Both state of the art cinema complex and dining precinct, this build was a complete Calder Stewart project, from site sourcing to construction management.
Having heard Hoyts were looking for a new build, our property and development team approached them with a potential site we had identified. We handled the land purchase and searched for commercial, cost-effective ways to fill the building and complement the design of the cinema.
Extensive remedial work was needed on the land, which had contamination issues. A quantity surveyor checked costs, and meticulous records were kept on the number of truckloads of dirt going offsite.
Once contamination issues were sorted, the land had to be strengthened by drilling and compressing stone columns into the ground.
The project was a genuine Design Build, following an efficient material and construction sequence.
One of the biggest challenges, however, proved to be site access. Little room was left to manoeuvre; streets and the new Justice Precinct bound the site on either side. The building was split into multiple phases, built-in stages, independent of each other, to avoid complications. This design sped up construction onsite, providing sufficient access for construction teams.
Over the first nine months, while there was space, our 250-tonne haulier crane was available for heavy lifting; afterwards, mobile cranes took over the light structure.
The building’s design is essentially two different structures in one. Each cinema also exists as an individual, concrete box to meet acoustic requirements. In comparison, the east half (the high atrium and dining precinct) is a ‘lightweight’ steel structure. Because of the length of the building, the area is split down the middle, with a big seismic joint that runs east to west. The advantage of this is that if there’s another big earthquake, the building will move at that point, minimising damage and risk.
The precast concrete and metal façades are designed as clip-ons, an easy solution to limited and complicated site access. These were fabricated and assembled offsite, then transported, lifted and bolted into place. Designing materials in this way sped up construction time and reduced onsite clutter, yet also meant builders worked less than 1m above ground level rather than over a 15m high vertical face. Overall, this simplified construction, even down to marking out fixing lines for the plywood using chalk.
Converting ‘acoustic science’ into buildable solutions also simplified onsite construction techniques, reducing temporary works and potential risks for construction staff during the installation. Acoustic boards were placed on top of the purlins rather than hung 20m in the air.
The fit-out phase required time and space management, not common to most projects. Three different fit-outs needed to happen simultaneously, with one loading bay and no onsite storage. A robust booking system was put in place to manage this process, with a single pull in bay on Colombo street, also meaning all trucks had to book their space out a week and a half in advance.
With a daily average of 140+ people already on a compact site (more during fit-out), stringent health and safety practices were a prominent part of our undertaking.