40 Years of Trading

Warren Smith & Partners – Hydraulic, Fire, Civil & Water Consulting Engineers
Commence 40 years of Trading

Warren Smith


Today the 10th of August marks a significant milestone for Warren Smith & Partners as we will commence our 40th year of trading. As the founding director, I started in 1981 with the goal of wanting our company to be the best of the best. Our objectives and core values from day one were and still are:

The company started with a total of three people which included my wife Elizabeth, secretary and accounts, one draftsman and myself with only a 10 storey residential project at Double Bay on our books. I undertook a colossal amount of marketing to get the message out that we are good at what we do and would deliver a high-quality service demonstrating to architects, developers, builders and government agencies that we would not let them down.

It was a slow and relentless grind in procuring work and then designing that work, and we gradually started to win more projects of a medium size and I kept telling our staff that we needed to win one major project, which we called the Big One, which would give us better cash flow and security.

In 1984, we were awarded the Hydraulic and Fire Engineering Consultancy Services for the 34-storey 580 George Street Commercial building which was our first major project and that old saying that ‘success breeds success’ came into play as not long after we also were awarded the Zenith Centre Chatswood Commercial Twin Tower and the 141 Walker Street, North Sydney commercial projects.

The work on multiple other major and significant projects across all sectors has flowed on to present day as a result of demonstrating our capability, expertise and performance.

Since 1983, Warren Smith & Partners has enjoyed a long history of involvement with the initial development, and current redevelopment of Darling Harbour, and we have been involved with the first Convention Centre, Harbourside Festival Marketplace, Sofitel Hotel, Barangaroo Commercial Towers & Residential Towers, Barangaroo Reserve, Darling Walk Commonwealth Bank Twin Towers, Hickson Road and the Sydney Metro station.

Overall, since commencement, we have been involved with over 7,000 projects of all type and scale which is a tribute to all of our highly valued engineers, designers and support personnel.

We are very proud of our retention of key staff with 40% of our team of 52 having been with the company for over 10 years. We have always invested heavily in our people and we are committed to the development of our team, to build knowledge and skills, investing in the engineers of the future.

Our Directors & Partners are hands on, and you will find them at the front of every project backed by a professionally qualified and effective team. Several of our senior staff are involved in peak industry bodies and provide input writing Australian Standards which gives our business foresight into upcoming statutory changes which help to future proof our clients’ developments against coming changes, paving the way for a higher quality of built environment for all.

Looking back over the forty years, people have regularly said to me that I must be very proud of what we have achieved. My reply is not proud but extremely pleased as the secret to success, being a sporting team or business, is to surround yourself with good people who all want to win and this is what we have done.

I would like to thank everyone that we have worked with since inception. I would also like to acknowledge all the staff that have contributed greatly to the success of the business over this time. I will raise a glass, or two, over lunch today to all people and friends we have worked with over so many years.

Best wishes to all, always be positive and don’t let the current situation get you down and remember that “good players” will always find a way to win.

Warren Smith
Managing Director,
Warren Smith and Partners

You can download this news item here as a 2 page pdf.

Warren Smith & Partners Involvement with the Redevelopment of Darling Harbour

A history of our involvement…

In 1983 in the 2nd year of operation, Warren Smith & Partners (WS+P) were engaged by Yates Developments to undertake the design of the Hydraulic and Fire Services for a proposed weekend marketplace and mid-week car parking facility on the previous Dairy Farmers Milk Distribution Centre site at the western end of Liverpool Street which has been closed on the Darling Harbour site. The project was fully documented, tendered and prior to commencement of construction, the NSW Government advised Yates Developments that the land was to be resumed which in turn prevented commencement of construction.

In 1985, Warren Smith & Partners were engaged by the Managing Contractor, Leighton Contractors on behalf of the then Darling Harbour Authority to undertake the Masterplanning work of the infrastructure services required to service the overall Darling Harbour Redevelopment.

As a result of the infrastructure services masterplan, the infrastructure services were installed to service the various development sites in Darling Harbour. One of the early infrastructure works was undertaken by Sydney Water to amplify the existing Haylackey stormwater drainage culvert which collected significant catchments from the southern catchment area of Darling Harbour and was installed to cater for a capacity for a 20 Year Storm Event to minimise flooding  issues at the southern end of Darling Harbour.

Interestingly enough,  during the excavation and construction of the Haylackey stormwater culvert an old timber wharf was found approximately 100 metres south of the existing southern seawall of Darling Harbour which was constructed in the earlier days of our Colony.

