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Northern Immigration Detention Centre Multipurpose Facilities

NIDC Multipurpose Facility
project details
Berrimah, Darwin, NT
Department of Immigration & Citizenship
Contract Value:
Completion Date:
21 October 2008
Greg Flint, GHD

The Northern Immigration Detention Centre was constructed within the boundaries of the existing Defence Establishment, Berrimah, formally known as HMAS Coonawarra. The facility is designed for a maximum capacity occupancy of 554 inmates. The complex was not served with an enclosed dining area or food preparation or serving area and all meals had to be served and eaten in a covered outdoor area.

The project involved building a new Multi-Function building inside an existing functioning detention centre secure compound, the building had to be suitable to house the Detention Centre occupants during meal times and also had to provide a separated serving area. Included in the design were indoor toilet facilities, separate prayer rooms, office area and staff amenities. The building was designed with two large dining areas separated by the servery, this enabled the occupants to be separated into two areas and into smaller groups. The building was also designed and constructed to enable it to be used during cyclone periods as a shelter should the need arise.

The external works involved full length verandahs to three sides of the new building with covered walkway links to separate accommodation areas. Two new guard stations where located at each entry point which were connected to the new building via paved walkways, services to the new guard stations were also linked back to the new building service rooms. Other facilities included a new covered area between existing accommodation units, new in ground storm water system along with upgraded fire hydrant and hose reel systems through out the complex, also some existing buildings were upgraded.

A reduced size soccer field was also constructed along with high level security lighting.

Construction delays to the project resulted due to extremely hard rock being encountered through out the entire site, footings had to be redesigned to enable structural changes to be incorporated, some other works designed outside the secure compound were deleted from the contract to facilitate the clients budget constraints.
The facility was required to be procured urgently, a tight construction period was set, due to an anticipated proliferation of illegal vessels in the waters off northern Australia. This anticipated need was subsequently found to be correct with the centre having run at close to maximum occupancy since the end of 2009.