Southern Cross Care
Aged Care / Retirement Living
Managing Contractor
$52 Million


  • Winner Retirement Living/ Aged Care (SA Chapter) - 2019 Master Builders Australia Building Excellence Awards
  • High Commendation 2019 Australian Institute of Building Professional Excellence in Building Awards (SA Chapter) - Commercial Construction $50+ Million

With a mix of premium retirement apartments and residential aged care suites, Carmelite sets a new benchmark for the delivery of retirement living in Adelaide. The 5-storey development features 73 residential care units, 38 two-bedroom assisted living units and areas for allied health services, including a therapy pool. The vertically integrated style of apartments and aged care accommodation, combined with state of the art facilities, is a first of its kind in South Australia.

Southern Cross procured Carmelite via Managing Contractor and engaged Sarah Constructions early in the design phase, to set the project budget in collaboration with the project team. The key remit was to ensure delivery of the project within time and cost constraints.  Sarah procured early trade packages to mobilise works, whilst the design was being detailed and completed.  Three “cost plan” review hold points were established upfront to ensure the project remained within budget.

Carmelite is constructed from a reinforced concrete frame superstructure with a mixture of façade cladding types, including various building projections and window boxes. For Southern Cross Care, this flagship project represents a progressive next chapter in their delivery of aged care services.

“Sarah Constructions have again provided Southern Cross Care with an amazing result and along the way, have demonstrated their difference in being a builder who focuses on collaboration, client support and a quality outcome.”  

Daniel Rosato, Group Manager - Development, Southern Cross Care

Construction To Meet The Evolving Nature Of Aged Care

Southern Cross Care Carmelite Vertically Integrated Retirement Living and Landscaping
Swimming Pool at Southern Cross Care Carmelite
Meeting room at Southern Cross Care Carmelite

Design Challenges and Creative Solutions

  • An initial ground-works delay, due to asbestos found in-ground caused scheduling delays and cost implications. This resulted in additional budget pressure which the Sarah team managed through design changes, alternative selections and construction methods. The consultancy team undertook additional reviews to incorporate the changes into the build, to realise cost savings.
  • Mid-way through the project, there was a large client driven design change to floor layout throughout facility. Sarah acted immediately to implement and manage these changes to avoid re-work or abortive work.
  • The Sarah design team identified and resolved a significant issue with the glass balustrade / sliding door system in all the Southern Apartments. The initial design wasn’t serviceable from a maintenance and cleaning perspective. The team reviewed the detail to create an alternative outcome, comprised of an integrated system of balustrade and bi-fold windows.

Client Outcomes

  • High quality finishes were identified as a key client priority from the project outset. The Sarah team were dedicated in their commitment to deliver this outcome for Southern Cross Care. The team worked closely with key consultants across the project to identify and resolve any concerns around detailing issues, to deliver exceptional quality across the build.
  • Managing the project cost was a critical factor for Southern Cross Care. Through the well-controlled design and construct process, and strict value management, Sarah kept variations to an absolute minimum. From re-engineering the structure to improve efficiency, through to assisting the tenant in their furnishing selection to stick within budget, Sarah collaborated with all parties to prevent cost creep.
  • The original concept for this flagship project was developed more than six years ago by Southern Cross Care. To see it come to fruition to high level standards, was both rewarding and an important milestone for the business.

Sarah Value-Add

  • The Sarah team exceeded expectations by mitigating the delay experienced in the early life of the project during civil works. By accelerating the program across the remaining course of the construction phase, the project was completed 8 weeks ahead of schedule.
  • With up to 195 people on site at one time, Sarah’s collaborative, people first approach was integral in delivering project objectives and positive working relationships. Through superior communication practices, Sarah ensured all stakeholders were kept informed and guided the smooth running of the project.
  • As quality represented a significant priority for this project, Sarah implemented additional measures for quality assurance. This included hold points along the way to inspect and verify job sequencing and execution, to ensure finishing details were robust and delivered the best possible solutions.

Make an appointment to discuss your next project with Sarah Constructions