Clarence Valley Council building in Grafton.
Clarence Valley Council building in Grafton.

EXPLAINER: Why is council spending $6.3m?

WITH Clarence Valley Council announcing they will spend over $6m on a refurbishment of their offices in Grafton, we look at some of the reasons why it is going ahead.

In 2014 council began an asset rationalisation project, combining council depots into the super-depot in South Grafton and selling off several administration buildings.

The next phase is to modernise the administration building in Prince St including a refit of offices and various changes to building infrastructure.

Accessibility

The current building has a number of internal level changes across each floor, making the building inaccessible for some people with physical disabilities.

Meetings with the public are sometimes restricted to the lower floors and staff with physical disabilities cannot work in certain parts of the building.

It is planned that renovations will rectify this with the installation of lift access to the northern end of the building, in doing so meeting the objectives of the Disability Discrimination Act.

However, the lift and ramp access to the council chamber will now go back to be redesigned.

Workspace

The renovations will provide more natural light into the workplace particularly on the Prince Street side of the building. Staff work spaces will be brought up to contemporary standards based on open plan office layout.

Electrical infrastructure

There will be an upgrade to electrical infrastructure and main/sub switchboards.

This will include the reconstruction of airconditioning ducting systems to overcome temperature variability in a layout that has been modified multiple times over many years.

Compliance

The basement carpark is currently not compliant with the National Construction code as there are no walkways to alternate exits, which poses a safety risk.

The upgrade will provide another internal staircase adjacent to the lift to address this issue.

The roof

Sections of the roof have been replaced in the last few years and what remains has been deemed to be in “fair to poor condition”. A lack of overflow provision has caused water to build up and council see an opportunity to replace the roof in the remaining areas. They also plan to remove a cooling tower support.

Staff Feedback

Council reported that a recent staff survey for those located in the Prince St offices “rated facilities low, with ageing amenities, and no lunch space”.



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