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Justifying the pleasure dome

By 5 July 2011 10

The Economic Development Directorate is making the case for a large office building to envelop all the minions of the ACT Government:

The building will allow for more efficient and integrated service delivery to the Canberra community. Many existing Government buildings are old and cannot be brought up to today’s standards, even with a significant investment. Proceeds from the sale of these buildings will offset the cost of the new building.
Importantly, the investment in the project will not come at the expense of other capital works for the Canberra community. By constructing and owning the building, the Government will save money by not paying rent – while also holding an asset of considerable commercial value into the future.
The building will achieve a high environmental standard that would not otherwise be possible using the existing buildings. The new building will reduce the Government’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions, moving us towards carbon neutrality.
The Canberra public will have better access to Government services through the new building, with a central public interface located in the City centre. It will also provide a focal point for future transport options along Northbourne Avenue.
The building will:
– improve interaction within the Canberra Theatre precinct and will act as a Town Hall – including public access meeting rooms, and a one-stop shopfront for ACT Government services;
– ensure that the accommodation standards afforded to ACT public servants match those in the Commonwealth, helping us to attract and retain staff;
– provide significant environmental, economic, and workforce benefits; and
– offer the best value-for-money for ACT taxpayers.

The ‘do nothing’ option is not only irresponsible but will actually cost Canberrans more than the proposed building.

They’ve certainly put a lot of work into it.

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10 Responses to
Justifying the pleasure dome
dpm 5:06 pm
05 Jul 11
#1

“Many existing Government buildings are old and cannot be brought up to today’s standards, even with a significant investment. Proceeds from the sale of these buildings will offset the cost of the new building.”
So who’d be stupid enough to buy ones of these supposedly crap old buildings? Shhh, better keep that fact on the QT until you’ve offloaded them to some suckers! Hahaha!

“…The building will achieve a high environmental standard that would not otherwise be possible using the existing buildings. The new building will reduce the Government’s energy consumption and CO2 emissions, moving us towards carbon neutrality…”

Hmmm, regarding this, I’ve heard a rumour that the (new, shiny, high-EER) DAFF building on Marcus Clarke st, has lots of temperature issues. Rumour is some staff are given heated mats(?) for their desks in winter, and the west-facing windows have triple-layer curtains to keep heat out in summer?
Can anyone confirm such odd and expensive EER issues (for a new building that has been built to replace the accomodation needs of older buildings that had supposed poor environmental design!)?
I’d be pretty disapointed if one of these new PS buildings is actually just as bad (if not worse!) as the older buildings….

“They’ve certainly put a lot of work into it.”
Yep, looks like a list of points drafted on a beer mat at the pub last night! :-)

RedDogInCan 5:56 pm
05 Jul 11
#2

Many existing Government buildings are old and cannot be brought up to today’s standards, even with a significant investment.

By constructing and owning the building, the Government will save money by not paying rent – while also holding an asset of considerable commercial value into the future.

So… the buildings the government built yesterday are essentially worthless today and only suitable for demolition, but the building they are planning to build today will be a ‘asset of considerable commercial value’ tomorrow.

Now of course you can only have a ‘asset of considerable commercial value’ if you are intending to sell it, otherwise it is just a depreciating, costly to maintain liability. But you would only intend to sell it if either:

a) it was no longer suitable for your needs – in which case we are back to where we started with a building needing substantial investment to bring it up to scratch, or

b) you are intending to sell it and lease it back, in which case we are no longer saving money by not paying rent.

Interesting how the renting option involves ‘massive’ and ‘vast’ amounts of money going to private landlords over a number of years, but spending as much money with private developers today ‘makes sense financially, environmentally and ethically’. Talk about biased language!. And how is building a new building ‘ethical’?

Smells awfully like a self justifying argument to me.

steveu 7:41 am
06 Jul 11
#3

I suspect someone in the contruction industry wants to set up their retirement?
Also increase the demand for carparking, by concentrating all the people in the one spot, hence allowing their to raise more revenue from pay parking.
I would hope that buses to the new building would be free of charge as a result?