In late 1985, Warren Smith & Partners were engaged as Hydraulic & Fire Engineering Consultants for the new Convention Centre which has been replaced by the new ICC Building plus the adjacent Festival Marketplace project and both projects were finished on time for the 1988 bi-centennial celebrations.

In more recent years, Warren Smith & Partners were awarded the Hydraulic & Fire Engineering Consultancy Services for the Darling Walk Development tenanted by the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and that project also involved a significant early works package to deviate Sydney Water stormwater and sewer drainage infrastructure.

The Darling Walk Development was one of the first buildings to be credited with a 6 star Greenstar rating before fully operational and the work involved by Warren Smith & Partners in regards to Sewer Mining and blackwater treatment plant to provide the water supply for the cooling towers in both buildings which saves an approximate 100,000 Litres of towns water consumption each day which was a significant contribution to the obtaining of the 6 star Greenstar rating.

Another major project at Darling Harbour that Warren Smith & Partners were involved with as Hydraulic & Fire Engineering Consultants is the 34 storey Sofitel Hotel building adjacent the southern end of the new International Convention Centre.

Close to and not that far away from the Darling Harbour Redevelopment area are the Barangaroo South Commercial Office Towers (3 off) together with the Residential Towers.  Warren Smith & Partners have been involved and are currently involved as Hydraulic & Fire Engineering Consultants.

Warren Smith & Partners were also involved as the Hydraulic, Fire & Civil Engineering Consultants for the Barangaroo Reserve Project where approximately 85% of all rainwater and irrigation water that permeates through the ground is captured, treated and reused for irrigation purposes over the Barangaroo Reserve and parkland area.

Another outstanding piece of engineering work for the Barangaroo Reserve project involved the investigation and subsequent removal in total of an existing Sydney Water sewer pump station  utilising micro-tunnelling engineering technique to enable the existing Sydney water sewer from Walsh Bay Finger Wharfs to be deviated by gravity 900 metres south under Hickson Road to connect to an existing Sydney Water sewer pump station situated opposite the Bond Building in Hickson Road.

International Women’s Day Celebration 2020 – Profile on Jane Ciabattoni

Jane joined Warren Smith & Partners on the 7th September 1992 taking up an administrative role which involved working on reception and carrying out secretarial duties. In 1998, WS+P became an accredited Sydney Water Co-ordinator and soon after, the WS+P Civil department was established in 2002 allowing her to become the dedicated administrative support for the Civil team.

Jane soon became familiar with all things Sydney Water and started to learn the Sydney Water processes. Initially, assisting with Section 73 applications and working with engineers to submit design packages.

Over time, Jane gained exposure to building plan approvals and the different options and requirements around this approval, identifying constraints and potential out of scope approval requirements.

Jane has now over 20 years experience as a dedicated Water Service Co-ordinator and has developed a fountain of knowledge. With this knowledge, she provides Clients with sound advice in relation to their developments, identifying early on the Sydney Water requirements.

On a day to day basis, Jane engages in a lot of Client and Sydney Water liaison, making sure that all Sydney Water processes are followed for Section 73 applications, leading into design, onto construction, and finally to work as fully executed packages. Jane’s daily liaison educates our Clients on Sydney Water requirements so that their developments run smoothly and a Section 73 can be obtained in good time prior to occupation. As a result of Jane’s dedicated work, she has built a strong Client base and also brings in new business for the Civil & Water department, of which she also project manages.

Jane trains junior staff members on the Sydney Water processes and educates Project Managers across the business on the Sydney Water requirements.

Jane is also a keen fundraiser for causes such as RSPCA, domestic violence, Cancer Council and mental health, and has organised many fundraising event at WS+P over the years. Recently Jane has been  giving Sydney Water presentations to organisations that WS+P regularly work with, to further ensure the smooth running of our Clients’ developments.

Q and A

Originally from: Harare, Zimbabwe

Favourite memory from work: It would have to be the milestones that I have crossed, my 10 year and 20 year anniversary, and I’m looking forward to my 30 year anniversary in September 2022. I like to take the time to look back and reflect on how far myself, the team and the business has come.

Best advice someone has given you: If you are going to do a job, do it properly otherwise don’t do it at all. I live by this.

