Newspapers from 1965 found on-site at the ACT Law Courts

The ACT Law Courts project in the centre of Canberra continues to make history, and not only for being the territory’s first Public-Private Partnership.

During recent demolition works taking place underneath the existing Supreme Court, newspapers more than 52 years old were unearthed and the articles they contained shed a historical light on court proceedings and engineering processes that have since been dramatically advanced.

Michael Jarvis, Project Leader Laing O’Rourke, said it was fascinating to read how engineering has progressed since the 60’s and how old techniques have shaped what we do today.

“With the project being one of the first in Australia to have a precast structural frame, it was particularly interesting to see an article on precast concrete and how we have advanced since then,” Michael said.   

“One of the pages we found listed all matters and outcomes held before the courts on January 5, 1966. It was a very different society in the 1960’s and the articles were an interesting reminder of how far we have come in many ways.”

The project, due for completion in late 2018, will create a combined Law Courts facility for the ACT which will maximise operational efficiencies whilst still respecting the jurisdictional separation between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court.    

Canberra's New Legal Facilities Take Shape

Canberra's new legal facilities are beginning to take shape with the roof installed at the new ACT Supreme Court building. 

Stage One of the $160 million ACT Law Courts project is expected to be completed in early 2018.

Attorney General Gordon Ramsay and Chief Justice Helen Murrell today poured the final slab of concrete to mark the completion of the highest structural element of the building. 

Stage One will be completed over the next year including the Vernon Circle wing with six new courtrooms, chambers, jury facilities and library.

The Magistrates Courtrooms will be fitted with new technology as well as new cafes, waiting areas and entries.


Doing justice to a bold civic project

A major new building housing two of Australia's most important courts is being constructed through a public private partnership that includes Laing O'Rourke.

Construction of the A$150 million new court complex in Australia’s national capital, Canberra is making good progress thanks to the use of Laing O’Rourke’s unique off-site manufacturing and digital engineering techniques.

The scheme will see the Supreme Court and Magistrates Court buildings of the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) refurbished, expanded and combined into a single integrated structure containing 19 court rooms.

It involves constructing a new four-storey building around the two existing courts and removing a complete facia from each. Additionally, a whole new level of accommodation is being excavated beneath the heritage listed 1960-built Supreme Court structure.

This technically challenging programme is being delivered by the Juris Partnership – comprising Laing O’Rourke, Macquarie Capital, and Programmed Facility Management (PFM) – as part the ACT Government’s first Public-Private Partnership.

Excavation works began in February 2016 with the team digging 6 metres into solid rock before the completing the foundations of the new building and the basement, ground floor and the first of four 2,500m2 suspended slab floors.

“During this time the courts were kept 100 per cent operational with only minimal disruption,” explains Greg Morris, Laing O’Rourke Project Engineering Leader.

“The next phase, finishing the new building, is on track to be completed in November,” Greg said

“We will then work closely with the client to ensure  a seamless transition into the new building for all users to enable excavation of the new lower level to begin with completion expected in August 2018.

“The Magistrates Courts will also receive new audio visual and IT facilities.”

Extensive use has been made of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) offsite manufacturing techniques and Digital Engineering (DE), making the scheme one of Australia’s biggest DfMA-based construction projects to date.

Precast components manufactured in Brisbane – more than 1,500 of them – form 95 per cent of the structure. The existing building facades due to be removed were scanned to create 3D models, ensuring the new structure interfaces with the existing ones precisely.

“From the start we made DfMA and DE integral to the project,” says Greg. “It’s a tricky build involving a heritage listed structure, working to tight timescales on a highly constrained site bounded by the Australian Reserve Bank, a police station and one of Canberra’s busiest roads.

“Given these challenges we felt precast components, installed using highly accurate 3D models, was the best way to meet the demands on time and space and keep the levels of materials and contractors on site at one time to manageable levels.”

Temporary closure of Vernon Circle lanes this weekend

Two lanes of Commonwealth Avenue and Vernon Circle will be closed temporarily this weekend as part of the refurbishment of the ACT Law Courts precinct.

The lanes will be closed from 6am Saturday 30 July to 7pm Sunday 31 July 2016 to ensure the safe installation of tower cranes at the site.

For more information read the Attorney General’s media release here.

Law Courts project contract summary released

Attorney-General Simon Corbell released the contract summary for the new ACT Law Courts Precinct, the ACT Government’s first Public Private Partnership project in June.

The contract summary provides information for the community about the value for money the government has achieved by partnering with the private sector.

Read the Attorney General’s media release here.

Order in the court

The Juris Partnership has officially started work on the new $150 million justice precinct for the Australian Capital Territory.

Attorney-General Simon Corbell, with Supreme Court Chief Justice Helen Murrell, turned the first sod in April for the historic building project which will deliver a revitalised court precinct in Canberra.

The project will create a combined Law Courts facility for the ACT which will maximise operational efficiencies whilst still respecting the jurisdictional separation between the Supreme Court and the Magistrates Court.

Click here to see the media release issued by the Attorney General.

View from the bench

Juris Partnership delivery partner Lyons Architect has created a mock courtroom to allow all of the ACT Law Courts stakeholders to experience what the new $150 million precinct will offer.

Cameron Lyon joined Attorney-General Simon Corbell and Juris Partnership general manager David Lovell on the tour of the mock courtroom, demonstrating how this major infrastructure project will significantly upgrade the current ageing facilities, particularly the ACT Supreme Court.

Click here to read more about the mock courtroom in Hume Cameron Lyon’s unique vision for the precinct.

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