Queensland Cultural Centre

Located across the river from the Brisbane CBD, the Queensland Cultural Centre, owned and managed by the Queensland Government, has been home to the State’s leading arts and cultural institutions for almost 40 years.

The heritage-listed Queensland Cultural Centre was originally built over an 11-year, multi-stage program that began with the construction of a new Queensland Art Gallery, underground carpark and central services plant in 1977.

The largest facility of the precinct, the Queensland Performing Arts Centre, was completed in late 1984 and comprised of three venues – the Lyric Theatre (2,000 seats), Concert Hall (1,600 seats) and the adaptable Cremorne Theatre (277 seats).

The six-level Queensland Museum building was added to the precinct in 1986, while Stage 4 of the program saw the State Library of Queensland and Fountain Restaurant (now The Edge) completed in 1988. This coincided with Brisbane’s hosting of the World Expo ’88 on the revitalised South Bank.

While a number of facility refurbishments were conducted in the years following, it was not until 2006 that the site was expanded with the addition of the Gallery of Modern Art, announced as part of the Millennium Arts Project, which also included an award-winning redevelopment of the State Library.

More recently, the Queensland Government committed to the construction of a new 1,500-seat theatre on the Playhouse Green site, expected to be completed in late 2022.

Given the scale, complexity and age of buildings and services across the Cultural Centre, A.G. Coombs was engaged by Facility Manager Honeywell in 2018 to fulfil a comprehensive mechanical and building services maintenance contract.

A.G. Coombs maintains an almost permanent presence on the site seven days a week, with a team of technicians operating in carefully managed shifts from 7am to midnight.

This team performs service and maintenance to mechanical and building services assets in all public and back-of-house spaces. Working closely with key stakeholders, this work is scheduled around public opening hours in the galleries and library, as well as theatre performances and rehearsals to avoid services disruptions.

To this end, individual asset management has proven critical with A.G. Coombs having completed a detailed asset audit and register to determine asset functionality and access availability.

A whole-of-life approach has been taken to the maintenance of the Queensland Cultural Centre’s building and mechanical services, including the precinct’s river water cooling system.

Designed and installed as part of the Queensland Gallery of Modern Art, the energy-efficient system draws on cool water from the Brisbane River to provide heat rejection in lieu of traditional cooling towers. Now 14 years old, the system requires regular maintenance to ensure efficient operation.

A.G. Coombs has recently managed the replacement of pumps serving this system and will work closely with a specialist maintenance provider to achieve longevity of the plant.

During this year’s forced closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, A.G. Coombs worked collaboratively with Honeywell and Arts Queensland to take the opportunity to deploy specific maintenance activities. These included energy efficiency upgrades such as the addition of variable speed drives (VSDs) to air handling units within the Performing Arts and Playhouse venues, a proposed upgrade to outside air systems which includes the introduction of CO2 monitoring.

A.G. Coombs has made a significant contribution by understanding the diversity of the precinct and its buildings, working through the complexity of maintenance scheduling and bringing improvements to operating efficiencies and comfort conditions across the site.”

Frank Ferreira, Operations Manager, Honeywell

Contract Overview

Contract Name: Queensland Cultural Centre

Location: Brisbane, Queensland

Client: Honeywell

Contract Type

Mechanical and Building Service & Maintenance Contract

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