Constructing an award winning common ground for Adelaide’s homeless


A UniSA graduate who managed an accommodation construction project for Adelaide’s most disadvantaged has been recognised for his outstanding work at the 2015 Australian Institute of Building (AIB) Professional Excellence in Building Awards.

Construction Management graduate James Clark (pictured above) was recently presented with the Professional Excellence Award for Residential Construction $1 Million to $10 Million for his involvement on the Common Ground project. Clark was among a number of other UniSA graduates and students who were also recognised for quality work in the construction industry in the AIB Awards.

The Common Ground project, which is located on Mellor Street in Adelaide, aims to provide secure accommodation to people who are homeless and was made possible due to funding provided by the Federal and State Governments, as well as private donations.

“Mellor Street is the flagship for the next generation of accommodation for homeless people, mainly targeted at young single families, particularly women with children, where there is sadly a distinct lack of safe budget accommodation in the City,” Clark says.

“Comprising of 52 apartments over seven levels with a building footprint of 650m2, the Common Ground complex generally houses homeless people, taken from the street and given safe and secure accommodation along with assistance to help integrate them back into the wider community.”

The project was awarded the accolade due to the successful delivery of the programme through funding milestones being reached prior to scheduled dates, collaborative working relationships with the client, consultants and sub-contractors as well as innovation through 3D Modelling of the design.

In the role of Project Manager, Clark was responsible for leading the design and construction teams to deliver the project.

“The project took 41 weeks to build from commencement to completion. This was a significant achievement as it resulted in the project being handed over two weeks early, allowing for a seamless transition for the build to occupancy,” Clark says.

The ground floor consists of accessible apartments, office areas for Common Ground staff and common areas for residents that facilitate resident integration back into the community.

This year will mark a milestone for Clark who has spent five consecutive years at Hindmarsh, a family-owned and operated property and construction company, which has delivered iconic projects to Australia for over three decades.

He looks back to his time at UniSA as the foundation for his successful career, saying the industry exposure played a key part in where he is today.

“I spent a semester working in the industry in my third year. This industry exposure while studying really helped my transition from university to the workplace allowing me to play a more active role in my career and current role,” he says.

More information on the Common Ground project can be found at the Hindmarsh website.