The builder appointed for the Western Australian government’s schools project chose lightweight framing made from TRUECORE steel as a more efficient alternative to conventional solutions.

The WA government partnered with the private sector to design, build, finance and maintain four new primary schools and four secondary schools to open progressively from 2017 to 2023. The construction of the schools was awarded to Badge Constructions (WA) Pty Ltd and Perkins (WA) Pty Ltd under a joint venture arrangement (BPJV). 

Following the successful application of lightweight steel framing on similar projects in other states, BPJV proposed this methodology for the WA Schools PPP project. Traditional framing solutions such as a double brick hot-rolled steel support and steel or timber roof rafters/battens, commonly used in WA, as well as hybrids of steel framing and other traditional method combinations were considered and excluded by the developer, the EduWest consortium in favour of the efficiencies presented by the fully integrated lightweight steel option.

Steelscene was awarded the steel framing design and fabrication contract for six of the schools including Baldivis Gardens Primary School, Woodland Grove Primary School, Aveley Secondary College (Stage 1 and Stage 2), Coastal Lakes College (Stage 1 and Stage 2), Hammond Park Secondary School (Stage 1 and Stage 2), and Harrisdale Senior High School (Stage 2). The lightweight steel framing was manufactured from TRUECORE steel.

The fixed project timelines, which allowed 18 months from the start of detailed design and construction to the opening, presented a major challenge, according to Steelscene owner Gary James.

Rocky Slater, manager PPP – WA Schools PPP observed that the choice of TRUECORE steel framing delivered multiple benefits to the project in terms of speed, efficiency, integration and flexibility.


The lightweight TRUECORE steel framing allowed swift frame assembly and installation once the first floor slabs were poured, and reduced the time allocated for wall noggins for inbuilt joinery, since they were already incorporated into the frames. Tolerances enabled utilisation of split frame internal door frames leading to a quicker internal fit-out cycle. 


There were reductions in secondary trades framing out penetrations for tubular skylights or large roof mounted kits, since these were accounted for in the light-gauge framing. Increased spacing of supports for soffits reduced the need for secondary battens to carry external cladding in numerous locations.


TRUECORE steel framing allowed full integration with the client’s alternate fire engineering solution (in double storey buildings) with the application of intumescent paint to adjacent hot rolled steel support members. Slater added that the solution was fully integrated with their design consultancy team’s BIM modelling and coordination, with the buildings shared and reviewed in Navisworks environment by all parties.


TRUECORE steel framing also provided the flexibility to accommodate any future demand of the Department of Education in terms of the building layouts.

Summing up the success achieved by Steelscene on such a large scale and high-profile project, James said, "By incorporating innovative engineering techniques and methodologies, we were able to increase the consistency of light gauge steel frame production due to high-rate, cold form CNC automation. This allowed for long spanning sections to be customised for fit to purpose application throughout the corresponding projects."

"The flow-on effect of this reduced the fabrication-to-site-to-erection scheduling timeline and kept work sites at a higher level of efficiency,” he added. 

Schools in the PPP Project:

Primary schools (all operational for the 2017 Academic Year):

  • Alkimos Beach Primary School
  • Baldivis Gardens Primary School
  • Carnaby Rise Primary School
  • Woodland Grove Primary School

Secondary schools:

  • Aveley Secondary College
    • Stage 1 opened in 2018 Academic Year
    • Stage 2 due for 2021 Academic Year 
  • Coastal Lakes College
    • Stage 1 opened in 2019 Academic Year
    • Stage 2 due for 2022 Academic Year 
  • Hammond Park Secondary School
    • Stage 1 opened in 2020 Academic Year
    • Stage 2 due for 2023 Academic Year 
  • Harrisdale Senior High School
    • Stage 2 due for 2020 Academic Year