Oakhill College is an independent secondary school in Sydney, Australia. Its new "Innovation Hub" consists of spaces for construction, woodwork & metal work as well as design technology rooms like maker spaces, and 2 levels for science to include wet & dry laboratories and super labs.
It is designed as a mass timber structure with timber procured in Europe, transported to Australia to be prefabricated in Western Sydney and now put together like a Mecano set on site.
Mostyn Copper, was appointed as the primary delivery partner for this project, due to its past expertise in project management for the Education sector.
Business Manager, Oakhill College
During the construction phase, the college needed to make continuous budgetary decisions due to latent conditions, omissions and variations. It was vital that the Board and school decision makers had accurate information on where the contingency budget sat to keep spending within the delegated budget.
One issue that the business team at Oakhill College faced was that Project Managers could easily over-state, or under-state, the actual spendings. On past school infrastructure builds, critical financial information had been locked in PM spreadsheets, making it difficult for the school's business managers to reconcile and analyse financial information against the school’s finance system.
Misalignment of financial information in the cost plan and the school’s finance system would prevent the Board from identifying opportunities and maximising value from the project. Meanwhile, attaining this information from consultants’ cost plans required a lot of work from both parties every month to achieve confidence in the data.
Overall, it had been cumbersome for the Business Manager to prepare timely reports for the principal and Board in a professional format, highlighting all opportunities and risks.
“I needed accurate, free-of-issue data so I could trust what the consultants are telling me is true. I needed a clear and concise reporting method that made it easy for me to understand the issues and action accordingly,” Elke Forrest, Business Manager at Oakhill College said.
After investigating solutions, Oakhill College adopted Mastt’s Cost module to capture and manage all their financial information in one place.
Data is now entered into the system following standardised forms and templates. During reporting period, minimal effort and time is required for the team to produce a one-page summary for the Principal and Board.
Mastt also provides roll-up information automatically, which saves hours of work for Project Managers to combine spreadsheets and documents.
Reconciling Oakhill’s finance system was also made easy with Mastt. Information can be easily extracted, and the finance team can foresee what to expect and to prepare for.
“We trust the information reported by our Project Managers is accurate because they use Mastt, and when it’s not, it is easy for us to identify and ask the right questions. The board is pleased with the quality and depth of information to keep them informed and easily action what is required.”
With automation in place, the system immediately presented to users all known and unknown risks that have materialised, along with those that could materialise. Seeing all this information with clear visualisation gives the team confidence that the project is under their control.
Since Elke and her team adopted the tool, they were quickly able to keep the Project Managers accountable and make sure they have accurate data of the overall capital expenditure.
Mastt soon became Oakhill’s one stop shop for keeping all project’s critical information, with no more confusing dropbox link or Excel Spreadsheet. Every invoice and contract relating to the project is now entered by the Project Manager’s team into Mastt, and Finance Manager could easily review and change the claim status once paid. Mastt automatically adjusts the data for actual spent, Cash Flow and variations eroding the contingency budgets.
The data presented is more reliable than previous Excel or PDF reports by the Project Managers. This data and Financial Statements could be extracted at any given time, make it more flexible than ever for the Board to make important decisions.
Through this segregation of duties, the team could avoid omissions by Project Managers and is able to keep project financial status transparent.
It gives Oakhill the confidence and control of the capital expenditure. The project team now know where they’re at and can ensure they are working within the delegation – or need to ask for a larger contingency in time from the Board.