Council maintains timber vision for new building

Published on Friday, 8 July 2022 at 12:13:12 PM

Construction of a new Shire of Dardanup Library, Administration and Community Building at Eaton Fair is expected to start in January following a decision of Council at a Special Meeting held this week.

The decision was made in light of extensive negotiations with contractor Perkins Builders which enabled final design and construction costs of the building to be brought within the Long Term Financial Plan provision of $16.25million.

Council accepted all avenues had been exhausted to keep costs down while maintaining maximum possible floorspace amid significant economic pressures including disrupted timber supplies and increased demand from an over-stimulated construction industry.

Council held true to its vision for a mass timber building due to its positive environmental outcomes and stuck closely to the original budget set in 2018.

The total project cost – which includes fit-out, project and contract management fees and connection of the building to utilities and services – will be $18.6 million.

Advice to Council from external Quantity Surveyor Rawlinson’s WA said: “the construction market in Western Australia is extremely volatile at present with many projects exceeding budgets by up to 40 per cent.”

“Escalation across 2022 is forecast to remain high and it is unlikely to reduce dramatically over the next few years,” said their report.

In making its decision, Council also considered an alternative option of pausing the project for a few years and providing services via a range of temporary office arrangements, involving a series of smaller upgrades to create additional space.

Dardanup Shire President Mick Bennett said this option was eventually discounted due to an expectation that construction costs would continue to be impacted by high levels of escalation, making it unlikely the building would reduce in cost even if delayed for several years.

The likely negative impact on business efficiencies and service quality were considerations for Council, along with high costs associated with the temporary measures which would only add cost to the overall project.

“For our people to provide the high level of service delivery and community engagement that is expected of us, they need to be centrally located in a single building,” Cr Bennett said.

“In addition, attempting to run our operations from a mix-match of temporary options impacts our ability to attract and retain quality staff which of course in turn, again impacts the quality of service we can provide to the community.

“It is important to recognise that while the building is smaller than originally anticipated, Council through the process held true to its vision to deliver a mass timber building and kept the project costs close to the original estimates received in 2018.

“If we were to build a similar-sized building to that originally anticipated in 2018 the building would now cost in excess of $24 million, possibly even more.

“The alternative of constructing a concrete and steel building would not have shown any leadership in sustainable building materials - a key theme in the Shire’s 2050 Vision; and would not have been reflective of our timber heritage.

“The building is intended to inspire the advancement of the local timber construction industry, which is a key part of the future of the Shire of Dardanup.”

Timber is widely recognised as the most renewable material and the most sustainable of all primary industries.

The new design concept is for a modern two-storey building with local WA timber and charred jarrah timber cladding as accents. The structure is essentially a mass timber structure and light timber wall framing.

The ground floor geometry is rectilinear and the upper floor form has gentle curves introduced to create a continuous ribbon. The plan form is an “L” shape, with one leg fronting the proposed Town Square, while the “L” creates a formal civic courtyard space.

The courtyard is accessible to the Library and Council Chambers, and will become an integral part of the civic operation.

To read more detail on this project, visit our FAQs and project timeline dating back to 2013 via the link below.


Back to All News