A concept plan for the newly renovated Clarence Valley Council Grafton chamber.
A concept plan for the newly renovated Clarence Valley Council Grafton chamber.

$7M+: Grafton’s new council building cost increase

THE total cost of redeveloping Clarence Valley Council building in Prince Street, Grafton will blow out to more than $7 million.

Councillors unanimously accepted the tender from FDC Fit-out and Refurbishment for the rebuild of the building, which was built in the 1960s, at a cost of $6,795,906.36 (ex GST).

This was an increase of $579,072.51 over the previous budget allocation from the adopted 2020-21 budget of $6.25 million.

The increase comes in additional detailed design costs, early works including the relocation of a server room, relocation expenses, and other management costs.

>>> RELATED: Why is council refurbishing its Grafton office?

Including works and money allocated in 2019-20, it will bring the total cost of the project based on tender and variations to $7,723,776.

The funding is listed as being allocated from the Strategic Building Reserve, Administration Building Improvement Reserve, the Regional Landfill General Reserve and the Heavy Plant Reserve.

Clarence Valley Council had previously sought permission from the Office of Local Government to spend the originally budgeted amount, which was granted in September.

They will now write back to the office advising of a project cost increase outside the allowed 10 per cent amount required under capital expenditure guidelines.

The current Clarence Valley Council building
The current Clarence Valley Council building

Council will begin to move some services, including their customer service centre, which will be relocated to 42 Victoria Street on December 7.

Construction is expected to begin immediately afterwards, with the building’s completion date set for September 2021.

Mayor Jim Simmons welcomed the decisive vote and affirmed the upgrade of the building was essential to ensure a safe, accessible and energy efficient building fit for the 21st century.

“This isn’t just about fixing leaking ceilings and a lick of paint – back in the 1960s when this building was constructed, accessibility and environmental standards were not considered.”

“Having an accessible building for everyone is not a luxury it is a basic requirement.

“As an organisation we have a responsibility to ensure that all members of the public, staff and councillors are able to access the building in a safe and dignified manner.”

The refurbished building will include a lift and accessible amenities in line with national construction standards.

Council general manager Ashley Lindsay said as part of the tender process and in line with council’s procurement policy there is a 15 per cent weighting on local content which will be a fillip to the local economy.

“What this means is that the contractor tasked to deliver the refurbishment has a requirement to use local subcontractors and suppliers wherever possible as part of the project.

“In addition, a progress report will go to council every two months which will not only address how this project is meeting local content but also Aboriginal employment outcomes,” Mr Lindsay added.

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