Developing a home means grappling with complex and confusing Council regulations and often very difficult sites.  We make this a painless task and deliver liveable, affordable outcomes tailored to your tastes and which sit well in the landscape.

Our civil engineering design services include:

  • Site grading
  • Road, driveway and access design
  • Flood risk, drainage design & on site detention
  • Water Sensitive Urban Design
  • Green buildings
  • Permaculture design

Some want green roofs while others want green grass, either way we have the experience, skills and tools to design whatever you want so please call us to find out how we can help.

Birtles Residence

Client: Phil and Sarah Birtles

Phil is one of Sydney’s leading scientists and a water innovator. It was no surprise to learn that he was keen to include as many water positive actions in his “legacy” eco-house as possible.

We worked with Phil and his Architect, Wendy Wheatly, to develop an integrated water management plan to meet Council’s stringent requirements. Sustainability Workshop helped to create the high levels of liveability desired by our client.

Measures proposed included:

  • Rainwater tanks to supply hot water, toilets and laundry
  • A lush green roof overlooked by a second story home office
  • A mini wetland and water feature which forms part of an outdoor BBQ area and patio
  • A grassy bioretention system to enable Phil’s children to enjoy some flat lawn whilst still treating the stormwater to meet requirements
  • A grey water diversion device to enable the garden to be irrigated with grey water instead of potable water.

This wholistic approach is not for everyone – we get that.  It is however an exemplar of sustainable water and energy management and demonstrates what can be done when the will is there.  If this project inspires your passion for a sustainable future then please call us for a no obligation discussion.

Waratah Road

Client: Clark family

Sustainability Workshop was engaged by the Clark family first to prepare a stormwater management plan and basic report for one house in a new three lot subdivision at Wentworth Falls. Being easy to deal with and providing value, we ended up doing all three lots.

We designed a simple rainwater tank and infiltration system using Atlantis cells.  The design needed to ensure peak flows and pollutant loads did not increase and we did this by infiltrating the water back into the ground to protect local waterways and the drinking water catchment feeding into Warragamba Dam.

The design was approved by Council and construction completed in 2016.  Sustainability Workshop were subsequently commissioned to do the same work for the house next door and for the house at the rear.  All three projects were approved by Council with relative ease.

Cross Street

Client: Taylor

Our client has a beautiful house in Blackheath on a steep block of land – typical for the mountains. As part of a major renovation Sustainability Workshop were commissioned by Architect, Robin McInnes, to design a sweeping driveway to allow vehicular access to a new garage.

We carried out a swept path analysis to ensure that our client could safely navigate around the proposed loop and park with ease.  We also designed the gradient and levels of the steep driveway and vehicular crossing of the footpath to ensure compliance with As2890 (Australian standard for off road parking) needed to gain Council approval.


It is tougher than ever to develop.  Regulatory hurdles must be jumped as quickly as possible to keep holding costs down.  Using a solid knowledge of planning law, we rapidly realign the expectations of all stakeholders.

Our design and project management services include:

  • Civil Engineering – site grading, roads, drainage, flooding, car parks etc
  • Specialist expertise in water quality management, Water Sensitive Urban Design and Integrated Water Cycle Management
  • New housing estates, business and industrial development of all scale
  • Staff training, mentoring and capacity building
  • Expert witness testimony

We use our good knowledge of planning to guide our clients and negotiate the fine line between profit and sustainability.  Please call to discuss a project or just to pick our brains and scope out potential solutions – we excel with a good challenge.

Ashgrove Estate

Client: Mirvac

The design of the Ashgrove Estate at Regents Park is a fantastic example of successful water sensitive urban design which has been subtly woven into the fabric of this new western Sydney village. Most residents wouldn’t even know they were relaxing in a park that also filtered and detained their stormwater runoff.

How was this done? We designed a “bio-park” which is a multipurpose open space functioning as a park and a bioretention and detention system, irrigated with abundant stormwater stored in a large buried tank.

Ashgrove Estate won a 2008 Premier’s Green Globe Award for its outstanding civil and environmental engineering design notably its sustainable and communal approach to water management.

This design approach has evolved and been refined over the last 15 years of practice, is based on solid scientific research (several PhDs) and is finally receiving the recognition it deserves through more widespread adoption by others.  For example the approach is now an acceptable solution with Blacktown City Council who are actively pursuing both traditional and grassy bioretention systems.

Please call us to help develop your site – especially if you are space constrained.  We always manage to find an opportunity.

Borgs Manufacturing

Client: Borgs Manufacturing

Debarking and shredding timber and then creating MDF or particle board using steam can be a dirty business and also a water intensive business. We worked closely with Borgs Manufacturing for several months to plan a wholistic water management strategy and then design a water quality management system for their 24 hectare and growing production facility at Oberon.

