The University of Adelaide, Australian Institute For Machine Learning (AIML) Formerly, Women’s Health Centre

Australian Institute For Machine Learning (AIML) Formerly, Women’s Health Centre
The University of Adelaide
Managing Contractor
$11 Million

The Women’s Health Centre is a state heritage listed building originally constructed in 1935. With 2,400 square meters of floor space over four levels, the building required a complete refurbishment and extensive remediation, including the removal of walls and ceilings added to the base building over time. Works also involved the complete demolition and reinstallation of all services to ensure building code compliance.

The Sarah team worked closely and collaboratively with the design team and heritage consultants over an extended period, to ensure all works were respectful to the original build. On the ground floor heritage timber parquetry was restored, creating a feature entry to the building, while customised terrazzo was sourced to match existing heritage terrazzo in the amenities areas.

Despite challenges associated with the age of the building and numerous latent conditions, the project was completed to specification and within budget. The building, which is now the home of the Australian Institute for Machine Learning, is part of the Infrastructure Investment Program at the University of Adelaide which includes a works program of refurbishment, fit-out and extension projects.

“The planning and communication provided by Sarah Constructions around risk and program was exemplary as additional works came into play. The Sarah team worked hard to provide the best value for their client with some excellent results.”

Simon Fenwick, Project Manager, Capital Projects & Facilities Management - The University of Adelaide

Heritage Women’s Health Centre remarkably refurbished

The University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre internal fitout
The University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre internal fitout
The University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre Meeting Room
University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre Internal Stairwell
University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre Internal Workspace
University of Adelaide Womens Health Centre External Facade

Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • Hazardous black mould. Significant water damage to the basement level was discovered during the refurbishment. Over time, the water ingress had caused the growth of black mould to existing timber floors. Working closely with an environmental specialist and design team, the Sarah team safely removed the hazardous material and installed new concrete floor slabs with an underfloor drainage system to mitigate future issues.
  • Structural remediation of concrete beams. Extensive “honeycombing” was discovered throughout the existing concrete beams of the building following the demolition works to bring the building back to the base structure. Rather than leaving this structural issue with the client, the Sarah team sourced industry experts and worked with the project’s structural engineers to remediate the concrete beams on each floor, ensuring a sound building for many years into the future. The team then installed a new suspended ceiling as an alternative to extensive re-plastering works throughout all ceilings and to assist the construction program.
  • Unknown conditions. The new design for the heritage building was documented prior to any demolition taking place. As a result, the true existing conditions of the base building were at times unknown. Following demolition, extensive design changes and particularly to the new services install, were necessary to accommodate existing conditions and structure. The Sarah team worked flexibly and proactively regarding design changes throughout the build.

Client Outcomes

  • Entry with impact. The ground floor function space refurbished by the Sarah team creates a statement on entry. With an impressive audio visual screen installed along with the refurbished heritage timber parquetry flooring, this space adds a wow factor to the project and the University were very pleased with the end result.
  • Vision brought to life. By working through every challenge with commitment and engaging specialist input where required for the project, the Sarah team have successfully brought the University’s vision to life, reflecting their original intent perfectly.
  • On budget despite challenges. Sarah worked closely with the University and offered alternative approaches and methods to ensure budgets were maintained. This included working with existing penetrations through 400mm thick original walls for the services design and providing alternative lighting options. Sarah continued this budget management approach through the build despite numerous design challenges and issues that arose through latent conditions on site.

Sarah Value-Add

  • Dedication and additional resources. The team’s dedication to this project was significant. With the work extending beyond the original estimated timeline and scope, the Sarah team not only doubled down to deliver exceptional results, they provided and managed additional resources to ensure the best outcomes for their client.
  • Ongoing program review. Due to the challenging nature of this build, the Sarah team conducted regular program reviews throughout the project, as issues or additional scopes of work were required. Close and early communication around changes to the program or issues was key to the success of the project.
  • Environmental expertise engaged. During refurbishment, the Sarah team discovered lead paint throughout the building. Sarah took ownership of the issue and remediation, engaging an environmental consultant to assist in developing a lead management plan to ensure the issue was dealt with in a manner that was safe for all workers on site and future tenants. The solution was also sensitive to budget constraints and the works were programmed in the most efficient way possible to mitigate program delay.

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