Deakin University turns to Rendine Constructions for major fire services upgrade
Significant works across multiple campuses brings Rendine’s
renowned versatility and innovation to the fore.
Rendine Constructions’ services go well beyond offering a range of conventional and modular construction competencies.
That’s why one of Victoria’s largest tertiary institutions, Deakin University, appointed Rendine to perform vital upgrades to fire services at three of its key properties.
The versatile Rendine team implemented significant upgrades to two buildings at the Waterfront Campus, as well as fitting out a student accommodation facility in the Geelong CBD, to meet Fire Rescue Victoria regulations.
Rendine Project Manager Tim Jarman said the job of retrofitting the required services to each location presented unique challenges.
The four-story, 1930s-era T&G Building and clock tower was purchased by Deakin in 2014 and converted to house 33 self-contained student accommodation units. To continue to meet fire safety regulations, a pair of new pumps were required, to circulate water to the building’s sprinkler system at the prescribed water pressure in case of fire. Rendine also installed a large water storage tank to serve the pumps.
The tank was installed in the building’s basement, beneath street level, which has previously served as a boiler room and more recently as a retail space. New pipework was laid to connect the tank to the fire pumps, and the entire system was connected to existing services.
Original plans called for a single pump, which required a significant revision. “We had to redesign the system, based on what could or couldn’t be done,” Tim says.
Another key consideration was to safely remove diesel fumes from the pumps’ operation, so a flue was installed connecting the basement to an exhaust on the roof, via a disused dumb waiter apparatus and a vent installed on the building’s external wall. To achieve this, the Rendine team scaffolded outside sections of the building, which was propped up from beneath for safety.
“There was a lot of work involved from specialised contractors. It was quite a detailed job,” Tim says of the T&G installation.
Deakin’s Waterfront Campus is located in renovated wool store warehouses, some constructed as early as 1872. Once again, upgrades to fire services for the university’s C and AD buildings called for sensitive management of both Deakin’s assets and its people.
“We’re very used to working in schools and working around the needs of students and staff,” Tim says. “We had to delay the start by two weeks because of SWOTVAC (student revision period), and we were also working next to areas conducting exams, which required sensitivity in the way we scheduled our works.”
For upgrades to Building C, which now houses the Australian Bureau of Statistics, water pipes were required to be run through a records room. “This was a quite sensitive area which once again had us dealing with multiple stakeholders, with very specific requirements for how and when we could perform the work,” Tim explains.
The works were due for completion in March 2023 and represent yet another feather in the cap of Rendine Constructions,
which is celebrating 50 years of operation.