The Ballina Shire Council is pursuing legal action over major cost blow-outs in constructing the Lennox Head Community Centre, which are expected to see the completed cost rise to close to $10 million.
The Ballina Shire Council is pursuing legal action over major cost blow-outs in constructing the Lennox Head Community Centre, which are expected to see the completed cost rise to close to $10 million.

$1.5m costs blow-out for centre

MAJOR faults and shortfalls in the design for the Lennox Head Community Centre will see costs skyrocket by at least $1.5 million.

Construction of the centre has been plagued with problems, res-ulting in the Ballina Shire Council sacking the original architects in January.

The council is pursuing legalaction against the Melbourne-based firm, Greenway Hirst Page.

Archimages Architecture was hired to finalise the detailed designs for the project, and found major problems with the acoustics, the roof (which was not weatherproof) and the type of gutters.

Some parts of the building have had to be completely redesigned.

A further review by GHD Consulting found the water main connections were incorrect; the toilet exhaust systems did not comply with Australian standards, and that the air-conditioning system was poorly designed and inadequate.

The electrical design included a ‘grossly undersized’ switchboard and inadequate car park lights.

The security system also lacked basic detail and no fire detection system was documented.

The council’s general manager, Paul Hickey, admitted Greenway Hirst Page had ‘let us down’.

“We believe we have a strong case to lodge an insurance claim,” he said.

Cr Jeff Johnson, at a facilities committee meeting last night, said the number of shortcomings in the original design was ‘shocking’.

“It seems like almost everysingle component of this building is not adequate,” he said.

The added costs for the project now include:

 

 Costs for Bennett Constructions to stay on site for an extra 30 to 36 weeks: $420,000.

 

 Changes to the library and administration roof design: $146,000.

 

 Air-conditioning: $263,000.

 

 Wall and ceiling linings: $195,000.

 

 Electrical work: $126,000.

 

 Consultant fees: $500,000.

The final cost of the centre will now be close to $10 million.

Cr Keith Johnson last night moved a motion for Mr Hickey to detail ways to prevent similar situations in the future.



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