Aqualand’s Integrated Construction Strategy A Boon for Market Confidence

Instability in the broader construction sector is adding further pressure to a constrained residential pipeline as Australia faces a mounting rental and housing crisis. 

Leading Australian integrated property development group, Aqualand’s internal construction arm, Aqualand Construction, has proven to be a game-changer, generating confidence and stability in a market beset with uncertainty, according to Chief Economist Nerida Conisbee. 

“With the current uncertainty in the construction sector, it’s critical for developers to get projects out of the ground and uphold a healthy level of confidence in the market,” Nerida said. 

“Developers that maintain end-to-end control of their pipelines or have internal construction capabilities will be well-placed to deliver quality projects to an undersupplied market. With record immigration inflows we are looking down the barrel of a rental and housing crisis.

“Aqualand’s success in managing its construction pipeline internally serves as a testament to the importance of adaptability in the face of adversity.”

With topping out in June, Aqualand has almost completed the construction of its luxury $1-billion AURA by Aqualand tower in North Sydney and has an impressive project pipeline. The developer has taken a proactive and innovative approach to its end-to-end model, bringing on industry stalwart Thomas Catalovski as Executive Director of Development and Construction in 2018 to head up the Aqualand construction business. 

“It was important to Aqualand to manage all aspects of the development process to safeguard the integrity, quality and safety of our projects. Being able to take responsibility for the development lifecycle from end-to-end has been a massive advantage,” Thomas said.

“We’ve been able to respond to market fluctuations with greater agility and flexibility, which has been key to managing escalation and keeping costs stable. 

“Being directly involved from day one of the project’s inception, through its design evolution, and ongoing project cost planning and pricing is hugely valuable. We’re involved as much as a few years in advance of breaking ground, so we can set the project up for success in its infancy.” 

Aqualand Group’s strategic decision to build a skilled in-house construction team puts it in good stead to capitalise on current opportunities in the market, as a number of prime development sites come to market, including the Central Barangaroo project, for which it is the developer and builder.

“With our integrated delivery strategy we’re able to transact and move quickly compared to our development peers who need to get the project to a certain point before they can even go to tender with an external builder that may take six to 12 months.”

A number of wide-ranging construction industry reforms introduced by the NSW government will materially increase regulation in the residential and commercial construction sector. 

“Aqualand fully supports the introduction of more regulatory oversight, as well as the work being undertaken by the NSW Building Commissioner to improve standards and customer confidence.

“We recognise that ensuring certainty for our stakeholders, and especially purchasers, is critical. Managing all aspects of the development process means our construction team can facilitate enhanced collaboration with our subcontractors, and in some instances undertake an early contractor involvement (ECI) process,” added Thomas.

Aqualand Construction cut its teeth delivering the award-winning BLUE at Lavender Bay adaptive reuse project located at 61 Lavender Street, Milsons Point. Completed in 2021, the 20-storey project perfectly showcases how adaptive reuse can transform an empty and outdated office tower into contemporary luxury apartments, whilst improving the streetscape, retail offering and providing benefits to the local community.

The project was extremely challenging from a construction perspective as it required the demolishment and then rebuild of the building’s core.

Sam Jenkins, Aqualand’s Construction Director said the relocation of the building’s core and repositioning of the living spaces to take advantage of the views, was an enormous proposition.

“It took our in-house building expertise to realise the opportunity and make development sense of the project,” he said.

“Another main obstacle in transforming an old commercial structure to a luxurious residential building lies in reimagining the façade, while preserving the original structure.

“For BLUE, we re-designed the entire façade. The façade grid was modulated to reduce the bulk of the existing tower.

“We added curved glass wintergardens and balconies to signal a new chapter in the building’s history, while unique slim, horizontal steel structures, balustrades and glass screens added light and reduced the bulk of the original commercial façade.

“We didn’t make it easy for our construction team’s first project that’s for sure. However, the result has been extremely well received by our purchasers, some of whom have now also purchased at AURA.

“Our clients are reassured that our in-house construction team will ensure the projects are delivered on time and to the strict quality standards we insist on,” Sam added.

One purchaser of AURA, Evelyn Cummins, said, “It’s reassuring to know that Aqualand has its own in-house construction team putting it in an enviable position in the current market. 

While another purchaser, Carolyn Stevens, said, “Aqualand’s experience with high-quality builds, particularly because they use their own construction team, builds confidence that the finished product will exceed our expectations.

Meanwhile, Nerida Conisbee says the market will rely on well-capitalised developers to get projects out of the ground. 

“Aqualand’s approach may well serve as a blueprint for other developers looking to secure their futures and contribute to Australia’s housing supply.”

To find out more about AURA by Aqualand, please call 1800 207 778, go to or visit the display showroom at Level 5, 41 McLaren Street, North Sydney, open daily between 10am and 4pm.

To find out more about BLUE at Lavender Bay, please call 1800 895 008 or go to A limited number of residences are remaining and available to inspect every Saturday between 10.00am–11.00pm or via private appointment.

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