The first hint I’m entering the red centre of Australia is – you guessed it – red earth. The red dirt and dust go for as far as the eye can see. As the plane glides down onto the runway I’m craning my neck to catch a glimpse of ‘the rock’.
What brought me to Uluru? The Master Builders Australia and their 2019 National Excellence in Building and Construction Awards. I’m very lucky to consider this part of my job as Standards Australia’s Senior Stakeholder Engagement Manager for the building and construction sector.
If you are thinking of finding a central meeting place for Master Builders from all around Australia, then Uluru – the heart of the ‘red centre’ – nails the brief. This concept is echoed in the artwork commissioned by Master Builders Australia for the event. The beautiful and colourful "Tjukurp Pulka", by Nelly Patterson, a senior Anangu law woman, depicts people coming from all over Australia to Uluru to celebrate together.
Arriving the day before the main event with my colleagues in tow, we were able to use the time to explore the surrounding landscape. Being a typical suburbanite, I rarely find the time to connect with the land. However, with feet covered in red dirt and gazing up at the vast expanse of red stone, it is hard not to feel the powerful presence of this natural formation.
The awards night was held at the Field of Light, an exhibition of 50,000 luminous colourful spheres covering an area the size of nine footfall fields. Towering over us and the landscape was Uluru in all its natural beauty.
From a place of natural splendour, we contemplated man-made splendour. Celebrating the best of Australia’s construction achievements for the year, from commercial through to residential and everything in between.
In a time where the building and construction industry is under high scrutiny, it was wonderful to spend time applauding those who perform exceptionally. Standards Australia has a long history of supporting Master Builders Australia’s achievements in the building industry and this year we sponsored the excellence in National Project Home categories.
It was such a privilege to present the awards on behalf of Standards Australia, meeting some very happy and deserving individuals. These folks, along with the rest of the award winners, are consummate professionals that take pride in what they build and deliver for the Australian community.
Much like the inspired feeling of seeing Uluru up close, it was inspirational to see the high level of quality and innovation apparent in all the award nominations. Their attention to technical and aesthetic detail, their ability to overcome challenges, their commitment to great performance and to engaging with the community in which these construction projects occur.
Times like these remind me that it is the people – these people – that matter most about my job. These people are also the volunteers that contribute to the hundreds of standards in the building and construction space. People that dedicate their lives to making the built environment a better place.
Australian standards are the rocks that support building and construction professionals in their jobs, and my visit to the big red rock made me appreciate this even more.