Project Description

Managing risk: How GLC managed the complex restoration of an iconic Tamarama apartment block during the even more complex peak of COVID

Works required: Labour and machinery hire, bulk excavation of sand and high strength sandstone, underpinning, piling, and detail excavation.

The Project:

In October 2019, GLC Civil Projects Pty Ltd began work on a $3.3M project to restore an iconic 7-level, 1960s residential Tamarama apartment block.

GLC Civil Projects Pty Ltd prepared the site through bulk to pave the way for the planned

Paving the way for the planned installation of dual lifts, a secure basement parking space for all owners and new balconies to optimise the panoramic views over Tamarama Beach, GLC Civil Projects Pty Ltd conducted bulk and detail excavation, underpinning and pilling, overcoming several challenges along the way. These challenges were namely those related to:

  • Restricted access and movement for machinery
  • Excavation through high-strength sandstone
  • COVID-19 induced increases in noise restrictions
  • COVID-19 social distancing measures
  • 2019/20 Bushfire-related tightening of air quality controls

The Challenges:

Extremely tight access for heavy machinery and vehicles, as well as the nature of excavation that was required for this type of sandstone, called for strategic thinking and in-depth problem-solving and planning. For Illawong Avenue in Tamarama, the specific challenges included:

  • Getting heavy machinery and vehicles in and out of a residential area. With the high volume of pedestrian and on-road traffic in the area, it was critical that we found a way to ferry our vehicles and machinery to and from the site that ensured public disturbance was kept to a minimum.
  • Cutting through high-density sandstone. Careful analysis and risk assessment were needed to accurately select the correct tools required to safely and efficiently excavate this particular type of material.
  • COVID social distancing measures. As this project was carried out during the COVID-19 epidemic of 2020, all work was to be conducted following stringent measures set out to preserve the health of the population.
  • Adhering to increased noise and air pollution restrictions. Also due to the COVID pandemic, as well as the mass bushfires of earlier in the year, stricter restrictions around noise and air pollution were in place and had to be adhered to through careful planning and management.

Our Solutions:

To address these challenges, GLC Civil Projects Pty Ltd conducted detailed research, risk analysis and project planning to minimise the impact on:

  • Residents
  • The existing buildings
  • The environment
  • Workers’ safety.

Our client and stakeholder-focussed strategy was based largely upon:

  • Planning for minimal disturbance to the neighbourhood and environment by:
    • Implementing a mostly night time schedule of operational hours to float heavy equipment in and out
    • Keeping track of vibration levels using geo-monitoring systems
    • Enforcing dust control measures by constant spraying-down and misting of all mobile equipment
    • Employing a rock shoring and slicing method to break through the sandstone with minimum vibration
    • Using specialist monitoring systems to report on noise and air pollution (looking out for the presence of silica, in particular), and
  • Ensuring that COVID-19 social distancing measures were upheld by:
    • Stepping up managerial involvement to oversee all works
    • Increasing communications between all team members
    • Staying on top of all changes in policy over this difficult time.

The Result:

The project was delivered to scope, deadline and budget, including:

  • Bulk Excavation (16 weeks)
  • Detail Excavation (4 weeks)
  • Piling and Underpinning (8 weeks)

Through careful selection of the most efficient methods and techniques possible, we successfully completed the following:

    • Shoring and slicing through over 13000m³ of high-density sandstone
    • Bulk excavation, square cutting and face-finishing of all external walls
    • Undercutting drainage to the perimeter of the car park
    • Slab thickening
    • Detailed excavation to the pads and car stacker
    • Installation of stair shaft bases
    • Stormwater trench construction.

All of this was achieved while meeting every requirement, including:

    • Meeting various stipulations outlined in the car park construction brief
    • Adhering to all work health and safety guidelines
    • Maintaining COVID-19 social distancing measures
    • Conforming to all environmental noise and air pollution controls.

With the client 100% satisfied with the result, they have since re-contracted GLC Civil Projects Pty Ltd for a number of other projects – with several during the first year following the Illawong Avenue project alone.

As well as the immeasurable advantages to the client of on-time, efficient and within budget delivery of the project, the environment also benefited – with over 50% of the more than 13000m³ of sandstone reused and repurposed.

  • Location:

    Tamarama, NSW

  • Complete:

    Jul 2020

  • Category:

    Earthworks, Underpinning, Piling Works, Confined Space Works, Labour and Machinery Hire

  • Client:


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