How the DoD Built a New Special Forces Facility

The Special Operations Working Accommodation (SOWA) was part of a Department of Defence investment in counter-terrorism capabilities at Holsworthy Barracks.

Project Details

Location: Alec Campbell Drive, Holsworthy NSW 2173

Project Value: $182 million

Sector: Government

Services Rendered: Project management and contract administration during construction

Completion Date: July 2010

Design: GroupGSA / Rice Daubney (HDR)

Contractor: John Holland






of gross floor area

A Revitalised Facility in Holsworthy Barracks

As part of further developing Australia’s counter-terrorism capabilities, the Department of Defence (DoD) undertook a full-scale redevelopment of Holsworthy Barracks, a precinct located within the Liverpool Military Area.

The first stage of that redevelopment focused on the Special Operations Working Accommodation (SOWA) in Tobruk Lines, a sub-area of Holsworthy Barracks.

The purpose of the project: to provide new facilities for the 4th Battalion (Commando) Royal Australian Regiment, the Tactical Assault Group (East), the Incident Response Regiment, and the Special Operations Combat Services Support Company.

The Challenges

The existing SOWA was a live environment that was being used by multiple Defence Force units.

We needed to redevelop its facilities with minimal interruption to base operations – especially given the specialism of the units involved.

The Solutions

To offset the disruptive nature of the works, we implemented an intricate staging and decanting scheme.

The units who used the existing SOWA were able to continue their operations without interruption, and the project was able to stay within its carefully scoped timelines and budget.


The Outcomes

We managed the project delivery under a construct-only contract, facilitating the construction of new:

  • accommodation
  • training and lecture facilities
  • vehicle workshops
  • armouries
  • stores facilities
  • medical facilities
  • administration offices
  • vehicle shelters
  • security facilities
  • special purpose buildings.

We also undertook demolition and refurbishment work, redirection and amplification of existing in-ground services, provision of new in-ground services, landscaping works, and the provision of extensive road and pavement works.

The result was a revitalised SOWA that matched the DoD’s special operations requirements.

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