What do you like most about your job: The people, from the team to our clients, even the Sydney Water people are great. I enjoy interacting with the wide range of clients from the mums and dads who don’t know much about WSC to the experienced professionals such as multinational developers and contractors. No day is the same.

Proudest project: Working on Barangaroo with Michael Cahalane, my Director. The scale of the project and the complexity involved was very rewarding.

Proudest achievement: At work, becoming a manager. In my personal life, the work I do in Zonta which involves raising awareness for women’s issues, particularly domestic violence. I was president in 2018-2019 which was a personal achievement for me. Also running the Gold Coast half marathon in 2014 deserves a mention.

Biggest challenge: At work, it would have to be dealing with the, sometimes large, difference in pace between private enterprise and public enterprise. I find I need to manage expectations quite often.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working: Reading, crochet, knitting, running and exercising. I have to mention high teas and enjoying the odd champagne.

What’s your favourite sports team: Roosters

What’s a fun fact about you people may not know: I used to be a base player in a band.

You can download Jane’s profile here.

International Women’s Day Celebration 2020 – Profile on Libby Higham

Prior to working for Warren Smith & Partners, Libby worked at the Institute for Chartered Accountants. She heard about WS+P through existing employees Dirk Nagelschmidt and Jane Ciabattoni and when an opportunity arose at WS+P, Libby was keen to apply. She joined the WS+P family on the 18th July 2001 taking up an administrative role which involved working on reception.

In 2006, Libby moved from reception and into the open office allowing her to become a dedicated administrative support for the Fire and Hydraulic teams, carrying out secretarial duties for various Project Managers and Engineers.

Working amongst the Fire and Hydraulic team meant that Libby was exposed to a lot of varying work, from general administrative duties, to the preparation of design reports and technical specifications, to preparing fee submissions.

Since moving to the new WS+P office in 2018, Libby has been working as the dedicated administrative support for the Fire team and her daily workload largely involves preparing fee proposal and tender submissions.

Over the years, Libby has seen a change in the industry in relation to the level of input required for fee submissions. 10 years ago, fees were not as complex and detailed as they are now and a great deal of effort goes into demonstrating our capability as a business and presentation is a priority. Libby has assisted in many successful submissions over the past 18 years and looks forward to the next big submission win.

Q and A

Originally from: Grafton, NSW (Jacaranda City)

Favourite memory from work: It would have to be working with and knowing Saskia who worked as a Road Designer in the Civil & Water team who sadly passed away in 2013.

Best advice someone has given you: It would have to be the post-it note David Bolt, my Manager, gave me which says STOP and means:

– Stop
– Take a Breath
– Observe
– Proceed

Proudest work project: Moving out from behind the front desk and getting stuck into the work involved in the open office.

Proudest achievement: My son Sammy, and raising him to be a gentlemen, all on my own.

Biggest challenge: Being a single mum.

What do you like to do when you aren’t working: Catch up with friends, relax and spend time with my son Sammy.

What’s your favourite sports team: Manly Sea Eagles

What’s a fun fact about you people may not know: I used to be an avid water skier, I was so good I could do it with one ski.

You can download Libby’s profile here.

Winning Project!

Warren Smith & Partners have been awarded the winner of the FPAA 2019 Fire Protection Project of the year over $1 Million for the Lendlease Barangaroo South Precinct


Please download this document for a description of the Lendlease Barangaroo South Precinct project and innovations.

What does it take to secure a resilient water supply?

by Robert Keessen  |  7th November 2019

Our communities expect the government to deliver reliable and resilient water supplies.

The east coast of Australia is in the grip of a drought, the second in the first two decades of this century. Many areas of western NSW are already running out of water, and urban areas on the eastern seaboard are not far behind. Sydney’s water storage levels have taken less than 3 years to drop to 50% capacity.

Storage volumes in Sydney’s Reservoirs
Source: adapted from Water NSW

Sydney’s Water storage reached a low of 32% capacity during the Millennium drought. Most of the drawdown occurred in the worst 6 years of that drought and it took about 4 years for storages to refill after that.

Following the Millenium drought, the Federal Government Productivity Commission was asked to “…identify ways of improving resource allocation to achieve long term water security”. In 2011 the commission concluded that:

  • Governments have responded to drought with prolonged and severe water restrictions and investments in desalination capacity.
  • The costs of water restrictions and inefficient supply augmentation have been billions of dollars per year nationally.

The Productivity Commission recommended a reform package to provide consumers with greater reliability of supply.

