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Collingwood project targets sustainability kudos

30 October 2019

Key Information

  • InfraBuild Steel Centre has provided two structural steel packages for the Northumberland Tower development
  • Large-span steel members will be used to overcome complexities associated with the project’s lower floors
  • Pre-ordering the fabrication package helped minimise the risk of a long lead time in the supply chain.

InfraBuild Steel Centre (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Metalcentre) has helped reduce lead times and minimise material waste in the construction of a sustainable inner-city Melbourne development.

InfraBuild Steel Centre’s (formerly LIBERTY OneSteel Metalcentre) Scoresby branch has provided two structural steel supply packages for Grocon’s Northumberland Tower development in Collingwood in inner-city Melbourne.

The $120 million complex incorporates a full structural steel design across a 13-storey office building and a 5-storey companion building. Project partners have their sights set on it becoming one of the country’s most sustainable mixed-use developments. By combining sustainable construction initiatives with social innovation, the project aims to achieve a 6 Star Green Star rating and 5-star NABERS Energy rating, as well as international WELL building sustainability certification.

Retaining the existing phone exchange

Designed by architecture firm John Wardle Architects and with Grocon as developer, the Northumberland Tower building has retained its function as a Telstra telephone exchange, a decision that John Wardle described as having presented “extreme technical challenges”.

Maurice Pessot, Project Sales Manager for InfraBuild Steel Centre, Victoria, says the complexity of the project’s lower floors meant that 35m steel spans were needed to preserve the existing exchange.

“This was made possible by custom truss beams that could allow the new development to sit over the exchange,” Maurice says. “The thing to remember is that the exchange, which comprises a heap of machinery and generates an enormous amount of heat, had to remain operational throughout the build.”

Maurice says InfraBuild Steel Centre’s provision of fully certified, Australian-made structural steel to the project helped reduce complexity and risk in the steel supply chain. Over 850 tonnes of structurals, including universal beams and columns, were sourced from upstream business LIBERTY Primary Steel, allowing for an integrated manufacture-and-supply solution.

He adds that the project has kept a steady pace in spite of the difficulties associated with the building’s lower levels and that it has made a profound impact on the Collingwood skyline now that it is almost complete.

Two-stage supply package

InfraBuild Steel Centre’s steel supply package comprised two stages. The first was a free issue of structural linepipe directly to Grocon. To satisfy the project’s requirement for Green Star accredited materials, the linepipe was sourced using various procurement strategies. Grocon was able to mitigate the impact of the associated long lead time by placing the order for the package before sub-letting the fabrication contract.

“InfraBuild Steel Centre was also able to provide further value by sourcing custom lengths to reduce material wastage, which was a significant value-add to Grocon and its project,” Maurice says.

The second and main steel supply package was the supply of universal beams and columns for fabrication by long-term InfraBuild Steel Centre customer Aus Iron Industries, with 1100 tonnes provided in total.

Matt Meinhardt, Operations Manager from Aus Iron Industries, said: “InfraBuild is a trusted and preferred partner for our major projects. Having a dedicated project manager, and with [the company] having a proven track record of delivering the stock when I need it, we can focus on what we need to – delivery of the project.”

The completed Northumberland development is expected to add to Collingwood’s unique inner-city cultural fabric, with the design helping to celebrate the suburb’s gritty, industrial past. Occupants on the upper floors, however, will be able to sample the best of Melbourne’s views with vistas stretching to the CBD and beyond to the eastern suburbs and Port Phillip Bay.

The development is on track for completion in early 2020.

Main image courtesy John Wardle