Melbourne’s New Academic Street

Melbourne’s RMIT students have said they love being part of the city but it is hard to find space to relax and enjoy campus life. They want more places to collaborate and study. They also want basic functions, such as enrolment and program queries to be managed easily and efficiently without waiting in a queue. Taking from these ideas, RMIT is transforming the centre of its flagship City campus to improve the student experience.

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology’s New Academic Street (NAS) project promises to reinvigorate and reinvent the heart of the RMIT City campus, creating laneways, gardens, new student spaces and better library facilities.

The project comprises a complex building refurbishment of around 23,000 square metres and a new build of 6,500 square metres within the confines of Buildings 8, 10, 12 and 14. A carefully planned construction program will see significant upgrades to student facilities – the Swanston Library, the Student Hall (supporting enrolment and program queries), collaboration spaces and food options – to improve life on campus. The program is being delivered in three stages with a target completion in mid-2017. Key facilities will be completed progressively allowing students to enjoy the benefits as soon as possible.

The transformation also calls for substantial works on the facility’s existing fire protection systems and the installation of new fire safety-related equipment. The finished systems will support both refurbished and new areas.

Working with construction managers Lendlease, Walker Fire Protection is delivering design coordination, supply, delivery, installation, commissioning and certification of the fire services on this project. This includes the dry systems; smoke and fire detection and the Emergency Warning & Intercommunication System, and wet fire systems; sprinkler and hydrant systems. Also included are temporary and interim fire services systems, to keep the buildings fully operational and code compliant for the duration of the project.

One of the key challenges is in the preparation of the construction zones. Demolition and alterations are being undertaken to existing floor layouts. The Walker Fire Protection team supports these works by temporarily diverting or supporting the existing fire services around and through these zones, to allow refurbishment works to continue. Additional attention must also be given to areas that remain in use during the project. The construction team must always remain mindful of any noise impacts, with specific ‘noisy works’ unable to be undertaken between 8.30am-6.30pm.

The NAS building is one of the first educational facilities to be delivered under the Green Building Council of Australia’s 5 Star Green Star Interiors Pilot Tool that certifies the sustainability attributes of interior fitout.

“RMIT has a reputation for delivering innovative academic programs within stunning modern and historic buildings located in Melbourne’s CBD,” said Graeme Andrews, Services Manager at Lendlease. “Working with Walker Fire Protection, we know that we will be able to deliver to the University’s requirements, ensuring a reinvigorated Swanston Street campus that is properly fire protected.”

Working with Walker Fire Protection, we know that we will be able to deliver to the University’s requirements, ensuring a reinvigorated Swanston Street campus that is properly fire protected.Graeme Andrews, Services Manager, Lendlease

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