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The Lodge, Canberra - Refurbishment Works

Slate Roof

The Lodge was built in the 1920s as the Canberra residence of the Prime Minister of Australia. The Lodge holds considerable heritage significance as the only purpose-built residence for Australian Prime Ministers and their families.

The Department of Finance (Finance) is the building owner and property manager of The Lodge. Finance carries out property management responsibilities in careful recognition of the significant heritage obligations for the property.

Finance manages The Lodge and Kirribilli House as part of the Australian Government's domestic non-Defence property portfolio, which includes a number of significant buildings such as the John Gorton Building, the Treasury Building and Customs House.

Essential work has been undertaken at The Lodge to prevent deterioration of building fabric, to upgrade wiring and plumbing at the property, and to address security, safety and functionality issues.

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.

Works involved in this Project included:

Replacing the slate roof, fixing any structural defects in the roof timber frames, insulating the roof space, replacing guttering and removing redundant services such as old boiler water feed tanks and hot water services from the roof space.

Electrical Wiring and Hazardous Containing Material with temporary containment measures in place

This photograph shows the new slate that has been installed.  The slate has been chosen to match the original roofing and copper has been used to reflect the original methods of construction.  These materials should prolong the life of the work.

New slate roof installed to match the original roofing

Removal of hazardous materials.

Removal of hazardous material

This photograph shows the area after removal of hazardous material.

New work free of hazardous material

A complete electrical re-wiring of the house, fixing substandard plumbing and installing a fire protection system.

Electrical Wiring

This photograph shows new wiring and new HVAC ducting.

HVAC ducting

Upgrading the heating and cooling system and repairing leaking bathrooms. Many of the current air conditioning units are approaching the end of their economic life and a new centralised system will improve energy efficiency.

External site
Originally constructed in 1968 both AFP Guardhouses exhibit deteriorating building fabric.  Refurbishment of the guardhouses will ensure the day-to-day operational requirements of the AFP are met. Asbestos containing materials will also be removed.  AFP Guardhouse
This photograph shows a new AFP Guardhouse  AFP Guardhouse
This photograph shows the new external toilet block  Toilet block

The refurbishment works have been undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 [External site] (EPBC Act) requirements, noting the significant heritage and iconic status of the property.

Appropriate security measures were maintained throughout the entirety of the Project.

Project Update

The Project involved both internal and external works, was impacted by latent conditions associated with the discovery of hazardous materials and was completed within the overall project budget.

Project Manager Contract Administrator Appointed

GHD Pty Ltd provided Project Management Contract Administrator services for the Project.

Head Contractor Appointed

In August 2013, Manteena Pty Ltd were appointed Head Contractor, responsible for delivering the construction phase of the works.  Manteena took site possession on Monday, 23 September 2013.  Manteena completed site demobilisation activities on 6 November 2015.

The tender process seeking a Head Contractor was conducted through the Australian Government's Tender System, AusTender [External site] .

Further information about the successful tenderer is available on the Manteena website [External site].

Design Services Consultant Appointed

After a two stage process for the engagement of a Design Services Consultant HBO+EMTB was engaged to:

  • Prepare 'For Tender' documentation
  • Research and investigate property condition
  • Design the program and scope of works
  • Develop and refine cost plans

The tender process was conducted through the Australian Government's Tender System AusTender [External site] .

Further information about the successful tenderer is available at: [External site] .

Heritage Value

The Lodge retains considerable heritage significance as the only purpose-built residence for Australian Prime Ministers and their families. Designed by Oakley and Parkes and constructed in 1925-27, the building is Colonial Revival in style, with refined Georgian details, and is an important example of official residences built in Canberra in the 1920s.

The Lodge grounds contain substantial components of a rare estate landscape design by Charles Weston. The Lodge also includes the work of a number of Australian designers and craft specialists, including Ruth Lane-Poole, who designed the original interiors of the Lodge.

The Lodge remains as a landmark in Canberra symbolising the presence of the Prime Minister.

Please visit the Commonwealth Heritage List [External site] for more information regarding the heritage values of The Lodge and its history.

Heritage Listing

The Lodge is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List, which was established under the EPBC Act.

The EPBC Act sets out obligations for Commonwealth agencies to identify, protect, conserve, present and transmit to all generations the Commonwealth Heritage values of a place.

Frequently Asked Questions

What were the ongoing works?

The initial works were scoped in 2010 to address urgent health and safety issues and major structural shortcomings.  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.

What were the ‘significant technical challenges’ that the Project encountered?

Latent conditions (ie technical challenges usually found in work of this nature) were encountered. One of the most challenging aspects was the removal of the cloth-covered and rubber-covered electrical wiring, installed in 1927, which ran inside steel conduits throughout the building.

Was the Public Works Committee (PWC) notified about these works?

The PWC was notified of the works within the PWC guidelines.

What other approvals and/or notification processes were undertaken?

The scope of works was referred to the Department of the Environment (Environment) for consideration under the EPBC Act.  Environment advised that there was no controlled action required, meaning the proposed works was not likely to impact the heritage values of the property.

Necessary approvals from the National Capital Authority were sought as required.

What were the governance arrangements for the Project?

Overall responsibility for managing and delivering the Project rested with Finance. Appropriate governance arrangements were established to oversee the procurement, design and refurbishment work consistent with governance processes for other capital works projects delivered by Finance.

Why not build a new residence for the Prime Minister?

The government has no plans to build a new residence for the Prime Minister.

The proposed capital works ensures the ongoing functionality and appropriate maintenance of a significant heritage asset.

How long did the works take to complete?

The scope of works was delivered as per the Project program and  the final Certificate of Occupancy was issued on 11 November 2015.

What was done to protect the interior and collections of The Lodge?

The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C) is the agency responsible for management of the furniture, furnishing and artworks at The Lodge.  Finance is working closely with PM&C to ensure the protection of these significant cultural and artistic items.

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