Drought returned to the eastern seaboard in late 2017. This time:

  • The weather has been drier than the Millennium drought, with storages drawing down more rapidly.
  • A desalination plant built in response to the Millennium drought was turned on in January 2019, and reached full capacity in June 2019, to supply 250ML/day, to provide an additional 15% to Sydney’s normal demand.
  • Planning has started for the second stage of the desalination plant which would double the total desalination capacity.
  • Stage 1 water restrictions were re-introduced in July 2019.

We are faced with a similar, but worse situation to what we were in a decade ago.

How bad could it get?

The city of Cape Town had a critical water shortage in 2018 and came within 90 days of running out of water. Residents could only use 50 litres a day, about a quarter of what the average per person in Sydney uses today. This is severe, considering a short shower may take 15 litres, and a toilet flush is between 4 litres and 10 litres on average.

Will Sydney also need severe restrictions to survive the drought?

This is not easy to predict, but if the drought continues at its current severity storage volume is likely to fall below 25% capacity some time in 2022. And if this drought lasts as long as the last one, it won’t break until late 2023. This means that there is a real possibility that severe water restrictions will be needed as early as 2022.

If this happens our communities will be asking how we got into this situation and what needs to be done to prevent it from happening again.

A paradigm shift is needed.

Water systems design from the 1900’s were based around centralised systems, that harvest runoff and transport it to the city to be used once. However, there are a range of other water sources available which are non-rainfall dependent including:

  • Desalination, which is potentially an unlimited supply but is expensive and energy intensive.
  • Recycled wastewater costs less to produce than desalination, but potable re-use does not yet have public acceptance and is more likely to be acceptable in the long term. There is considerable opportunity to supply recycled water through a secondary pipe distribution system to new developments.
  • Stormwater recycling is also possible and would be suitable for developments where there is space to accommodate relatively large storages.
  • Groundwater from aquifers also provide an opportunity where they have the adequate capacity (and have not been contaminated) and could be part of the mix of solutions.

Better results will be achieved with dynamic and adaptive systems, with:

1. Customer engagement that allows them to:

  • Express their willingness to pay for more secure water supply and introduce pricing policy (such as tiered pricing) that enable customers to pay.
  • To tell them how they can lower their water bills by having their own local (place-based or household based) systems.

2. Regulatory form to:

  • Recognise the value on non-rainfall dependant water supply sources, particularly where supplies are scarce. The cost of new water may vary from less than $1.00/kL up to $5.00/kL, which is very significant when water is being sold at around $2.00 to $2.50.
  • Encourage integrated solutions by removing ‘ring-fenced’ pricing for water, wastewater and recycled water products.
  • Encourages private sector participation, including access to cross subsidies available to public sector utilities.

3. Smarter strategy, planning, and design of our systems, by:

  • Diversifying water sources to include non-rainfall dependent sources.
  • Identifying a range of diverse solutions tailored to specific areas that use new technologies.
  • Integration of local systems with existing centralised infrastructure.
  • Adaptive management that has options to increase supply ready and known decision points for when to enact them to avoid restrictions.
  • Integrated water cycle planning to obtain the benefits of recycling water in local communities rather than the exclusive use of a centralised single use system.

These topics will be explored in further detail in subsequent articles…. coming soon.

Robert Keessen is a Project Manager at Warren Smith & Partners, a consultancy that has delivered solutions for the water business since 1981. Robert heads up a practice called Water Smart Solutions, that looks to provide strategic and planning advice that is fully grounded in the practicality of delivery. For more details see:


Wonderful recognition from our industry!

Warren Smith & Partners has been involved in the Barangaroo precinct development for the past 10 years. Our Fire, Hydraulic and Civil Services teams have worked with Lendlease and the Barangaroo Delivery Authority to deliver robust design, risk free documentation and construction services through this period. During this time the Fire services team have worked at implementing several industry leading design solutions that have resulted in changes to statutory requirements and offered significant operational efficiencies to the development facilities managers.

The Fire Services Team is now excited to be shortlisted for the Fire Protection Association Australia 2019 industry awards for projects over $1m and will be attending the gala dinner in Melbourne on the 8th November. If you would like to catch up with our team please get in touch with Peter Brawley, David Bolt or Ian Stone to discuss how we can assist your next project.

Barangaroo South

Dangrove Art Storage Facility, Alexandria NSW

Warren Smith & Partners are delighted to have had been given the opportunity to provide hydraulic, fire and Sydney Water Services Coordination consultancy for the new Dangrove Art Storage Facility.

