- Refurbishment Works Deferred
- Design Services Consultant Appointed
- Heritage Value
- Heritage Listing
- Frequently Asked Questions
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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 and Deregulation (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 is required at The Lodge to prevent further deterioration of the building fabric and to undertake repairs to wiring and plumbing at the property.
Property condition reports have identified that work is 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 considered as necessary and essential include:
Replacing the slate roof, fixing any structural defects in the roof timber frames, insulating the roof, replacing roof guttering and removing redundant services such as old boiler water feed tanks and hot water services from the roof void.
A complete electrical re-wiring of the house, fixing substandard plumbing, installing a fire protection system and removing hazardous materials.
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.
The refurbishment works will be undertaken in accordance with Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999  (EPBC Act) requirements, noting the significant heritage and iconic status of the property.
Security measures required to protect the property will be preserved during the works.
Any disruption or potential increase in local area traffic is expected to be minimal.
On 17 December 2012, the Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, announced that refurbishment works on The Lodge would be deferred from April until the end of 2013.
Research and investigations conducted by the architects, and the age and condition of the building, mean that the refurbishment and conservation works are likely to encounter significant technical challenges. Subsequently, it has become apparent that the refurbishment works will take longer to complete than originally anticipated.
The Government will continue to meet its ongoing property management responsibilities in the intervening period until the refurbishment works commence. Necessary repairs and maintenance works will be undertaken as usual.
A two-stage tender process for the engagement of a Design Services Consultant (DSC) has concluded with HBO+EMTB Architects (ACT) Pty Ltd awarded the contract.
The DSC has been engaged until completion of the works 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  .
Further information about the successful tenderer is available at: www.hboemtb.com  .
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  for more information regarding the heritage values of The Lodge and its history.
The Lodge is listed on the Commonwealth Heritage List, which was established under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999.
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.
What are the ‘significant technical challenges’ that the project is likely to encounter?There is a high probability that ‘latent conditions’ (ie technical challenges usually found in work of this nature) will be encountered. One of the most challenging aspects is the cloth-covered and rubber-covered electrical wiring, installed in 1927, which runs inside steel conduits throughout the building.
How much will the proposed capital works cost?
The design services consultant, HBO+EMTB, is currently developing project cost estimates and scope. The costs estimates will be commercial-in-confidence, as the release of this information could prejudice tender processes.
Currently, tendering for all construction phase contracts has been deferred. It is anticipated that the costs of the deferral will not be significant.
Competitive tender processes will ensure that the works provide value for money and the project, including financial and reporting aspects, will be subject to normal probity and accountability processes, including notification to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works (PWC).
What happens following the PWC notification process?
The PWC were notified of the proposed works on 25 June 2012. The PWC considered the request for these works to proceed as ‘medium works’ and had no objection to the works proceeding on that basis. Finance is now moving towards finalising the scope, program and budget, and is yet to engage a head contractor to deliver the project.
What other approval and/or notification processes have been undertaken?
The project was referred to the Department of Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (SEWPaC) for consideration under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. SEWPaChas advised that there is no controlled action required, meaning there is no heritage impact on the property by the proposed works.
The National Capital Authority Development Application was lodged on 14 September 2012 and approved on 16 October 2012.
Was the Prime Minister involved in the decision to initiate the project?
The announcement of the Administrative Arrangements Order, following the 2010 Federal Election, resulted in the responsibility for managing the property being transferred to the Department of Finance and Deregulation.
The Special Minister of State, the Hon Gary Gray AO MP, is responsible for all decisions relating to the execution of the project and he has written to the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition to advise them of the deferral of the refurbishment works.
Finance is sensitive to the inconvenience caused to the Prime Minister and staff and will work to minimise the inconvenience during the construction phase.
What are the governance arrangements for the project?
Overall responsibility for managing and delivering the project rests with Finance. Appropriate governance arrangements have been established to oversee the procurement, design and refurbishment work for the project 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 will ensure ongoing functionality and the appropriate maintenance of a significant heritage asset.
Where will the Prime Minister stay during the refurbishment works?
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is responsible for the Prime Minister’s accommodation arrangements.
How long will the project take to complete?
The construction phase is anticipated to take upwards of eight months, during which time the premises will need to be vacant. Following completion of construction there will be a standard Defects Liability Period (DLP) of 12 months during which time the property will be re-occupied.
What is being done to protect the interior and collections of The Lodge?
The Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet is the agency responsible for management of the furniture, furnishing and artworks at The Lodge. Finance is working closely with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet to ensure the protection of these significant cultural and artistic items.
If you have any questions or concerns, please email us at Officialestablishments@finance.gov.au.
Contact for information on this page: Property and Construction Contacts