Old Parliament House - Canberra

Old Parliament House, the High Court of Australia, and the National Portrait Gallery are three of the most iconic buildings at the heart of Australia’s capital. Rich in history, and significant to Australia’s past, present and future, each is very distinctive in design, purpose and ongoing maintenance requirements.

Managing the scheduled and corrective building services maintenance requirements of three buildings under an integrated delivery model enables resources, knowledge and innovation to be shared across the sites. This, in turn, will lead to improvements in systems reliability and efficiency, and best-in-class outcomes for all.

This is precisely how Integrated Technical Management (ITM) is planning and managing its delivery of electrical, mechanical, fire and building services maintenance to Old Parliament House, the High Court of Australia and the National Portrait Gallery. Yet, at the same time, never losing sight of each facility’s distinctive characteristics, specific service parameters and the particular challenges that these bring.

Old Parliament House is central to Canberra’s Parliamentary Triangle. It opened in 1927 and served as the seat of the Parliament of Australia until 1988. In 2009, it became home to the Museum of Australian Democracy (MOAD). The building, with its original fittings and furnishings, is heritage-listed and has a set of specific standards and protocols around maintenance and restoration, including its own Heritage Management Plan. As with all three buildings, which are open to the public year-round, continuity of building services is essential. The challenge here, however, lies within a large number of stakeholders who must be approached before changes to the building can be made. The ITM team must be careful; not just when undertaking maintenance works, but also in the identification and planning of new building system concepts or innovations; ensuring that the building’s heritage will not be compromised.

The scope of works across all three sites includes managing and maintaining the operation and functionality of all the mechanical, electrical, fire, hydraulic and associated building services, including the Building Management and Controls Systems, along with lifts, roller shutter and automatic doors. On-site multi-skilled ITM technicians are supported 24/7 by the A.G. Coombs Group’s National Customer Service Centre and always have access to A.G. Coombs’ engineering and broader technical capabilities.

A whole-of-life asset management approach has been adopted to achieve the best operational and long-term outcomes for all three facilities. This approach considers the entire lifecycle of building services assets; based on detailed condition audits through to lifecycle replacement strategies. Maintenance criticality ratings are assigned to the assets based on the nature of the item, the role it plays in the building services system, and the criticality of the facility function supported. A sophisticated Computerised Maintenance Management System is used to drive the specially tailored maintenance programs for each facility.

At the National Portrait Gallery, around-the-clock close tolerance temperature and humidity control, made possible via carefully designed and maintenance critical HVAC systems, is helping to preserve the valuable artwork on display. And throughout the building, key lighting systems play an important role in visitor satisfaction, in bringing the portraits of prominent Australians to life.

Overlooking Lake Burley Griffin, and a short walk from the Portrait Gallery is the High Court of Australia. The 40-metre tall building is essentially one of concrete and glass comprising a number of major functional elements, including a large public hall, three courtrooms, an administrative wing, and Justice’s chambers. In supporting its working functions there are significant mechanical, electrical and other technical systems, at various points in their life cycle, requiring appropriate levels of maintenance.

ITM has a unique whole-of-asset-life approach to building services management and maintenance; one that ensures the best outcomes for everybody.

Stephen Kaye, Manager Facilities & Procurement, Museum of Australian Democracy

Contract Overview

Contract Name: Old Parliament House - Maintenance in the heart of Canberra

Location: Canberra, ACT

Client: Museum of Australian Democracy, National Portrait Gallery, High Court of Australia

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