When Infrastructure Australia’s most recent report indicated that treating digital as a default is the key to unlocking the productivity gains and efficiencies critical to meet the capacity demands of a construction tsunami that will hit in the middle of this decade, GS Engineering and Construction (GS E&C), were reassured that their decision to enter the Australian market was the right one. 

Thanks in part to record investment by Federal and State Governments to stimulate the economy and build the 75 per cent of infrastructure forecasted to be needed in Australia by 2050 that does not exist today (according to EY), Australia is on the hunt for specialist megaproject resources and experienced public-private partnership players to help realise the jobs, economic growth, and future-proofing benefits infrastructure investment has historically provided.

GS E&C played a significant role in transforming Korea’s rail and road infrastructure and cutting commute time by 25 per cent, despite travel distance growing by 30 per cent over the past 20 years and recognises the critical precipice that Australia now finds itself in.

“According to the Australian Constructors Association, the country could build an extra $10b of projects a year for the same cost and employ 10,000 extra people if the productivity growth between construction and other industries over the last 30 years is halved,” GS E&C, President & CEO, Civil & Infra, Won-jang Lee, said .

“That is an extraordinary opportunity and requires the private sector to think beyond projects to improve industry performance across the board.

“We have specialised centres that build long-term megaproject, productivity and digital capacity, including two safety experience facilities that use virtual and augmented reality technology; a South Asia Engineering, and research and development centre focusing on soil and rock mechanics and excavation techniques.

“Through this approach, we were the first to use four legged robots on construction sites in Korea to enhance safety productivity, with ‘SPOT’ – an agile four-legged robot – equipped with a variety of high-tech devices such as Internet of Things (IoT) sensors to detect and alert the workforce to risk factors such as harmful gases, fire and smoke.”

As a Korean company, GS E&C’s heritage as part of Bloomberg’s 2021 Innovation Index’s most innovative country in the world reinforces their commitment to seeking productivity outcomes and embracing digital solutions as business as usual. Korea also ranked fifth on the 2021 Global Innovation Index, to Australia’s overall 25th place.

“We chose to enter Australia following a robust strategic review on alignment of values, culture and governance framework, and a fortuitous meeting of upcoming opportunities and a critical industry need for a more diverse global supply base with additional capacity and experience,” Mr Lee said.

“Our approach is to build strong relationships with local partners and implement our advanced digital and innovation approach within the local social fabric and regulatory framework. This enables us to provide assurance of delivery to the client, while providing sustainable industry improvement.” 

GS E&C is a member of the Spark consortium, announced as the preferred tenderer for Victoria’s complex North East Link project, and is also a participant tendering for the most technologically complex section of the Inland Rail project – the 128km from Gowrie to Kagaku, including a 6.2km tunnel through the Toowoomba Range. 

Other achievements of GS E&C include 27 public–private partnerships (PPPs), US$65 billion of projects across 42 countries, and being based in Korea, which is fifth on the 2021 Global Innovation Index and the most innovative company in the world on Bloomberg’s 2021 Innovation Index.

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