Earlier this year, we welcomed Pamela Arconado (RPEQ MIEAust CPEng NER APEC Engineer IntPE (Aus)) to the Queensland Urban Communities team as Senior Project Manager – Urban Development.

Pam has incredible experience as a civil engineer across Australia, New Zealand, the Middle East and the Philippines. So, we sat down with her to get to know more about her career.

Pamela, having worked across the world and across developments in Queensland, what do you see are the main differences or similarities in the delivery of these communities?

I have found that the framework of project delivery is similar across the globe. Over my 20 years as a civil engineer in land development, urban renewal and mixed-use developments, I have seen the change in how we approach the design and construction of developments that now truly considers the environment and includes sustainability outcomes.

I have also seen land development change from a focus on just building houses and evolve towards the development of communities that provide the infrastructure and amenities to support families with their day to day activities. This has especially become a key objective for developers in south-east Queensland. Most of the larger, diversified property groups are dedicated to creating a sustainable and vibrant place to live and work. Leading master planned community developments on the Sunshine Coast – such as Aura, The City of Colour and Birtinya Town Centre – are prime examples of these, featuring a variety of modern residential options, complimented by the natural environment, with amenities and services for every age group that encourage active transport for healthier living.

You’ve worked as a Project Manager on several urban projects. In your experience, what are the key aspects to successful project delivery?

I believe the primary core of project success is communication. I’ve found at SMEC that we have the ability to instantly share our expertise and knowledge across teams – whether they’re local, interstate or international. This means we have access to specialists from a range of disciplines including urban design, landscape architecture, survey, water engineers, traffic planners and environment scientists. With all elements of the design and delivery taking place in-house, there is a significant offering in cost savings and efficiency on the projects we work on.

This in my experience is invaluable because it brings professionals of all walks of life, with different skills and expertise come together and contribute to the successful delivery of a project.

What has been your proudest achievement so far in your field?

Pursuing a career in civil engineering took me to many places – I have worked in New Zealand, the Middle East, the Philippines and now in Australia. I am proud of the opportunity I have to be involved in the design and delivery of multiple large-scale land and commercial development projects which directly influence people’s everyday lives. I am passionate about building communities that support social and economic growth while at the same time integrating the principles of sustainable development, meeting present needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs.

A particularly challenging project I was involved with was the delivery the Birtinya Retail Centre, which was subject to significant time constraints, driven by commercial arrangements. I was part of the collaborating team to ensure the Centre would open prior to Christmas 2018, whilst also ensuring all supporting infrastructure was completed on a timely manner. Our team closely collaborated with a partnering programme, which aligned all stakeholders to successfully deliver the project on time, within budget and meeting quality, safety and environmental standards.