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Questions are sometimes raised about the perceived high costs of works provided by Facilities Services Division. This may be a result of experience in home renovations compared to the building requirements of the University. The information below compares domestic construction requirements to the University’s construction requirements to explain the variance in costs.
All building construction projects involve common elements:
Concept designs, development designs, working drawings, structural engineering designs, hydraulic designs, mechanical engineering designs, fire control designs, and Work Safe guidelines for the use and type of space are all required for University construction. Most of these designs are not required for domestic construction, but necessary for the University, particularly while engaging with users throughout the process. These design costs can add up to 15% of the construction costs, before construction even commences.
Permits must be obtained for all works that require a change of use, the moving of any Life Safety Measure (e.g. fire detector, exit sign) or a change of egress path (emergency exit). This is not required in a domestic environment. Permits are also required for structural works that affect a building (e.g. cutting holes in floors, walls and ceilings), or any change to air handling systems (e.g. fresh air, heating and cooling). Builders must be commercially registered to obtain a building permit for University works - this is a significantly higher classification with more stringent requirements than for domestic builders.
The contractors that we use must be commercially registered and have a minimum of $20 million of Public Indemnity Insurance in addition to $20 million insurance for property damage to other parts of the building. Commercial contractors must also provide WorkCover (insurance) for their employees and cover for any subcontractors.
Most domestic builders have only $5 million of insurance and employ staff as subcontractors, rather than having to register and insure them with WorkCover.
Deakin University engages contractors on different types of contracts to deliver a variety of work: open tender / selective tender, negotiated prices, traditional management contracts.
The University aspires for facilities to have a lifespan of 60 years. When we modify, extend and renovate buildings, the materials used need to meet these demands of durability and commercial use. As a result, commercial grade materials are more costly than domestic products.
Example 1: A door and its handle on a University corridor, class room or office will be opened and closed thousands of times more than that of a door at home – this equates to up to 10 years of equivalent domestic use in one year. A $50 door handle from Bunning’s would need replacing significantly more often than the commercial type we install. This applies to all components of buildings.
Example 2: The University’s keying system is secure and protected. One cannot have a key cut from a hardware store to fit the locking system. Though this type of system is more expensive than a domestic system, the safety of University students, staff, property, exam papers and equipment are of primary importance when selecting security equipment.
Safety requirements dictate that fire detector systems are appropriate for the area. Unlike a domestic property which may have one or two local detectors, the University is bound by legislation to install detectors with a high level of coverage and monitoring by the fire brigade. Legislation also sets requirements for exit and emergency lighting, which is not required in domestic properties.
To ensure competitive prices, our quote requirements are graded as illustrated in the table below. The higher the estimated costs of the works requested, the more quotes are required.
|Proposed value (excl. GST)||Minimum requirement|
|<$2,000||Quotations are optional|
|$2,000 - 14,999||Minimum of 1 verbal or written quotation|
|$15,000 - 49,999||At least 3 written quotations|
|$50,000 - 99,999||Minimum of 3 written quotations with specification and evaluation documentation|
|$100,000 - 299,999||To selected tender, so that at least three tender responses are received|
|>$300,000||To public tender via an openly advertised expression of interest|