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Project still on budget, if not time

Wednesday, 1st February, 2017

Project Manager Michael O’Brien and Building Director Nathan O’Neil at the Civic Centre yesterday. Project Manager Michael O’Brien and Building Director Nathan O’Neil at the Civic Centre yesterday.

By Daniel Stringer

The architect and building manager of the Civic Centre redevelopment have addressed the recent asbestos incident, saying the situation is under control. 

On Monday last week it was announced that a piece of asbestos had fallen from the ceiling, causing the building to be shut down and work to come to a halt. 

Project Manager Michael O’Brien from architecture firm AJ+C spoke to the media and several councillors yesterday, updating them on the situation.  

The project manager said that the situation was low risk, given the size of the asbestos. 

“They measure risk on a scale of low to high and the reading came back as in the low risk category,” Mr O’Brien said.

“The actual piece of asbestos was very minor in size, measuring only the size of a tennis ball,” he said. 

A sample of the asbestos was sent to Adelaide company, Carters Asbestos Management, which conducted testing and provided a report.  

Mr O’Brien says that the report made some clear recommendations on how to proceed. 

“What will happen now is that they have given us a lengthy report on how to deal with the problem.

“The report recommends that a full sweep of the buildings ceiling be carried out to remove any dust and we have passed that recommendation on to council.”  

Council’s General Manager, James Roncon, said they will follow this recommendation and carry out the cleaning of the building’s ceiling. 

“Now that we know there is a recommendation that has come forward regarding broader investigation, I think it would be irresponsible not to follow that,” Mr Roncon said. 

“While we do not expect there to be any issues, we just want to be sure and do the appropriate testing.” 

The project was originally slated for a December 2016 completion date, however several delays had pushed that back. The latest issue with the fallen asbestos has caused further delays and Mr O’Brien says that setting a timeframe for completion isn’t possible at this stage. 

“The cleaning of the asbestos areas in regards to mopping the floor space should take place in the next few days. 

“It is going to delay the project a bit more, but our opinion aligns with council - and that is anything that can tidy it all up a bit more is worth doing.

“It is hard to set an exact date on when the project will finish. We are a little bit behind schedule but by only a week or two.” 

The delays have also raised questions about the impact on the project’s finances, as typically any project that runs overtime generally causes a budget blow out. 

But Mr O’Brien said the project was still within the original budget of $5.7 million. 

“In general terms the project is going quite well in regards to cost and we have had discussions with council regarding the budget.

“The project is still under budget and we may be lucky enough to still have the contingency funds to cover this issue.”

The building site was reopened late last week, however the auditorium and kitchen areas remain closed for decontamination. Council has said they will not be taking any bookings for events until a completion date is set.

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