (“Issues” on HammerTech), inductions and plant management. But we found when we looked into HammerTech that a whole lot more was available to us.”

The additional HammerTech features enabled Nicholson Construction to broaden opportunities to manage safety and other operational aspects in a cooperative and consistent manner. In particular, Chris says HammerTech:

  • eliminates the need to print and compile mountains of documents to go to each site.
  • enables consistency across all projects, including improvements at one site to quickly be shared with others
  • gives Nicholson Construction the ability to make changes to suit its particular needs
  • enables office-based personnel to consult with the site team and resolve issues live
  • allows managers to review who is on site, and send out messages and alerts as needed
  • allows customisable solutions, so Nicholson Construction can develop very specific processes that enable informed and consistent safety management such as asbestos removal etc.
Nicholson Construction is also looking at new ways to use the platform in the quality assurance field.

Nothing is used all the time, but everything is needed some of the time.

Nicholson Construction makes use of everything the HammerTech system has to offer. “Some sections get used more than others, such as Inductions, Equipment, and HSEQ Inspections, but all have some level of importance to safety management,” Chris explains. “We are now adding our own custom sections to further improve the way we utilise the system and these sections can be turned on and off, specific to a project.”

Staff training has been integral to the system implementation. “Training rolled out as projects came online, and remains ongoing to ensure all users are getting the best from the program,” Chris says. “Overall acceptance of the digital platform has been very good and has led to individual improvements in our site teams.”

There have also been issues to overcome along the way, as with any business change. “Some of our paper-based forms we used in our initial set up were in need of review and at the time, I did not have the time to effectively conduct these reviews, so some of our initial set up on the system has required review and update over time,” Chris acknowledges. “This has not really been a major issue though because, as we have developed a better understanding of how the HammerTech system works, we have not only revised documents but made them more effective.”

Another issue concerned the effectiveness of the wireless network so that the Sign-In tablets were able to link in properly. This was resolved by purchasing more up-to-date printers with an in-built modem, providing a LAN that the site team could log their devices into.

And there are always more lessons to learn, Chris adds. “The journey continues, as does our constant mindset of how we can use HammerTech to its maximum capacity to ensure effective safety management, consistent guidance and practice with the aim of Best Practice.”

Building a Relationship with AW Nicholson

Local Jobs First at Ballarat Gov Hub

Don Matthews, the Local Jobs First Commissioner visited the Ballarat Gov Hub site and meet with the Kane Nicholson Joint Venture team.

We got a great deal from both the meeting and the site tour. The valuable discussion and the exchange of information and insights will assist in achieving the outcomes sought by the Local Jobs First Policy.

Don Matthews, the Local Jobs First Commissioner

Thanks to Anthony Schinck and Scott White at Regional Development Victoria in arranging the valuable visit.


The Bendigo TAFE City Campus Revitalisation Project Begins

We are very excited to announce commencement of works at the Bendigo Tafe.

The Bendigo City Campus Revitalisation Project (BCCRP) has been created to develop the strategic educational planning and master planning to deliver on this investment. The project scope comprises of stages 1A, 1B and 1C. This includes:

Stage 1A

  • Building E – two storey existing building to be refurbished. This building is a Heritage Victoria listed building, and shall house the hospitality department
  • Building H – two storey existing building to be refurbished. This building is a Heritage Victoria listed building, and shall house the creative arts department and BT’s administration team
  • Building J – New three storey building comprising of general purpose classrooms
  • Building G – New three storey building housing the hair & beauty department
  • Building P – Existing three storey building to be refurbished as part of this project. Southern wing refurbishment only. This building shall comprise of computer labs and general purpose classrooms for the existing health department
  • Building L – Existing two storey building (southern wing) containing existing kitchen facilities to be demolished (staged method). Public realm landscaping works will be staged across the precinct

Stage 1B

  • Building C – Existing building to be demolished completely to make way for a future government building

Stage 1C

  • The diversion of in-ground services around Specimen Cottage as part of the site preparation works for Stage 1B, including make good of the disturbed area

We are excited to work with Kane once more! Kane Nicholson is currently delivering the $102 million Ballarat GovHub project that is due for completion in January 2021.

The Bendigo TAFE City Campus Revitalisation Project will reach Practical Completion in mid-2021.

Ballarat GovHub Update from Regional Development Victoria

The Ballarat GovHub will be home to up to 1000 Victorian Government employees, including up to 600 public sector positions relocated from Melbourne, helping to revitalise a major part of the Ballarat CBD, generate long-term jobs growth, increase business confidence and further private sector investment.

Kane Nicholson Joint Venture (KNJV) has now completed excavation – digging through six metres of solid rock over the past 12 months and preparing the site for construction – starting with the pouring of concrete of the basement levels. The team have also been busy meeting with local businesses and the community who were invited to attend a meet and greet in August to find out more about the construction, ask questions and meet the project partners delivering the GovHub.

In September, students and teaching staff from the Federation University TAFE Construction department took part in a guided tour of the site to understand the works taking place and learn about the compliance requirements to deliver a project of this scale in Regional Victoria.



  • Construction of the timber structure which began in
    late November.
  • Ongoing installation of the lift shafts and steel roof framing.
  • Introduction of artwork along Mair Street to enhance the
    site and viewing panel.
  • Installation of the facade panels.
  • Continued truck movements in and out of the site from
    Armstrong Street North, which is closed northbound
    between Mair Street and Market Street.
  • Construction will continue to take place between 7.00am – 8.00pm Monday to Friday and 7.00am-3.30pm on Saturday, with no noisy works occurring before 9.00am on Saturday.
  • These works will generate medium levels of nose on site. All works on site are subject to strict controls in accordance with construction regulations.
  • From time to time, certain unavoidable activities may have to be undertaken between 3.30pm – 8.00pm on Saturdays which may generate noise. These works are in accordance with noise controls and will be limited as much as possible.

Read the full update here

Mount Rowan Secondary College gets new gym and music block in funding

Announcing the election promise on Tuesday, the Coalition says it will fund a new gym, music block and also provide a new synthetic court at the school. It matches a commitment made by Labor on October 17.

Ripon MP Louise Staley said while Mount Rowan was an outstanding local school, an upgrade for the gym and music department is long overdue.

The school is currently undergoing a $12.6 million renovation of facilities, as well as a brand new humanities wing, and an upgraded administration building.

It is the first major upgrade of the school since it was built in the 1970s.

This year it was also announced that the Ballarat Secondary College name would no longer exist from next year with Mount Rowan Secondary College and Woodmans Hill Secondary College becoming stand-alone schools from term one next year.