Finding our government client a property solution
We managed extensive refurbishments to an Australian Federal Police building exposed to harsh island weather
Property and Asset Management
Christmas Island, WA
Australian Federal Police (AFP)
Australia’s Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications has a responsibility to administer commonwealth responsibilities across the Indian Ocean Territories, which includes Christmas Island, stretching 135 square kilometres.
The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has a base on the island from which to carry out law enforcement and border customs. It does so from a commonwealth-owned building that has been retro-fitted to include the required security and office facilities.
JLL’s Property & Asset Management team was appointed to manage the building in 2015. However, the team was met with a building that had fallen into a state of disrepair due to the original building design, harsh island weather and a lack of ongoing maintenance.
Until JLL’s appointment, the department had doubts about whether the building could be salvaged. Water had seeped inside and the steel reinforcements within the concrete were rusting.
The commonwealth and AFP had investigated building a new facility but the estimated cost of $20 million was not feasible.
They also looked at relocating the police, but no alternate building could provide the same vantage point overlooking the bay, which supported the police’s role in overseeing customs and security.
With no other options, JLL proceeded with remediation of the facility.
To address a number of critical issues, the building management team sought the expertise of JLL’s engineering specialists, which would scope the works required to deliver a robust, fit-for-purpose building that could continue to be enhanced through proactive management strategies.
This would be a key project to come out of a partnership between the commonwealth government, Western Australian Department of Finance and JLL that has worked successfully for many years.
Finding a solution
Initial discussions indicated that full remediation could be a five-year, $5m project.
JLL’s engineers worked with the client to come up with a staged solution that would be implemented based on available annual funding.
The program of works was designed to minimise disruption to police operations within the facility, the viewing platform, armoury and cells.
“JLL’s project management expertise and determination to complete works to a high standard in this challenging environment is to be commended,”
Delivering a building fit for purpose
JLL engineers, facilities managers and asset managers, along with a trusted network of contractors, refurbished the building within four years at a cost of approximately $2m.
This included new windows, internal and external wall adjustments, treatments to concrete cancer and full waterproofing of the building. All cells and internal bathrooms were fully refurbished. The external viewing platform was also fully remediated including the installation of prefabricated structural improvements.
It was a huge effort that had to overcome multiple challenges. For one, freight delivery to Christmas Island is expensive and restricted, with only one freight delivery each month and a turnaround time of 10 to 12 weeks in good weather.
The island’s wet season from December to April also disrupted waterproofing and remediation works, which meant freight delivery and contractors had to be aligned in the May to September period only.
Nevertheless, JLL navigated these challenges to deliver the client a purpose-built facility that is now an asset to its portfolio and in a condition primed for proactive property management.
The police were able to maintain full operations throughout the works. And by taking the option to refurbish the facility rather than relocate or build a new one, there was limited impact to the island’s beautiful natural environment.