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By Willow Aliento
August 21, 2017
Magic words in relation to any major construction project are “on time and on budget”. When it’s a project as major as preparing to host the 2018 Commonwealth Games, achieving it has engaged a cast of thousands.
The Gold Coast has seen a raft of new venue construction, facility upgrades, and infrastructure upgrades ahead of the games. Currently, the only major project yet to be completed is the $550 million athletes village being developed by Grocon. A spokesman for Grocon said the village will be ready for handover to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation [GOLDOC] by October this year.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk toured the games venues and village at the start of this month, and said the key planning milestones were being met.
“Thousands of hours of planning and hard work have already gone into ensuring we deliver an affordable, accessible and world-class Games, and we are on track to deliver just that,” she said. “In June, the Commonwealth Games Federation confirmed our preparations were on time and on budget, and we’re full steam ahead towards delivery.”
One of the requirements for all new builds and venue upgrades was environmentally sustainable design and construction, and accessibility under Universal Design principles. GOLDOC set an example from the outset, achieving a 4 Star Green Star – Interiors PILOT rating from the Green Building Council of Australia for its headquarters. The adaptive re-use of two former TAFE buildings
“Our Ashmore headquarters is a great example of a cleverly designed sustainable workplace with an emphasis on healthy and active living, with a range of accessible indoor and outdoor working spaces and high levels of indoor environment quality,” GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie said. “Our local suppliers have done a fantastic job creating a unique office environment for our workforce to deliver a successful GC2018.”
Gold Coast firm Condev Construction delivered the fit outs of the office and meeting space. Interior design was done by the Principal of the Gold Coast office of Group GSA Melissa Reid. Point Project Management oversaw the project management and WSP Parsons Brinckerhoff provided building engineering services for mechanical, electrical, fire, and hydraulics.
A spokesperson for the Queensland Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business, and the Commonwealth Games said that environmentally sustainable design and access consultants were engaged as a part of the design teams for all the games venues. They provided input and recommendations to stakeholders.
“All new buildings were designed to be universally accessible, including lifts and ramps where necessary, along with amenities and wayfinding signage,” the spokesperson said. “Existing venues that were refurbished were brought up to current code requirements where possible to improve universal accessibility. Building owners, consultants, and contractors were involved in the decision-making and incorporation of requirements into each project.”
The total spend on venue infrastructure was $320 million, the spokesperson said.
Three new venues were built and six competition venue upgrades completed. A seventh venue upgrade is currently being undertaken at the Carrara Indoor Stadium, which will be used for back-of-house operations.
The construction contracts for the various works packages were shared between South East Queensland-based builders and national heavyweights.
The new Coomera Indoor Sports Stadium was completed by 2016 by Hansen Yunkcen. They also completed the Carrara Sports and Leisure Centre, designed by BVN.
The Belmont Shooting Complex upgrade was completed by Broad Constructions, the Gold Coast Hockey Centre upgrade by Alder Constructions, and the Broadbeach Bowls Club upgrade by Condev Constructions.
The Anna Meares Velodrome at Chandler in Brisbane, Queensland’s first indoor velodrome, was designed by Cox Architecture and constructed by Watpac, which also completed the $41 million redevelopment of the Southport pool complex.
The Gold Coast Aquatic Centre, a redeveloped facility, was the first Games venue to be completed, in 2014.
Another new multi-purpose venue, Sound Stage 9 at Village Roadshow Studios in Oxenford, has also been built. It was delivered by Brisbane-based firm, Astute Projects. The venue is the largest sound stage in the southern hemisphere and will provide lasting benefits for the Queensland film industry, according to the spokesperson for the Department of Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth Games. Sound Stage 9, which will host the squash competition at Games time, has already been used for the filming of Hollywood blockbuster Thor: Ragnarok.
All of the games venues will “cement the Gold Coast and Queensland’s reputation as a world-leading event destination and help create a legacy pipeline that supports the visitor economy and attracts more major events in years to come”, the spokesperson said. “This sporting infrastructure is already being used for local, state, national, and international competition – creating an incredible legacy for both community sport on the Gold Coast, as well as assisting in the attraction of further international sporting events.”
It is not only a sporting facilities legacy being delivered.
Grocon’s 29 hectare master-planned Parklands Village residential and mixed-use community will result in 1252 apartments adjacent to the Gold Coast’s evolving Health and Knowledge precinct. The masterplan includes a Woolworth’s supermarket, open green space, community facilities, and a range of businesses and services.
The project has achieved a Six Star Green Star Communities rating from the Green Building Council of Australia and a Six Leaf EnviroDevelopment rating from the Urban Development Institute of Australia. It is the largest urban renewal project undertaken on the Gold Coast to date, with 6,030 workers inducted onto the site to date.
“We set out at Parklands to make a great place for people to live, work and play in this wonderful area,” Grocon’s CEO Craig Mitchell said.
Green Building Council of Australia CEO Romilly Madew said the Green Star rating reflected a long list of sustainability measures, construction initiatives, and considerable innovation.
“This Green Star rating is testament to Grocon’s commitment to innovation and investment in sustainability. Parklands showcases to the world Australia’s skills in designing, building and managing communities that deliver long-term economic, social and environmental benefits,” Madew said.
Sustainability initiatives have included the reinstatement of a natural creek and floodplain, the planting of over 100,000 trees across the site, sustainable building design, smart metering designed to reduce energy and water use, and dedicated community spaces.
Grocon will be leasing the development to GOLDOC for accommodating athletes and Games officials. Following the Games, Parklands will revert to management by Grocon on behalf of the investors.The one and two-bedroom apartments will be offered as rentals.
According to Mitchell, a gradual sell down of the asset would minimise the impact of the project on the Gold Coast property market.
“At Grocon we believe it is critical to create quality rental accommodation and that’s going to be an important legacy of the Commonwealth Games for the people of the Gold Coast,” he said.
In addition to Games-specific projects, other developments on the Gold Coast have been gathering momentum. The final weld on Stage 2 of the G:Link Gold Coast Light rail was completed at the end of July. The Queensland Government has committed $5 million to developing the business case for the next stage.
The $37 million first stage of ARM Architecture and Topotek1’s masterplan and design for the Gold Coast Cultural Precinct is also on track for completion by Games time. ADCO Constructions were appointed managing contractor for the works.
The development includes a Versatile Outdoor Space comprising a stage and event platform in a garden-style amphitheatre. It is designed to cater for audiences of up to 5000 and host a wide range of civic events and performances and initial Artscape works that will surround Evandale Lake.
The Gold Coast’s iconic Jupiter’s Casino is also getting in on the action. Rebranding as The Star early this year following an extensive refurbishment, the owners, Star Entertainment Group, are currently developing a Six Star Hotel tower at the front of the property. Probuild are undertaking the project, which is expected to be completed in time for the Games.
In a media statement about the project’s progress in 2016, Probuild Managing Director Peter Ward said the procurement of highly-skilled tradespeople was a strong focus. It is crucial in ensuring that the structure and services reflected the level of quality expected for the luxury development.
“It’s essential that every aspect of the new six-star tower is of an elevated standard which has been a huge consideration right from the start,” Mr Ward said. “Many of the hundred-plus trades working on site had previously been commuting for quite some time, so to see the passion they have for a project on their home turf, and the wealth of talent that’s emerged from the local area, has been really rewarding. They’re genuinely proud to be part of such an iconic development and as it continues to take shape, you’ll really start to see that reflected in its execution.”
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