One of the construction sector’s leading figures has taken up a key position with Ridley as the technology-led architecture and construction design management firm accelerates expansion of its operations.

New Managing Director, Gerard Francis, joined Ridley in August after more than six years with John Holland, most recently as its Rail Group Development Director.  Prior to John Holland, Gerard was Lendlease’s head of strategy for six years.

Mr Francis joined Ridley having seen how it is leading the adoption of digital technology into construction. He says that the smart developers of complicated building and infrastructure projects are turning to Ridley because it can help them reach completion faster, more cost-effectively, with less problems and an end result that better resembles their original vision.

“I’ve always been on either the contractor or developer and asset owner side and I’ve gained very clear views on what works and what doesn’t when it comes to delivering complex projects,” Mr Francis said.

“I have learned the value of a partner that has the end game in mind and recognises their primary objective is first, last and always, designing structures that deliver on the commercial, operational and the experiential level.

“Ridley’s approach has a rare maturity about it that addresses and solves many of the problems we constantly faced as owners and builders of infrastructure.  This is reflected in Ridley’s experienced technology enabled construction architecture teams effectively delivering the design for three complex inner city projects being, The Ribbon (Darling Harbour), The Star Precinct (Pyrmont) and The Sandstones Precinct (Sydney CBD).  They’re not only changing the way we design buildings and infrastructure, they’re improving the construction, commissioning and handover process as well.

“Ridley’s use of digital technology in design and construction projects, integrating technology to improve construction and delivery of the client’s vision, isn’t only new to Australia; it’s a new idea pretty much anywhere.  What’s really exciting is that if Ridley’s growth to-date is any indication of the value of that approach, developers and asset owners here and across the South-East Asian region are catching on fast.”

It was at John Holland that Gerard experienced first-hand the value of digitally enabled construction architecture that integrated virtual imaging technology into its management and delivery of complicated building and infrastructure projects.

“Before working with this firm, I’d never seen anyone with a core focus on driving the use of technology into the design and construction process or ability to convert highly complex designs into a 5D product that even the least architecture-savvy person could understand.

“The more complicated the project, the more important Ridley’s digitally enabled construction architecture expertise and design management becomes to securing the outcomes.

“Having experienced the benefits of Ridley’s approach as a client, and seeing how it eliminates risk, cost overruns and delays while also improving contractor and delivery outcomes, the potential was clear.  I joined Ridley because I wanted to be part of realising that potential,” Mr Francis said.

As Managing Director, Mr Francis is responsible to the Ridley Board for the day-to-day operations of the business.