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Traditional construct only case study

We explore traditional building procurement, read more in this case study.

You can download the traditional construct case study here or find the full text below.

Traditional building procurement is based upon full lump sum contracts. Under these commonly used forms of contract, the architect is engaged directly by government to undertake all stages of the design process and act as superintendent in administering the client’s separate contract with the builder.

Action to benefit good design 

  • A clear design intent and brief explaining the design philosophy as part of the tender documents will help protect the design quality.
  • A well-defined scope of work and comprehensive documentation to minimise variations to the contract price.
  • Careful selection of the design team to ensure requisite design expertise in addition to capacity and experience.
  • Establish appropriate contingencies.
  • Engage design advice from the architect to assist with design quality management in brief and contract development.
  • The client understands the impartial role of the architect and their expert advice, independent of the builder.
  • Ensure provision for independent design advice at key project milestones. This may include advice from a design quality team or design review at the end of schematic design or design development.

Case study: Suzanne Cory High School, Werribee

Project Background

Suzanne Cory High School is a purpose built, co-educational, selected entry high school for a maximum enrolment of 800 for Years 9–12 students. It is one of the four selective entry state high schools in Victoria and opened in 2011.

Key initiatives adopted to protect the design quality

  • Aspirational brief supporting best practice in education and sustainability.
  • Establishing a clear scope of works that reflects the intent of the school curriculum and pedagogy.
  • A design champion, who at the time was a Deputy Secretary of the Department of Education and Early Childhood (DEECD).
  • Selection of architects through an Expression of Interest (EOI) and interview process.
  • Allowing the architect to select the sub-consultants based on past experience and appropriateness.
  • A Project Control Group (PCG) that included a diverse range of experts, and that followed the project through to completion.
  • Architects engaging the shortlisted building contractors in the design intent during the final stages of the tender process. This involved a computer generated ‘3D walk through’, outlining critical aspects of the construction that related to the design concept and the Greenstar requirements.
  • Maintaining flexibility in exploring alternate construction methods (eg. waffle pod slab vs traditional slab design), to enable contractor innovation and to allow tight program to be met.
Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke
Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke

Constraints

  • Time for schematic design and design development.
  • Adequate allowance in the budget, scope and programme for latent conditions or a lack of infrastructure services, e.g. water/gas supply.
  • Ensure one client representative for the design team to liaise with, as opposed to a range of individuals.
Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke
Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke

What worked well

  • Collaboration between the architects and the PCG, and a smooth transition to the new principal.
  • Adequate budgeting to deliver projected landscape works.
  • An aspirational brief with strong support from a design champion within the department.

The building’s design provides integrated and flexible learning spaces to create a pre-university environment for high achieving students. Innovation lies in the building’s spatial organisation, which arranges learning. Social and administrative spaces are placed in an ‘open’ arrangement around an internal landscaped ‘Agora’ space, the school’s social, spatial and environmental heart.

The whole school is conceived as a “learning instrument” where the structure and services are put on display and resource use is logged for the purpose of student projects and for community engagement. Even the plantings in the landscape are tailored to learning with separate gardens designed around various parts of the curriculum and linked with specialist project spaces. The building has a powerful connection with its site on the Western Volcanic plains. Geological metaphors - including lava flows - were used to generate the building form. Earth from the site forms part of a geothermal heating system and is used to create sheltering berms which also define outdoor spaces, on the otherwise windswept plains. The building uses passive and active solar design. It is the first five star Greenstar rated school in Victoria and includes a pressure adjustable Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene (ETFE) roof to the agora, hybrid ventilation system via subterranean labyrinths, high efficiency hydronic convective heating, and a mix of recycled and rainwater reuse to minimise potable water consumption.

Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke
Suzanne Corey High School, Werribee, Architects: Brand Architects, Design Architect: Laurence Robinson, Photographer: Andrew Wuttke

Reviewed 21 April 2020

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