A COLLABORATIVE effort between developers ERBEAC and designer/builder Gavin Constructions has resulted in a unique new regional call centre for Bunbury’s largest employer, Centrelink.
The property is located between Wellington and Prinsep streets and has views of both the city harbour and Indian Ocean. Aesthetics were seen as a key to reducing the problem of typically high turnover of call centre staff.
A three-storey glass curtain wall, coupled with curved canopies and flat plated structural steel, set the aesthetic mood of the building. A square structure with an open floor plan was deemed to provide the most effective layout for call centre work stations, and minimal use of structural columns aided this.
In addition, oversized eaves were specially created to produce the illusion of parapet mouldings.
The 10-month construction period was not trouble free, however.
The area was secured following the discovery of skeletal remains and the SES, police, representatives of Aboriginal Affairs, forensics teams and other relevant authorities were called onto the site.
Construction was significantly affected by this discovery, but the site did not need to be closed at any stage. The remains of nine pioneer settlers and one Aboriginal were uncovered, although it was concluded that the Indigenous remains were not buried on the site, but had settled there as a result of long-term land shift.
Due to the location and time restraints of building the call centre, finding a cost effective and suitable option for flooring proved challenging. In situ suspended flooring added seven weeks to a construction program already pressed for time.
The regional location of the call centre determined that precast flooring was too expensive.
A ‘King Floor’ suspended flooring system proved to be the most suitable option. Suspended floors were poured in situ without the need for formwork or propping.
Once the precast tilt panels were erected and structural steel rigged, the King Floor was installed in coordination with the main roof.
Installation of the roof cover and suspended floors took less than four weeks.
Gavin Constructions’ Sean Gavin said that, in designing and constructing the building, the company was looking to create a “landmark signature building”. He cited the open floor plan, natural light element, ocean and river views, and the aesthetics of the front entrance as helping to deliver this.
The facility does not provide for face-to-face customer service between Centrelink staff and clients. Instead, the 3,500 square metre building will solely contain call centre staff.
Interiors Australia was separately contracted to complete the interior design of the new building.
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