Aerial view of housing assets at Nhulunbuy; Aerial view of housing assets at Nhulunbuy;

DEAL Housing Asset Management Advice, Nhulunbuy, NT

How have we helped to add value to remote communities in the East Arnhem region?

Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL) is a not for profit economic development body facilitating connections between industry, government and community to support growth in the East Arnhem region for the benefit of the local population. Their vision is to support a self-sustaining and prosperous region known for its economic opportunities and culturally diverse community.

Arup is helping to achieve those aims by developing an asset management framework for 250 housing assets allocated by Rio Tinto as rental properties to support new and existing businesses in the region. Our work will allow development to take place by ensuring that the properties are maintained and managed in a sustainable and economical way.

Project Summary


250assets in the housing portfolio

$35 millionin approximate asset value

7yearasset management contract established by Arup

To work with an organisation like Arup has been really useful. Arup has a core understanding and its belief structure is around the delivery of benefit to the community, and that has meant that they really understand the benefits we’re trying to deliver, and the diverse interests that we have as an organisation in our projects. ”

Carley Scott CEO, Economic Development, Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL)
Carley Scott - CEO, Economic Development, Developing East Arnhem Limited (DEAL)
Aerial view of housing assets at Nhulunbuy Aerial view of housing assets at Nhulunbuy

The housing is for both existing local residents and businesses, and will support the growth of several indigenous companies as well as encourage outside investment in the area. This will improve the overall sustainability of the community living in this area and the broader Gove Region.

Arup was engaged to complete an independent review of housing asset condition data, with the overall aim of the project to ensure that the client would be able to make informed business decisions based on this independently tested data. 

This involved undertaking a desktop assessment of information provided by DEAL relating to numbers, types and condition of the 250 assets to be transferred from Rio Tinto.

We then conducted a visual inspection on site to assess building and structural components, finishes, and fire and life safety elements. 


This project has provided a fantastic opportunity to work with a socially responsible and collaborative client who is keen on getting what they want. It has also helped Arup staff to understand key constraints associated with working on remote community housing projects. It has pushed us to think beyond the square and develop a robust framework within a tight budget. ”

Daniyal Mian Principal, Transport & Resources Support

Arup identified a number of key risks relating to poor structural conditions of some assets, potential fire separation issues, and concerns regarding shared costs of communal areas.

These findings were presented in a summary report along with recommendations for the asset transfer and proposed next steps for DEAL’s housing management needs.




These proposed steps included a set of robust processes to ensure that the housing assets are adequately maintained and remain as a viable source of income. They will also help to identify priority risk elements and provide more informed decision making associated with budget allocation.

As a result, DEAL now has a comprehensive understanding of the current asset condition and are better equipped to minimise maintenance expenditure, allowing them to focus investment on other activities.