MEET OUR PROJECT MANAGER EXPERT – DEAN FONDAS

November 21, 2018

What were some innovations that Taylor used on the Taronga Institute of Science and Learning project?
Whilst maintaining the original design intent from NBRS, we worked closely with the consultants and subcontractors to focus on ways to better the building. Specifically, we looked at ways to achieve more points for Greenstar to take it into the next category. This included adding both hot water solar and PV solar as well as upgrading acoustic treatments, changing glass types for more efficiency, selecting better performing materials for the building and further developing the efficiency of the mechanical and the lighting.

How did we achieve Taronga’s vision?
Collaboration was the key to the success of this project and achieving the vision of Taronga. The concept of the original design was very important to Taronga Zoo. Therefore, the emphasis on the team was to maintain this whilst improving on the efficiency of the building.

What makes this project unique?
The project is unique as it is a different kind of mixed-use building that is designed to be used by not only a variety of people but also numerous animals. The laboratories are utilised by scientists and the immersive classrooms house many animals for interaction with students and other zoo visitors. In addition, there are several teaching spaces for school and university students as well as breakout areas and offices for staff.

If you could describe Taylor’s journey on this project from start to finish, what would you say?
This project was one of a kind for Taylor, the journey from start to finish has been one of great learning, purpose and significant meaning. The new facility entailed 3 specialist immersive classrooms for animal habitation and student interaction, laboratories for scientists with visibility for the public to watch them at work, research facilities, a new lecture theatre, 6 teaching classrooms, open offices for life sciences and the construction of 12 aviaries, 2 koala exhibits, reptile enclosures and staff breakout spaces which lie between the main building and the lecture theatre to form the atrium.

The success of this project hinges on the collaboration of the entire team including Taronga Zoo Management, Taronga Zoo Life Sciences, Taronga Zoo Scientists, Taylor Staff and Taylor Consultants.

There are two main highlights of the project. The first was the immersive classrooms coming to life from their initial concept. The second was the formation of the atrium which involved the coming together of the lecture theatre and the main building.

What is the best part of your job being a Project Manager?
The best part of being a Project Manager is being able to take a proposed vision and design it with your team to successfully bring it to fruition. This process involves lots of planning and communication. I believe that success is about being able to connect people and places through listening, understanding, planning and executing.

How do you motivate and manage your team on site?
I am an upbeat and approachable person, I find bringing high energy to site daily and communicating with my team keeps them motivated toward achieving a great end result. I also find that giving team members more opportunities with guided assistance helps them stay motivated with their own goals too.

What is one piece of advice that someone has given you throughout your career that has stuck with you?
When I was at university and when I got my first job as a Contract Administrator, my father told me that success is being able to communicate and listen to people. Over the years I have built my career on these skills to successfully deliver projects with my teams.


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