Muttsybignuts 9:49 am
06 Jul 11
#4

How many people are we talking about being housed in this sucker?

AG Canberra 11:33 am
06 Jul 11
#5

The DAFF building is indeed a dog. Lifts frequently out, floor loadings only allow putting heavier stuff near pillars, only part of the building is double glazed and the metal framing of the exterior acts as a heat and cold sink into the building. The heating/cooling is hopeless – on any floor you’ll see desk fans and floor heaters in operation depend on the location of the sun at that point in time. In addition the lowest point of each floor is the patch room/cabling shaft – so when a pipe leaks all the IT gets knocked out.

Window treatments were done twice because the 50% blinds originally installed made looking at computer screens impossible in the morning or afternoon.

And this is exactly what you get when you don’t actually own the building – the owners do as little as possible to justify the rent.

RedDogInCan 12:13 pm
06 Jul 11
#6

AG Canberra said :

And this is exactly what you get when you don’t actually own the building – the owners do as little as possible to justify the rent.

But at least you can up and move. When you own the building, you’re stuck with it.

alaninoz 1:59 pm
06 Jul 11
#7

RedDogInCan said :

But at least you can up and move. When you own the building, you’re stuck with it.

Depends on the term and conditions of the contract. We’d be stuck paying the owner/contractor forever if the ACT governments road repair and construction contracts are anything to go by.

dpm 9:14 am
07 Jul 11
#8

AG Canberra said :

The DAFF building is indeed a dog. Lifts frequently out, floor loadings only allow putting heavier stuff near pillars, only part of the building is double glazed and the metal framing of the exterior acts as a heat and cold sink into the building. The heating/cooling is hopeless – on any floor you’ll see desk fans and floor heaters in operation depend on the location of the sun at that point in time. In addition the lowest point of each floor is the patch room/cabling shaft – so when a pipe leaks all the IT gets knocked out.

Window treatments were done twice because the 50% blinds originally installed made looking at computer screens impossible in the morning or afternoon.

And this is exactly what you get when you don’t actually own the building – the owners do as little as possible to justify the rent.

Wow. So this, and the wobbly new Zumba building, is the standard of new high-EER building that Federal and ACT Public servants must move into because they are eco-friendly and more comfortable accomodation than the ‘old’ buildings! Hahaha!
I’m sure curtains/blinds come under ‘fitout’, which the leasee ususally pays for (though, how many PS building need or have curtains?), but surely staff running individual heaters and fans all year round kind of makes a joke of any EER certification the building was given? (What level EER are new PS buildings supposed to be nowadays, btw?). What a joke.
To me, it kind of highlights that while there are now more rules, guidelines and processes to follow when constructing a building (or doing anything now!), the end result seems to be coming out worse in most cases! How is this possible? I bet the building owner is laughing all the way to the bank!
Let’s hope the new ACT PS building is put together a bit better than these two examples!

Bluey 10:28 am
07 Jul 11
#9

It’d be hard to do worse than Callam Offices in Woden or several of the satellite offices throughout the city smaller areas of departments are hidden away in. Some buildings/locations are very well fitted out though. Some examples in Moore Street come to mind.

Also how are they going to move all the ACT servants out of the court building? The DPP building? TCH? The Dickson roads building etc? They cant put ALL the public servants in one building its just not practical.

Given the size of Macarthur building, 1 moore, 12 and 10 moore, callam offices, eclipse house, nara house, 220 northbourne plus all of emergency services in their various offices (didnt they just get a brand new building at fairbairn?) itll have to be easily the biggest single corporate block/building in the city. Which in turn raises all sorts of infrastructure issues…

Sigh… more things change the more they stay the same.

KaptnKaos 2:00 pm
14 Jul 11
#10

Muttsybignuts said :

How many people are we talking about being housed in this sucker?

3000 – 4000. And where are they going to park??? Oh that’s right, none of us need cars.

Interesting though that the model of govt (WA) that actgovco used for this “shared service” concept has just returned back to being agency/directorate driven due to it being a monumental failure.

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