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For Venues NSW-owned ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium, designing a stadium for everyone is of the utmost importance.
The stadium teams are continually striving to attain best practice in social and environmental spheres, recognising the opportunity they have to make decisions that are genuinely good for society.
ANZ Stadium and Bankwest Stadium are part of the Venues NSW network. The stadiums are operated by VenuesLive, a leading provider of management and hospitality services to venues and events.
Bankwest Stadium – the home of sport in Western Sydney.
But sport isn’t the only grand experience happening in Western Sydney’s newest facility.
It’s also the home of a new partnership. A bold opportunity to show the community how care can truly create a safe, clean and presentable venue. A stadium designed for everyone.
The journey of how Facilities First received the tender to provide cleaning facilities at Bankwest Stadium is an inspiring story about how commitment, hard work and empathy can help create a wonderful space for Western Sydney.
For Tim Brady, Senior Manager of Venue Operations at Bankwest Stadium, managing the stadium’s operations is a huge task. After all, when you’re looking after a stadium that holds 30,000 people, the responsibilities are endless.
But Tim is incredibly proud and confident with the delivery and commitment that he has witnessed from Facilities First every step of the way.
“What I’ve seen throughout my short time with Facilities First is a real and absolute commitment to meet whatever deadlines, obligations and commitments that we have. I’ve never had any real issues to wrestle over and what I’ve found is a deep partnership and commitment to make sure that we operate an environment that’s safe, clean and presentable. We’re proud to operate a venue that people are excited to be in.”
They say that if you keep the same processes, you’ll always get the same results. While the stadium promised new events and entertainment, Tim knew that the stadium needed a fresh start – a new cleaning crew.
With this in mind, Tim began the process of searching for the perfect partner.
“We had a long partnership with a known cleaning company that was fairly prominent in the cleaning industry. But as with all business processes, we needed to work towards an open tender process,” says Tim.
“We felt that there was a change that needed to be incorporated into our presentation arrangements. We thought we needed to broaden our thinking and not stick with the same companies that were involved in the venue and the stadium’s cleaning space.
We’d seen Facilities First make a significant change in their business profile over a number of years and we were pleasantly surprised with both the commercial offer and the commitment that was provided by Facilities First through the tender process.
Facilities First came as a bit of a surprise to us because it gave us plenty to consider if we were going to make changes because there are risks associated with changes. We made some key strategic decisions to take the risk, assess the risk and make sure we weren’t going to create problems by virtue of a problematic changeover.
All of those things brought to fruition a great plan from Facilities First and we were committed to making sure they were onboard successfully.”
Admittedly, Tim felt nervous about the new partnership with Facilities First.
But his doubts were quickly diminished as Facilities First proved their capability through a seamless partnership and a commitment to deliver above and beyond.
“We had some concerns at the front end when the tender process was rolled out. But the concerns were allayed through a rigorous tender assessment process which involved interviews and meetings with all of the potential tendering parties.
When you transition from a cleaning partner that you worked with for well over 10 years, it can bring some operational risks. Naturally, there are things that you don’t know and you need to plan around those eventualities.
But each and every time we sat down with the Facilities First management team, their CEO and their national office staff, it allowed us to grow in confidence that they had the capacity to be able to do what we needed from them.”
No challenge is too big for the Facilities First team. In fact, Facilities First proved just how much they were willing to deliver outstanding service and results in the face of their first challenging environment – concerts.
“One of the great things about Facilities First is that when we opened the contract with them, it was in conjunction with a concert event at ANZ Stadium. Concerts are probably the hardest and most technically demanding activities to get a cleaning contractor across. When you have to do that for the first time, it’s not a soft opening at all.
Our confidence level was increased by the fact that Facilities First sailed through that first event and we’ve had very few issues to speak of since they came on board earlier this year.”
Concerts aren’t the only challenges, though. Throughout the construction, Tim needed to facilitate a plan and strategy that would not only get the stadium ready for its presentation to the public, but help Facilities First get started in a seamless and efficient way.