Expert at water quality modelling, we designed a system of swales and water quality ponds combined with stormwater harvesting and reuse to exceed stringent EPA licence conditions.

Stormwater harvesting on this site is a no brainer.  An existing membrane plant on site had spare capacity and water quality ponds would be able to store about 15 ML of stormwater runoff.  This outcome will save Borgs $3.35 per 1,000 litres of water used.  This translates into a substantial annual saving for Borgs and leaves plenty of potable in the Oberon dam for other uses, while protecting the environment too.  This shows how focusing on sustainability and cleaner production can save money too!

Gullen Solar Farm

Client: Goldwind

Goldwind engaged Sustainability Workshop to help them gain an approval from Water NSW for a proposed 10 MW solar farm at Gullen, near Goulburn. The proposal would cover over 30 hectares of land with a solar array which includes some steeply sloping areas and areas of highly erodible soils. We worked closely with Goldwind to initially map the different potential erosive risk areas.

Once the risk of each areas was defined we then worked collaboratively with Goldwind staff to develop affordable risk management options.  This required us to understand the construction technique and equipment in detail and to then develop a suitable (non-traditional) response which would provide a long term sustainable outcome.  We facilitated negotiation with Water NSW and an approval was granted.

We have been assessing water quality in the drinking water catchments for nearly 20 years.  In that time, we have established a good reputation with both government and developers.  We are known for our scientific and yet pragmatic approach to water quality. We actively seek (and find) the happy middle ground.  Our clients appreciate this because it leads to an expedited development approval.


We are included on the NSW Local Government Vendor Panel (LGP) making it painless and simple to procure our services.

LGP approved contractor logo

Working within government for many years has given us great insight into the politics and competing demands placed on public sector projects.  We understand that it takes much more than a good plan to get a project over the line.  All manner of risks need to be managed.

Whether designing a culvert for fish passage on a remote rural road, a car park for a tourist facility in the Blue Mountains or mentoring Council or State government staff in the heart of Sydney or the bush we always maintain an open, collaborative, innovative and outcome driven approach.

Our public-sector services include:

  • Advice on planning – development of DCPs, rezoning applications, strategic planning of any kind
  • Development Assessment advice including peer reviews
  • Civil Engineering – site grading, roads, drainage, flooding, car parks etc
  • Specialist expertise in water quality management, Water Sensitive Urban Design and Integrated Water Cycle Management
  • New housing estates, business and industrial development of all scale
  • Staff training, mentoring and capacity building
  • Expert witness testimony

Please call us – we always aim to help our clients deliver outcomes that make them shine.

Blacktown International Sports Park

Client: Blacktown City Council

In 2013 Blacktown Council commenced the design of a $4.5 million stormwater harvesting scheme needed to irrigate the state significant and rapidly growing Blacktown International Sports Park. The scheme is predicted to yield 170 ML/a.

Sustainability Workshop was engaged to help develop the design including review of concept and detailed design documentation, shaping and designing a constructed wetland, use of floating wetlands within 2 large storage ponds, design of inlet trash rack which is a $40k deflector with an inbuilt tilting weir, location of storage tanks and more. Mark has provided advice to Council through construction and commissioning.

The scheme is now operating and is at the end of its first proving period.  Water quality is excellent, turbidity less than 2 NTU, faecal coliforms <1.  This is remarkable for a scheme which uses natural systems to treat the stormwater with some help from a filter, chlorine dosing and UV filter to disinfect the otherwise high quality, clear water.

Urban Water Cycle Policy

Client: Newcastle City Council

Sustainability Workshop teamed with Nerida Taylor to help Newcastle City Council revitalise its 10 year old urban water cycle policy. While Newcastle was an innovator and leader for many years, an unfavorable political climate had stalled earlier efforts and limited progress towards the general adoption of water sensitive urbanism within the Council.

We interviewed all relevant staff, prepared a comprehensive briefing paper for a workshop and then facilitated the workshop to distill a Council vision as well as identify opportunities and weaknesses on behalf of Council.  Following the workshop, we took on board stakeholder comments and then worked closely with Council’s project team to produce a draft urban water cycle policy which was adopted in March 2017.

Eastwood Town Centre Flood Alleviation

Client: Ryde City Council

Sustainability Workshop teamed with Enstruct and Footprint to develop and test the feasibility of several flood alleviation options needed to reduce significant flood risk of the Eastwood Town Centre. Building on earlier work by Bewsher, we developed and undertook TUFLOW modelling of several options for alleviating up to 2.5m deep flooding in the town centre.

Estimated to cost $9 million a flood alleviation culvert would facilitate the economic revitalization of this valuable town centre.  The preferred approach was shown to reduce the depth of flooding in a 100 year event by over 2m in some locations.