SingaporeHDR has appointed Tim Napper as its Defence Principal in a move that fortifies the company’s defence capability at a critical juncture for the Department of Defence, following this year’s Strategic Review.

Working between Sydney, Melbourne and Canberra, Napper will lead HDR’s growing defence team and be supported by its senior leadership team, comprising Stuart Aslett, Maurice Valentinuzzi, Alex Wessling, Huey Moo, Brendan Grayson, Michael Shelley and Design Principal Simon Fleet, who will continue to play an instrumental role in delivering design excellence.

“It’s inspiring to be leading a team with such breadth and depth of industry experience,” Napper said. “With a cohort of emerging talent rising up the ranks, and an interconnected global defence, science and technology exchange, we can truly operate at the cutting-edge of design to deliver human-centred solutions that solve some of Defence’s most critical challenges and build workforce attractiveness.”

With 20 years of experience, Napper joins HDR from the Department of Defence, where he was a project director in the Capital Facilities and Infrastructure Branch and delivered a multibillion-dollar portfolio of infrastructure projects and programs in Australia, the Middle East and Papua New Guinea. Notable projects include the $3.1+ billion Garden Island Redevelopment Subprogram, $1.3 billion Armoured Fighting Vehicles Facilities Program, and the $425 million Mosul Dam Remediation Program.

“Speed of delivery is more critical than ever before, and HDR’s data-driven design team will enable us to deliver on Australia’s Defence enterprise priorities at a never-seen-before pace, while not compromising on design excellence,” Napper said. “By challenging business-as-usual thinking and processes and using innovative tools and methodologies to address key industry drivers, we have a unique opportunity to set a new benchmark for the sector.”

Using computational and generative design, manipulated parameters can be rapidly evaluated in real-time to test the specific programmatic needs of Australia’s Defence Estate. Operational data such as power consumption patterns and meal pass data from training facilities can now be extrapolated to identify usage trends and assist planners in making informed decisions about space utilisation, operating cost and occupancies.

With mandatory sustainability reporting soon to be introduced in Australia, Napper will employ HDR’s global Regenerative Design Framework and Tool to support the Department of Defence in moving beyond basic high-performance goals towards net-positive impacts and metric-driven targets for carbon, water, nutrients, air, biodiversity, social and health categories.

“This, coupled with fostering a digital-first design culture, will enable transparent, data-driven justifications that accelerate government infrastructure decision-making and foster living collaboration from the outset of a project, rather than static documentation that can be disconnected from the human element of the design,” Napper said. “Not only this, but through encouraging a digital shift in the format of deliverables, which we can do without changing Commonwealth contracts, we’ll be able to leverage comprehensive virtual replicas of base developments and high-tech military capability facilities to address workforce, ecological, social, cultural and financial challenges faster and more holistically.”

“With Tim Napper at the helm, our Australian defence sector is well positioned to enter its next phase of growth and expand its market capture” said Susana Erpestad, global director of federal architecture at HDR. “As strategic partnerships continue to grow in significance, our multilateral, borderless approach to defence design across the U.S. and the Commonwealth countries will propel our capability edge and strengthen our nations in these times of uncertainty.”

A chartered professional engineer, Napper is also an adjunct lecturer at UNSW (Canberra), a Fellow of Engineers Australia, and the deputy chair and secretary for Engineers Australia’s College of Leadership & Management (Canberra Division).

Ranked No. 2 in the World Architecture Survey of Top 100 Global Architecture Practices and No. 6 in Engineering News-Record’s Top 500 Design Firms, HDR has been delivering projects for the Department of Defence for over 30 years. They were the first practice to deliver a project under the Managing Contractor model, introduced in 1993, and were part of a design consortium that in 2004 delivered the first ever Defence Public-Private Partnership project.

Key projects include the $1.8 billion Riverina Redevelopment Program; Robertson Barracks Base Improvement Program; RAAF Base Tindal Redevelopment Stage 6 and U.S. Force Posture Initiatives, Airfield Works and Associated Infrastructure Project; AIR5428 Pilot Training System Program; AIR 9000 Phase 8 MH-60R Seahawk Romeo Facilities Project; Defence Logistics Transformation Program Package 1; and the Australian Defence Force Academy Redevelopment.


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