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Norcom Headquarters darwin

Sitzler - Project - Norcom Headquarters Darwin
project details
Darwin, Northern Territory
Department of Defence
Contract Value:
Completion Date:
July 1994
Major Ian Smellie, APIN Facilities
Paul Watkinson, Woods Bagot Pty Ltd

NORCOM HQ is the Senior Defence Organisation in Northern Australia and incorporates the command of all three Defence Forces. The building is designed and classified as a Category A post disaster facility, meaning that it can continue normal operation throughout and immediately after severe tropical cyclones.

The building is of concrete and structural steel construction, with a heavier than normal design philosophy to ensure its structural integrity is maintained throughout these extreme weather conditions.

Exposed high strength concrete beams and columns with reinforced rendered blockwork panels dominate the exterior. This required a high degree of accuracy in the placement of reinforcing steel to ensure that maximum concrete cover was maintained throughout. Sitzler accomplished this by stringent on site supervision of the relevant trades and adherence to its Quality Assurance inspection and test plans.

Due to the operating requirements of the building it has been fitted out with extensive data and telecommunications systems requiring hundreds of kilometres of wiring and fibre optic cabling. This had to be laid in transparent plastic duct work throughout the entire building. The fibre optic cables posed problems, as they were a late variation to the contract and were not available in Australia. This required considerable reprogramming of the works to incorporate the inevitable delays in obtaining the fibre optic cable from overseas, and when the cable finally made it to Darwin, Sitzler engaged in 24 hour shifts were engaged to ensure program deadlines were met.

The vast areas of computer access flooring and systems furniture required tight coordination of trades to enable the communications systems to be installed within the tight time restraints imposed. Sitzler high degree of expertise in coordination of manpower and specialist subcontractors made this possible.

The Northern Command Headquarters building was completed three weeks ahead of schedule despite 2 weeks lost in the construction phase due to inclement weather. This early completion date also included client requested variations to the value of $1.29M.

This project was only able to be completed ahead of schedule due to Sitzler expertise in construction management, a proactive approach to potential problem areas and ability to foster excellent working relationships with the client.

From the start of the project, both Contractor and client freely discussed and exchanged issues of primary importance to the other party. This established a relationship based upon an understanding of each others key objectives and allowed issues to be discussed and dealt with in an open manner. This type of relationship could not have worked without Sitzler proactive approach in actively investigating alternative cost effective solutions and operating an open book policy on costs. Effectively, the project was delivered under a "partnering" philosophy without actually entering into a formal agreement.

Site Supervision was always professional. We were particularly pleased with the Sitzler attention to detail, their ability to coordinate technically difficult tasks and their prompt and efficient responsiveness to any requests for change.

Major Ian Smellie
APIN Facilities Team