Property Australia

Learning laboratory

Karen Jamal Karen Jamal November 23, 2021

Buildcorp’s innovative prefabrication strategy and a “game-changing” approach to collaboration has delivered a new multi-storey school in Sydney’s Box Hill after just 16 months onsite.


Why we love this project:

  • The $150-million, multi-storey Santa Sophia Catholic College at The Gables in Sydney’s Box Hill caters for up to 1,860 students and 130 full-time staff
  • The prefabrication solution ensured that 70% of the joinery was made off-site by joinery specialist Euroline, which sourced 100% Australian-made materials for the joinery and interior panelling
  • Students took part in construction site tours, conducted interviews with the Buildcorp team, and developed their own STEM project to get to know the new school layout.


Designed by BVN Architecture and delivered by Buildcorp, the Catholic Education Diocese of Paramatta’s new co-educational kindergarten-to-Year-12 school was a testbed for innovative construction methods.

Buildcorp developed the design during an early contractor involvement process with key partners including project manager TSA, architect BVN, structural engineer Northrop, quantity surveyor WT Partnership and joinery specialist Euroline.

The team worked closely to shape the building design using an off-site prefabrication strategy and building information modelling, or BIM.

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“The innovative prefabrication strategy and game-changing partner collaboration enabled this project to be delivered swiftly with a very high quality outcome,” says Tony Sukkar AM, Buildcorp’s managing director.

“The most effective off-site prefabrication solution was developed for a range of building materials to reduce construction time and increase quality control and safety.”

The design offered four different façade types across 2,000 façade panels and 1,600 balustrade panels. This helped achieve the architect’s intent for curved, aluminium curtain walls that transition into balustrades and concrete decks. Full-scale façade mock-ups were created to validate the quality of the design and performance, and to ensure they were weatherproof.

An adaptive programme management approach kept the project on track despite COVID-19 disruptions. “As a result, Santa Sophia Catholic College opened its doors to students, teachers and the school community with much elation after Sydney’s lockdown restrictions were lifted,” Sukkar says.

Five building zones, each rising to between four and six storeys, are connected by podiums full of interactive play elements suited to the different student age groups. The diverse range of spaces includes collaborative learning areas, creative and performance hubs, open space, sporting facilities and an early learning centre for up to 60 children.

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Santa Sophia Catholic College students took an active role during construction of the new school, learning through participation. And Buildcorp’s subcontractors, in partnership with CathWest Innovation College, offered three school-based apprenticeships and eight work experience placements.

Santa Sophia Catholic College will be at the heart of a future town centre for The Gables community, which will eventually feature more than 2,000 homes. Stockland acquiring the masterplanned site from Celestino in 2020.

“By utilising modern methods of construction and effective collaboration we are proud to have realised the vision of all partners in the creation of this important community asset,” Sukkar concludes.

Check out a virtual tour of the school.