Whittlesea City Council: Modular Relocatable Facilities

Mar 11, 2013 by     Comments Off    Posted under: Capital Projects Over $1M

The requirement to deliver the Modular Relocatable Facilities was strategically identified through the City of Whittlesea’s Capital Works Program.  It is directly linked to the Business Case of another challenging major project which involves the redevelopment and construction of a significant existing Community Activity Centre that is due to be completed in early 2014.

This Community Activity Centre was the primary Relief Centre for the 2009 Black Saturday Bush Fires.  Services that operate out of the centre include a Community Hall, Meeting Rooms and also Kindergarten and Long Day Child Care.  It was considered as being vitally important to maintain the provision of the Early Years Children Services component in the Whittlesea Township during the redevelopment works to support the local community and their children.


Project Objectives

Provision of Kindergarten & Long Day Child Care was unable to continue within the Whittlesea Community Activity Centre while it was being redeveloped which defined the main objective which was to achieve a highly functional and compliant environment to relocate these services to during the works.

In addition to increasing the organisation’s capability and capacity to maintain Early Years Children Services in the Whittlesea Township with minimal impact on the community, an additional objective was also essential to achieve as identified within the Business Case that required the project to offer future opportunities to the City of Whittlesea’s larger community in general in a sustainable and functional manner.

Project Outcomes

  • Provides a strategic response to a fundamental project requirement to decant existing essential services prior to the commencement of the redevelopment of the Community Activity Centre with minimal impact on the surrounding community.
  • Alternative facility was able to be placed in proximity (100 metres) to the existing community facilities.
  • A level and quality of environmentally sustainable infrastructure that allowed for the relocation of Kindergarten & Child Care services to operate at an even greater level of efficiency than where previously located.
  • The forming of a partnering relationship between the Department of Sustainable Environment (DSE), Department Education & Early Child Development (DEECD) and the City of Whittlesea allowed for the successful and sensitive implementation on the site of choice involving a non-invasive low impact scope of works resulting in an environmentally sustainable and compliant outcome.

Use of Best Practice Engineering Principles & Technologies

  • Architecturally designed kindergarten and childcare building that is appealing and able to fit into a typical residential neighbourhood setting.
  • Removable screw piles were utilised for the installation of the modular relocatable buildings, deck and shade structures to minimise the impact on the site.
  • Each module is constructed as an independent portal frame which will withstand multiple relocations in a short period of time, extending the life of the buildings while maintaining its architectural design.
  • A reinstatement plan has been prepared to ensure upon removal of the facilities, that the pre-disturbed site is reinstated and enhanced.
  • Landscaping materials have been selected for their biodegradable characteristics and value adding properties.  Gravel paths and mulched playground areas can be mixed into the site once decommissioned to improve the soil and surface conditions for regrowth.
  • The envelope for the positioning of the modular relocatable buildings was chosen to minimise the need for additional services to be implemented for drainage, sewer, hydraulics and electrical supply.  Existing site infrastructure was used to their fullest requirements.
  • A high level of Environmental Sustainable Design was used in the design and installation of the works.  This included optimising passive design features such as solar orientation and selecting materials to minimise radiant heat.  Natural light and ventilation is predominantly used and supplemented by energy efficient lighting and mechanical systems (HVAC).  The ‘Sustainable Comfort’ guidelines for relocatable buildings from the Department of Education and Early Childhood Development was used extensively.
  • A high percentage of recyclable products was used including recycled plastic decking.

Degree of originality and ingenuity of solution

  • Unlike many relocatable buildings that are bland and unappealing, an initial concept plan was prepared by an architect that provided a floor plan, elevations, perspectives, materials schedule and finishes.  This concept was then incorporated in the building contract to ensure a high level of appeal and functionality in the detail design.
  • Large framed shade sails are installed utilising a low impact mechanical footing (metal rods driven into the ground with a baseplate to screw in the structure), avoiding the use of large excavations and mass concrete.  This also resulted in minimal cost and the ability to reuse the support structures.
  • Fully demountable modular ramps, decking and veranda was designed and constructed to match each of the relocatable buildings.  The associated structures can be easily transported and customized for other sites.
  • All playground area infrastructure is designed with the ability to relocate to other sites, includes sand pits, digging patches, planter boxes, sheds, perimeter fencing, etc.
  • The relocatable buildings have been designed in an exact mirror image of each other.  This has streamlined fabrication and installation and allows for a common entry point through an access controlled area.  If the two buildings are relocated to new sites as separate buildings, then the connecting space can be readily filled in by a window or modular wall panel.
  • The use of relocatable buildings can be used as ‘pop-up’ solutions in high growth areas to provide some urgent needed services, while the more expensive community centre is delivered, often many years later.



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