Construction of $81m Cultural and Civic Space to commence in April

Construction of the Cultural and Civic Space building will commence next month, following Council approval of the project to the Design and Construction contract stage. Photo: Coffs Harbour City Council.


CONSTRUCTION of the Cultural and Civic Space building will commence next month, following Coffs Harbour City Council’s approval of progressing the controversial project to the Design and Construction contract stage.

Council recently approved the tender for the construction phase of the project, following a split vote between councillors at Council’s Ordinary Meeting on 25 February with Mayor Denise Knight using her casting vote to approve the tender, and the defeat of a Rescission Motion to revoke this decision at an Extraordinary Council Meeting on 4 March.

“This project will be a true game-changer for Coffs Harbour as we move forward from being a small coastal city to a bustling regional hub,” Coffs Harbour Mayor Cr Denise Knight said.

“Coffs Harbour needs this project, not only to help our recovery from the pandemic and support our transition after the bypass, but also to bring our cultural and civic facilities up to the standard our beautiful region and its community deserves.

“I have always supported the development of cultural facilities for Coffs Harbour, and I am so excited to finally see our new building take shape.”

The offer was put forward by Lipman Pty Ltd (Lipman), the company that won the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) tender for the building.

The Design and Construct contract with Lipman includes finalisation of the building’s design and construction of the building in accordance with that design.

Lipman is required to deliver the building for the agreed cost it has offered to finalise design and construction of the project.

“Having Lipman involved in the Detailed Design process alongside BVN Architecture has given them a strong and very thorough understanding of the scope and brief of the project,” Council’s General Manager Steve McGrath said.

“In addition, the ECI process has resulted in strong interest from local tradies, with approximately 55% of the cost of the building materials and labour being supplied by locals.

“We believe that this project is perfectly timed and placed to support local and region wide recovery from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Mr McGrath confirmed that the total cost of the project is now expected to be $81.27 million, which is approximately $4.75 million (6.2%) over the $76.52 million project budget, established in 2018.

“This project is still very much deliverable within Council’s long-term financial plan, especially considering that the current interest rate is 2.3% compared to the rate of 4.0% originally budgeted for,” Mr McGrath said.

“The main contributor to the increased project cost is the greater than expected escalation in construction costs over the past two and a half years.”

The Cultural and Civic Space building is due to be finished by the end of 2022.

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