The improvement of thermal comfort across various buildings in the Melbourne Burwood Campus by installing air-conditioning services. These five buildings had either no air-conditioning or inadequate systems resulting in significant complaints relating to heat comfort levels. A centralised plant was installed to service these buildings whilst providing the infrastructure to extend the air conditioning facilities to other buildings at the Burwood Campus. All works were planned to minimise disruption to students and staff and completed within one academic year.
Some of the key challenges faced during the project included developing and implementing a program and decanting strategy that enabled the university to remain operational for teaching and exam periods during the building upgrade works. Universities have numerous stakeholders with many specific requirements, so constant communication to understand their needs and keep them aware of the project status was critical to the successful delivery of the project.
Due to the extremely tight design and construction program, one year from project initiation to building completion, we also had to overcome equipment lead time issues which involved the early works design of HVAC for three of the five buildings, resulting in pre-purchasing the six chillers, and over 100 fan coil units.
Another critical part of the project involved the upgrade of the electrical infrastructure. The addition of 3MW of cooling plant resulted in the upgrade of two campus substations. Through careful negotiation with stakeholders and the power authority, the transformers were strategically upgraded to minimise electrical supply shutdowns and ensure the increased supply was available when the central plant commissioning was required.
As the buildings were originally designed as naturally ventilated buildings the floor slab height is extremely tight which meant careful design coordination between the structure, fit-out architecture and building services was required to ensure ceiling heights were not compromised.