“We’ve had to play a key role in terms of accepting the building from the construction company and bringing it into operation. We were appointed as the operator in the middle of 2018. So, we didn’t have a lot of time to get across the planning to be able to ensure that we knew what we were doing when we opened our doors to the public.
It was difficult as all of those transitions are often going from a construction site to an operating venue where patrons come in and out and enjoy the activity and the facilities. From that point of view, we had a lot to do with making sure the building was ready from a presentation point of view.
We had the keys for three weeks before our first event, so it was not a lot of time to get ourselves up and going. We had to get Facilities First ready early and as quickly as possible to make sure that we could deal with the legacies associated with construction and making sure that we could operate the venue as safely as possible and in a really clean state for the first events in April 2019.”
But despite the short time frame and the endless sea of tasks ahead, Facilities First was able to provide a seamless solution that would not only get the job done quickly but ensure that Bankwest Stadium was presentable for the public.
“What we found is that Facilities First came forward with a pretty compelling commercial offer which didn’t try to have the same formula in terms of the numbers, hours and the costs associated with running big cleaning operations like this.
Facilities First was very keen to demonstrate that they ran a lean operation that allows us not to charge too much to our potential hirers. The Facilities First team gave a solid commitment, making sure that we look our best when we opened our doors in April 2019.”
A common value that Tim shares with the Facilities First team is care. And like Facilities First, Tim believes care is the foundation of everything that he does for the stadium and for his teams.
For Tim, it’s making sure that he worked with a team that puts safety above all else.
“A lot of what we do is about presenting ourselves in the best way possible. And indeed, safety is an important thing when you’re bringing 30,000 people into a relatively small space to watch events. You need to make sure that they’re being brought into a very safe environment.
One thing that we noticed, from the workers up to management and up to the senior leadership team at Facilities First, is that everyone is really motivated to deliver on that obligation.
The level of genuine care and commitment from the team is an extension of everything that we do in terms of making the environment safe and presentable. Facilities First has really bought into that commitment to ensure they support us in bringing lots of people into this environment and making them feel comfortable when they’re here.”
“The great part about our arrangement with Facilities First is that it’s all about the functionality of the cleaning process and how they were going to deliver on that expectation, and they bolted onto that arrangement. It’s reaped massive benefits for us as an organisation.
It’s a terrific partnership for us and we treat each other as real partners in the process of getting our venue presentable, as well as making sure that they get the prominence that they need out of the arrangement.”
However, care isn’t just about displaying empathy or lending a hand. It’s also about creating sustainable solutions to help foster an environmentally healthy business and venue.
Bankwest Stadium’s vision was not only focused on being an essential part of the community, but also on its construction and materials. From the conception of the stadium right through to its operations, sustainability has always been a primary priority for Tim. Facilities First not only understood this value, they applied it in their service.
“The other benefit that we’ve seen with Facilities First is the very big leaning towards environmental and sustainability outcomes which we hold significantly by virtue of our status as a venue operator. We take sustainability very seriously and we’ve worked really hard with the management team to maintain a really good level of recycling and good separation of waste streams to ensure that we operate in the most sustainable way we can.
Over the short time that Facilities First has been here, they’ve had a great focus on the amount of waste that we generate. They ask questions like, ‘How do we separate waste? How do we get the most recycling benefit out of each of those separated streams?’
Facilities First has really given us a lot of support and focus in making sure that our recycling efforts are consistent throughout our entire event program.”
Tim looks around the stadium, as he admires the LED signage all throughout the 30,000 seats. In bright blue lights, ‘Facilities First’ is shining all around the stadium.
Tim smiles and is confident that his newfound partnership with Facilities First will only continue to grow.
“It helps to be able to open a new stadium with new partners. We all have a high level of expectation about the presentation that’s going to be required to make sure that this place gets into the hearts and minds of the people. The venue’s presentation and cleaning are a really important facet of that.
I’m really proud of the huge level of commitment from the Facilities First team and I couldn’t be happier with the transition.”
We’d like to thank Tim for his time and wish him and the team at Bankwest Stadium all the best.
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