The Lodge was built in the 1920s as the Canberra residence of the Prime Minister of Australia. It holds considerable heritage significance as the only purpose-built residence for Australian Prime Ministers and their families.
Manteena was appointed Head Contractor, responsible for delivering the construction phase of the renovation works at The Lodge. The initial works were scoped to address urgent health and safety issues and major structural shortcomings. This included the removal of dangerously old electrical wiring, plumbing and asbestos, all of which had been present since the residence was built in 1927.
Property condition reports identified that work was required to restore the property’s condition to a compliant level to meet the relevant Building Code of Australia and Work Health and Safety (WH&S) obligations. The Lodge’s disrepair is legendary. Julia Gillard in 2012 told of one “celebrated incident” when a visiting foreign leader had to be shooed out of the dining room “because someone spotted possum urine making its way down the wall to one of the very precious paintings from the National Gallery”. The decaying slate roof was replaced, a possum infestation was dealt with, and the residential kitchen was replaced with a commercial version.
As these works progressed, other works that could be undertaken to further improve the security, safety and functionality of the residence were identified, and it was considered more efficient to complete these works while a major project was underway. This included: fixing substandard plumbing and installing a fire protection system; upgrading the heating and cooling system and repairing leaking bathrooms; plus many of the air conditioning units were approaching the end of their economic life and a new centralised system was installed to improve energy efficiency.
Both external AFP Guardhouses, built in 1968, exhibited deteriorating building fabric. The refurbishment of the guardhouses were added to the scope and will ensure the day-to-day operational requirements of the AFP are met.
The refurbishment works were undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) requirements, noting the significant heritage and iconic status of the property.
The works were delivered as per the project programme and final Certificate of Occupancy was issued in November 2015.