The Australian Institute of Police Management is operated by the AFP. It is located on the site of the Heritage Seaman’s Isolation Hospital on North Head, Manly. The complex site occupies one of Australia’s most significant heritage sites and is probably one of the most demanding and sensitive sites in Sydney, combining State and Federal planning and environmental constraints. The development which will commence construction in January 2010 has required negotiation with and the approval of Commonwealth AFP, DEWHA, NSW Sydney Harbour Federation Trust, NSW Rural Fire Service, and NSW National Parks.
The site is immediately adjacent to the location of Captain Phillips first landing in Sydney Harbour and also of his later spearing. The Seaman’s Isolation hospital was originally constructed in the early 1800’s as part of the North Head Quarantine station. In the 1920’s the campus was taken over by NSW Police as a training centre and in the mid 1970’s ownership transferred to the AFP.
The site is currently home to the most northern mainland Little Penguin colony, it is also a precious Bandicoot habitat. Both factors have created a very emotionally charged development environment requiring detailed and sensitive high level negotiations between DEWHA and NSW DoP and National Parks in an atmosphere of public debate and national news coverage. It is required that the facility remains operational throughout the redevelopment process. Our Design Team have worked with AFP to develop a detailed strategy working some off-site locations and decanting to ensure that the AIPM operations are not compromised.
The AFP places an extremely high level of importance on this project. The complexities involved in negotiating a successful outcome required our Design Team to present directly to the AFP Commissioner, reporting monthly to the COO at PCG meetings.
The AIPM operates a highly secure, fully enclosed live-in officer education facility for Senior Australian and International Police and National Security Officers. The AIPM offers intense month-long courses with participants fully immersed in interactive group learning in simulated cases.The AIPM redevelopment will provide increased residential capacity and enhanced modern facilities including a new Administrative Centre, improved teaching facilities and new and upgraded residential accommodation for students and teachers.
The project includes the heritage upgrade of the original “barracks type” buildings and residences and the sensitive removal of some later residential buildings. It includes some areas of sensitive archeological excavations to expose and include remnant roads, walls and buildings.The project has a total built area in excess of 7,000m2 of which about one third will involve heritage upgrade. The project provides approximately 60 new residential units.
At the commencement of our involvement, the project was on hold with limited outlook for progress. Heritage concerns were pressing alterations to the masterplan by pushing the new development further towards the harbour foreshore while ecological concerns were demanding it be set back further. It did not seem possible to overcome the impossible.
BHA worked closely with the Heritage, Ecological Bushfire and Fauna Consultants to develop a new revised masterplan for the site which we then helped AFP to negotiate with DEWHA, NSW DoP and local Resident action groups. We then developed this masterplan to fill concept design and documented the project for tender and construction. We achieved approval to proceed from all relevant authorities.
As the project had stalled for almost a year there was extraordinary time pressures to implement the project or lose funding. This required us to complete a Design, Approval and Documentation process in 7 months.
The majority of tenders received were within the range of the project estimate. Construction will commenced in January 2010.
The project design team included a Hazardous Materials Consultant to assist with the identification and treatment of asbestos and other materials from which many of the heritage structures were constructed.The older Barracks style buildings are largely clad in asbestos, they are required to be retained as part of an important heritage collection but also to cater to heavy on-going use. We conducted a detailed review of all asbestos panels, specifying sealing or removal / replacement panel by panel.
Unique Project Outcomes
The BHA design team were able to take a stalled project, on one of Australia’s most sensitive sites, negotiate a revised masterplan with an array of complex State and Federal government agencies and enraged local residents and then document the project in record time to gain sign off prior to the Commissioner’s retirement. The tenders received are all on budget and the project was on schedule.
Innovative Design Solutions
BHA provided a new way for approaching the site planning which integrated some important heritage elements in innovative ways to allow the facilities to be arranged on the site in a way which was previously thought not to be possible. Our revised masterplan was able to satisfy the strong heritage requirements of DEWHA by integrating archeological items in design, allowing some of the residential facilities to be positioned to accommodate conflicting heritage and ecological concerns.