“A CROWNING moment in the relationship between Tomkins and the ACU” is how Tomkins’ construction manager Kane Keefe describes the Brisbane campus’ new Saint John Paul II Building.
“As to be expected, we were up against a very competitive field,” he said.
“That we were selected is a credit to a relationship developed over many years and many projects together … the ACU was well aware of Tomkins’ credibility and reliability.”
The Saint John Paul II Building, delivered by Tomkins Commercial and Industrial Builders within a tight 43-week timeframe, had many challenging aspects.
“It was a cruciform design with four quadrants skewed out of alignment,” Mr Keefe said.
“The hero piece was the mirrored curtain wall facade reflecting the chapel behind.
“We were also working with a lot of high-quality finishes – from American white oak veneer to stone on the ground floor bearing scriptural quotes from St John’s Gospel.”
The matching of the new building with the existing campus proved a further challenge, even down to the nearly 55,000 bricks required.
“We had to find current-day bricks that closely matched existing buildings but the Toowoomba manufacturers had shut down 20 years ago,” Mr Keefe said.
“PGH sourced brick batches from around Australia that were similar.
“The project team then took 12 weeks to meticulously trawl through pallets of bricks from all over the country … there was about 30 per cent wastage, though these were all recycled.”
Then there was the need to work around an active campus “meaning all construction activities had to be segregated from any student activities to not disturb the learning environment”.
Despite these many challenges, Tomkins finished the Saint John Paul II Building several weeks ahead of time to enable academic activities to begin at the start of 2015.
Mr Keefe’s pride in the finished project is evident as he talks about the project having been entered in the latest Queensland Master Builders Awards.
“It’s a state-of-the-art construction project with lots of interesting parts,” he said.
“And even with the various challenges it came in under time and was kept under $20 million.
“We are very confident of recognition for the team’s hard work.”