White Night City Square Site Management

The Client

John Holland Group/ David Atkins Enterprises/Melbourne Metro Rail Authority


February 16 – 18, 2018

The Project

During the early work stage of Melbourne’s new train tunnels, an event was scheduled at the development site of Town Hall Station as part of White Night. Now in its sixth year, White Night illuminates many different areas of Melbourne with art installations and various events drawing a crowd of around 600,000. John Holland Group, the team responsible for managing the excavation site, were faced with a dilemma, Town Hall Station was currently a 22-meter hole in the ground. The government wanted said hole handed over to White Night for the weekend with excavation resuming the following Monday. Enter Cuckoo, your friendly neighborhood hole managers. Due to tight time frames for both companies, handover had to be as smooth as possible, and above all, everything had to be safe. John Holland Group was struggling to understand the requirements of the event organiser, David Atkins Enterprises, who manage the delivery of the White Night event. Cuckoo were enlisted as compliance and safety experts, a role well suited thanks to our event-based knowledge.

The Interesting Bit

Due to the quick turnaround time that was necessary, we dove right into this project. Our expertise with event related compliance and safety led to a smooth execution of the following:
  • Co-ordination – Management of communications and collection and collation of information between all stakeholders to get a full understanding of the planned activity.
  • Compliance – A risk assessment, management program and compliance assessment program to ensure all statutory compliances were met. Additionally, we provided a site briefing framework to ensure the compliance of these elements, as well as the agreement between JHG and Melbourne Metro Rail Authority.
  • Oversight – Provided an experienced and skilled presence for the duration of the project onsite to protect JHG’s interests, provide operational support, and facilitate a safe and secure work environment.
The biggest issue for everyone involved was the fact that we were dealing with a construction site. We needed to take the safety into consideration, including:
  • Pit and loose edges
  • Temporary power
  • Access to the event (load in/out)
  • Coordinating use of plant
  • Scaffold for access stairs
  • Supports for temporary lighting
  • Access for generators
Public safety was, and always is, the most important aspect of projects such as this. With so many things that can go wrong, a team like ours is required to ensure that all bases are covered. With events that have a high attendance number such as this, there is no room for error.

The Results

  • All parties involved were happy with the outcome of the project, relieved that things ran smoothly and confirmed there were no gaps.
  • Handovers were seamless.
  • Coordination and satisfaction of all companies involved – construction company (JHG), the land holder (MMRA) and the event organiser (DAE)
  • Our relationships with the government and businesses involved have been strengthened.
  • Safety was maintained, the event executed successfully.
  • Prior to our involvement, lack of communication between factions stalled progress, however, by the end of the project all teams were working as one unit as a result of our project management and relationship development skills.