This 10,000m² state of the art storage facility houses Judith Neilson’s private contemporary Chinese art collection. With an impressive Great Hall of 90m long; Dangrove is able to accommodate events and display large artwork installations comfortably.

We are thrilled to have had the opportunity to work on this masterpiece.

Competent Fire Safety Practitioners

Newly Accredited (FPAS) and Our Contribution to the Fire Protection Industry | by Fires Services | 18 March 2019

This article can also be downloaded as an A4 Flyer here: Fire News 0319

Please be advised that the changes to the Environmental Planning & Assessment Act introduced in October 2017, requires Fire Protection Designers to be accredited either by the Building Professionals Board or the National Engineer’s Register to enable certification of:-

  • Fire Sprinkler Systems
  • Fire Hydrant & Fire Hose Reel Systems
  • Fire Detection & Alarm Systems

For Class 2 to 9 Buildings.

The Legislation requires that design of all active Fire Systems be checked and certified by newly accredited Fire Design Engineers.

Warren Smith & Partners have three (3) highly experienced professional Fire Services Designers who have completed the Fire Protection Accreditation Scheme FPAS.

Ian Stone (31 Years with Practice)
Expertise Leader – Fire
MOBILE: 0407 207 286
EMAIL: ua.mo1600411073c.hti1600411073msner1600411073raw@n1600411073ai1600411073
FPAS Accreditation No: FSD17478

David Bolt (25 Years with Practice)
Project Manager – Fire
MOBILE: 0425 256 922
EMAIL: ua.mo1600411073c.hti1600411073msner1600411073raw@d1600411073ivad1600411073
FPAS Accreditation No: FSD14563

Peter Brawley (25 Years with Practice)
State Manager Victoria
MOBILE: 0412 922 503
EMAIL: ua.mo1600411073c.hti1600411073msner1600411073raw@r1600411073etep1600411073
FPAS Accreditation No: FSD20802

In order to qualify for FPAS, Ian Stone, David Bolt & Peter Brawley were required to pass a rigorous induction and examination process to confirm their current expertise in each of the above Fire Protection Design disciplines.

Warren Smith & Partners as a significant contributor to the Fire Service Industry, are pleased to have played a significant role in formulating the following key new Legislation documents:-

Warren Smith & Partners recent contributions to the Fire Protection Industry

BCA 2016 Volume One Amendment 1 – March 2018
This amendment to BCA 2016 introduces the AS 2118.1 – 2017 ‘Fire Sprinkler Standard’ which includes for changes and advancements in Fire Sprinkler Technology, water supply and protection requirements.

Warren Smith & Partners provided technical input to the new AS 2118.1 – 2017 through its voluntary contribution the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC 4/8/9) of the Fire Protection Association Australia.

Sprinkler Protection to Electrical Equipment in Lift Shafts – Amendment to BCA 2019, Clause 13 of E1.5
Warren Smith & Partners instigated the request for change to the BCA through the Fire Protection Association due to wide ranging interpretations of the Clause.

The end result is simplification of the protection criteria which provides a cost-effective wet sprinkler protection to the Lift Shafts containing electrical equipment and enables Lift Shaft maintenance to be completed safely with the ability to isolate the sprinkler water supply in the Lift Shaft to minimise risk of electrocution caused by accidental sprinkler activation.

The proposed changes to Clause E1.5 of BCA 2019 are available in the public Draft and it should be noted that a Fire Engineered Solution will be required to adopt this innovation until BCA 2019 is implemented.

AS 2118.6 Combined Sprinkler / Hydrant Systems in multi-storey buildings
Warren Smith and Partners has successfully lobbied Australian Standards through the Fire Protection Association to update AS 2118.6 to enable alignment with recently published Fire Sprinkler & Fire Hydrant Standards and also ensure more effective fire-fighting facilities for operational challenges of fires in high-rise Towers.


Warren Smith & Partners golf day

The second annual Warren Smith & Partners golf day took place at Pennant Hills Golf Club on Tuesday 24th of October. Glorious weather greeted the teams that participated, with the course in immaculate condition. 39 players partook in the annual event with 30 guests and 9 staff attending. The golf day was an extremely valuable experience and allowed us to spend some down time with clients and consultants that we normally only see in the work environment.

Congratulations to the prize winners and thank you to our guests for joining us, we hope to see you again next year!