22 February 2022

The Power of Teamwork: Epping Metro Train Station Project

“Everyone has an important role to play.”, says Graham Nuss

What makes a great Project Manager? As someone with extensive major design and construction experience under his belt, Graham Nuss certainly agrees that there’s no single skill that outweighs the importance of the others.

Why? Because fundamentally, being a project manager means wearing many hats including communication, decision-making, and critical thinking. These skills are intertwined and directly impact how someone manages projects. 

The Epping Metro Station project played an important role in how Graham leads his current and future projects to successful completion. 

Tell us about your involvement in this project. 

The Epping to Chatswood Rail Line project began in 2003, and I commenced as the Senior Project Engineer on the surface works responsible for the building. It was a very complex site as it involved constructing service buildings and an underground station cavern in and around a fully operating railway station on the Sydney network. I then took on the role of Site Manager. 

What was the biggest challenge? 

The biggest challenge for me was the ever-changing nature and variety of works being undertaken at each site. At any one time, we would be managing utilities, hard rock shaft excavation, ground anchoring, blasting, rail possessions, piling, all whilst coordinating and staging this work with the operating station. 

How did you overcome this challenge? 

Very early on, I learned that communication and working together were key. With all the various activities being undertaken in such confined areas, everyone needs to be in sync with what is going on. We would have several coordination meetings throughout the day between the team. It is very important to be flexible in your planning as issues can develop throughout the day. 

In addition, much of our works were self-performed. This taught me the importance to communicate the work requirements with the crews in clear and uncomplicated terms. By doing so, it develops trust and understanding within the team. Involving the entire team in the process also helped greatly in engaging and creating ownership amongst them. The added benefit of this is that it is also a great opportunity to learn a lot from the experience of the people around you. 

Graham Nuss on getting the job done

Do you have any significant memories of the project? 

Some of the working conditions back in the day were difficult. I was always amazed at how, when given a difficult task, the crews would get stuck in and get the job done! 

Some of the works undertaken during rail possessions were just incredible. The planning and coordination required to complete an enormous amount of work in a 3 or 4 day shut down was very impressive. I will never forget that. 


What skills have you gained from this project?  

From a technical point of view, I learned that the ability to directly manage a huge variety of self-performed works allows you to gain a very detailed understanding of both the work processes and the requirements. This is always invaluable later in your career when it comes to understanding, planning, and even estimating works. 

More importantly, it is the communication and interaction with people that get the job done. Everyone has an important role to play. 

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