Social Infrastructure
Sydney Opera House Trust
2017 - 2018
$71 million

Services Delivered:

  • Planning & Scheduling 
  • Project Monitoring & Control

Key Outcomes

Our Advisors worked within the SOH’s integrated project team and their involvement assisted SOH in achieving the timely completion of the works to allow ‘bump in’ for the 2018 opera and ballet season over Christmas and the New Year. Our Advisor’s involvement included:

  • providing a Program Review Report that included a constructive commentary on LOR’s ECI Program and recommendations for improvement
  • advising and making recommendations on LOR’s Contract Program and negotiations with LOR, resulting in the approval of the Contract Program by SOH
  • delivering a Fortnightly Program Monitoring Report based on a detailed analysis of LOR’s statused Contract Program and a site inspection to agree a status of progress
  • for key activities with LOR. These reports highlighted key activities that had slipped (particularly those on critical path(s)), made recommendations on ways the slippage could be recovered and forecast the completion dates
  • giving detailed analysis and advice on extension of time claims issued by LOR, and
  • attending and contributing to the monthly Project Control Group (PCG) Meeting with the SOH Building Management Team and LOR.

The Project

Since opening its doors in 1973, the Sydney Opera House (SOH) has become the symbol of modern Australia and the country’s premier tourist destination. However, this 20th century architectural wonder now needs to be renewed for the 21st century.

In 2015, the SOH announced it would undertake a renewal of the Joan Sutherland Theatre (JST). The Sydney Opera House Trust provided $45 million to replace theatre equipment that had reached the end of its operational life, which will improve reliability, functionality and safety in the world-famous theatre. The NSW Government contributed a further $26 million to enable additional venue improvements. The works took place during a seven-month closure of the theatre between May and December 2017.

The JST upgrade was the first part of a larger program of renewal works funded by a $202 million investment by the NSW Government. It includes upgrades to the Concert Hall, entry foyers and arrival area under the Monumental Steps, as well as new function and creative learning centres, bringing the total value of Stage 1 Renewal to $273 million.

On New Year’s Eve 2017, the SOH reopened the Joan Sutherland Theatre after the major building works. Changes to the JST included:

  • a new theatre flying system that is quieter, safer and more reliable
  • improved grid deck providing a more flexible system of hoists and a clearer, more open work area
  • partial replacement of the auditorium lighting, a new sound console and followspot room
  • upgraded orchestra pit and the installation of a state of the art acoustic enhancement system to better distribute orchestral sound around the JST and improve playing conditions for musicians, and
  • six additional female toilets to better service audience members.

As planned, a number of additional works commenced during the closure and continued into 2018. These works included:

  • a new rehearsal room to provide resident companies and other performers with a purpose-built, state of the art practice facility that has an improved layout that better meets their needs
  • a level passageway to provide accessible access to the JST Northern Foyer, and
  • a new lift in the Northern Foyer to provide accessible access to all levels of the JST for the first time. This will also enable patrons to access the theatre’s circle seating via a lift to reduce the number of stairs.    

These works were completed in mid-2018.

Our Services

In order to undertake the JST upgrade, the SOH appointed Laing O’Rourke (LOR) to provide early contractor involvement (ECI) and advice.

ConnellGriffin was initially engaged to review LOR’s ECI Program to ensure that it reflected the requirements of the ECI Brief and that it contained a logical methodology to achieve the completion of the main works by December 2017. In particular, the program was analysed for adequacy, achievability, sequencing, compliance with known operational requirements and known commercial requirements, and the potential interface and impact of any adjacent works.

The program review included a review of the timing of any outstanding approvals, design, procurement, construction, commissioning and testing activities. Key program assumptions and construction methodologies were reviewed.

LOR entered into a lump sum contract with SOH to undertake the JST upgrade, and ConnellGriffin was subsequently engaged to assist SOH with the agreement of the LOR Contract Program and to provide independent program review and monitoring services during the delivery phase of the project.

The program for the JST upgrade was extremely challenging, given the works were being carried out on a heritage listed building, in a relatively short timeframe and were subject to a number of operational constraints. As a result, SOH requested that ConnellGriffin provide the monitoring services on a fortnightly basis.

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