When Wollongong City Council embarked on the refurbishment of the Austinmer Beach Pavilion, we always knew the work would likely unveil unexpected challenges.
We knew from the experiences of refurbishing the nearby Thirroul Beach Pavilion that the external finish of building structures located in harsh seaside environment can mask just how corroded a building can be.
So, when it came to the essential repairs to Austinmer’s facilities, we were prepared to make adjustments to our plans as the paint removal works revealed that the columns, beams and roof slab needed urgent work to allow people to stand on the roof.
“As the work got underway in May and the paint was safely removed from the building it gave us the chance to truly assess the state of the building,” Wollongong City Lord Mayor Councillor Gordon Bradbery AM said.
“Old buildings like this – whether it’s a family home or a public building – often have hidden secrets and this building was no different. What we found was the existing roof load capacity would not meet community needs or expectations. We know there are some who love this as a space for yoga or whale watching, for example, and we want to make sure the refurbishment that’s underway allows for these sorts of activities into the future.”
To overcome the challenge, Council will use an innovative material that strengthens the roof slab by using prefabricated carbon fibre reinforced polymer plates.
“We love a challenge and buildings and facilities in seaside environments certainly throw them at us,” Cr Bradbery said.
“When we refurbished the Blue Mile Tramway site we used precast glass fibre-reinforced to build the wall, and for this building we’re using these plates, which are bonded on to the underside of the concrete and are designed to have longevity in the harsh seaside environment.”
The use of the plates has also allowed the project to move forward and, provided we continue to get good weather, is on track to be completed by Christmas 2020.
“When we embarked on this refurbishment, it was hard to know what the rest of the year would look like and, certainly, this summer will be different to that of years’ past,” Cr Bradbery said.
“We anticipate our beaches will be well-used this summer by those following COVID-safe practices and enjoying a swim. Hopefully, all the key components yet to be completed in this project can continue to be ticked off and we’ll be able to see the refurbishment finished in time for Christmas.”
To date, targeted demolition works, paint stripping, concrete repairs and roofing works have been completed. Currently, the internal floor and walls and door structural framing are being built for the new compliant unisex accessible amenity. In addition, upcoming plans include waterproofing the floor and roof slabs, installing the new concrete handrail, coating the internal floors, installation of fixtures and fittings and painting works.