Emu Park SLSC Facility Upgrade
The Emu Park Surf Life Saving Club has sat on the water’s edge for years and was set to continue operating while monitoring issues within their gear shed. Salt-laden air has caused the shed to deteriorate slowly; with a rusted roof, an unsafe deck and roller doors with major safety issues needing urgent attention.
Within the clubs 2016 Strategic Plan, they identified that their facilities were a key area of interest to focus on. Ensuring the management committee and the wider membership were kept aware and had continued interested in the project, the club worked on keeping members informed by minimising spending on unnecessary projects. Their main focus was kept on the key issue – the physical sustainability of our clubhouse.
Over the last few years, the club prioritised raising funds to improve the clubhouse, and had accumulated approximately $250,000. This was a major feat, however due to other significant issues, only temporary repairs were able to be completed. The club then began looking into options, such as a full scale rebuild of the gear shed.
They had developed a relationship with local architect Colin Strydom of Design+Architecture, who during the early stages worked at producing “concept drawings” of potential redesigns. This allowed the Emu Park SLSC to have a tangible vision to show to potential funders. They worked with a Quantity Surveyor to secure early cost estimates based off of the Mr Strydom’s concept drawings, and through this they were able to conclude the guaranteed repair cost would total out to at least $750,000 and a completely new shed costing approximately $1 million. From here, the committee focused on planning and raising awareness of the condition of their current gear shed, by inviting local politicians as well as Surf Life Saving Queensland officials along to inspect the facilities.
Through these connections the club had developed with local Government, in 2019 their local Member of Parliament Ms Brittany Lauga reached out to inform them of a grant opportunity and helped arrange a meeting with the relevant minister involved. After working and developing the application, the Emu Park SLSC were approved for a $1,000,000 grant.
To determine the best route for the project, the club engaged in an engineering analysis which proved to be significantly helpful in deciding that the demolition of the current gear shed and rebuild would be the best avenue.
With the new funding and project plan, the club were able to work with Mr Strydom and completed the designs, adding in additional facilities such as new toilet and shower facilities for the all members, as well as providing improved disability access to the building.
The overall design was a very important process which required the committee to cover all aspects such as safety initiatives and materials. Due to the location, they needed to be specific about the using materials which would not rust due to salt-laden air. And so, any steel they planned to use during the building process such as the flooring, footing and column reinforcing steel, was to be covered in concrete to protect against the weather conditions.
The committee wanted to ensure the gear shed was a separate building from the original clubhouse. By designing it this way, the club were able to avoid triggering specific fire regulations. This also created a breezeway between the two buildings which has become a central social area for members.
A key goal during the design process was to utilise the location of the clubhouse and maximise the natural ventilation in order to keep the shed dry and deterioration over time. This strategy will slow future rusting and will also eliminates the need to other ventilation tools.
A specific safety initiative during the design process was to create multiple access points for the different equipment. By having access doors for side-by-side vehicles and trailers separate to access points for nipper boards, this helped the gear shed achieve a clear separation of the equipment and a continuous flow of operations.
Prioritising existing funds, the club were able to undertake work to repair the northern part of the building and focus on current structural issues. This included a new entry way for the building, and a takeaway coffee shop, which will help provide opportunities and a revenue stream for the club. These projects totalled up costing approximately $200,000, and have been extremely beneficial for members and Emu Park visitors.
To begin the tender process, Emu Park invited a group of five pre-qualified selected contractors to bid. From this group only four contractors responded to the offer with a price variation of 5%, which within the industry is a good sign and only possible due to the level of detail developed in the plans by Mr Strydom.
After the thorough and competitive tender process, the club were able to engage a local builder. Once the project was underway, the club continued to work closely and meet with the project manager and architect every two weeks to visit the site and stay updated on progress. The completion of the new Emu Park SLSC boatshed ended in July of 2021, with the new development work providing top facilities to support the club’s services and allow upgraded access, ventilation and equipment storage. It has already been a great success within the community, with many providing positive feedback on the improved facilities.