• HMAS Coonawarra naval base in Darwin. Credit: Defence
    HMAS Coonawarra naval base in Darwin. Credit: Defence
  • Navy's Fleet Base East at Garden Island in Sydney. Credit: Defence
    Navy's Fleet Base East at Garden Island in Sydney. Credit: Defence
  • Changes are going to be made on the way the Navy repairs and manages its ships.
    Changes are going to be made on the way the Navy repairs and manages its ships.

Updated Jan 15, 2018

In an effort to save money and use a ‘program approach’, Defence have released a $2.1 billion Invitation to Register (ITR) to support Navy facilities for their three newest ship classes.

These include facilities to support the RAN’s two new Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment (AOR) vessels to replace HMA Ships Success and Sirius (based on Navantia’s Cantabria class, currently being built in Spain) under Sea 1654 Phase 3, Sea 5000’s Future Frigates, and Sea 1180’s OPVs.

ADM also understands that Defence is expected to sign a contract with Luerssen, ASC and a mix of shipbuilders at WA’s Henderson precinct (Civmec and Austal) by the end of this month, or mid-February at the very latest. CASG’s Deputy Secretary Kim Gillis confirmed this timeline last month at the bonus Senate Estimates hearing on December 15.

The Managing Contractor Contract (MCC) will see three programs rolled into one contract, merging the existing (namely N2262 for AORs, N2263 for OPVs and N2265 for Future Frigate) arrangements under MCC-20031.

“During the planning phase, the design consultant for the three projects (Projects N2262, N2263 & N2265) is GHD Pty Ltd,” a Defence spokesperson told ADM. “It is the Commonwealth’s intention upon engagement of the managing contractor to novate GHD Pty Ltd to the managing contractor as the design consultant.”

The Commonwealth anticipates that the award date for the contract will be in or about June 2018 with completion of the works in or about September 2020 for AORs, June 2026 for OPVs (excluding Garden Island and HMAS Watson works, which will not be part of this contract), and June 2026 for Future Frigates.

The MCC contract will affect facilities at HMAS Stirling, HMAS Coonawarra, HMAS Cairns, Randwick barracks, Garden Island Dockyard Precinct (see box for more detail), and will include refurbishment of existing buildings and construction of new facilities alongside wharf upgrades.

Garden Island gets an upgrade

Katherine Ziesing | Canberra

While Garden Island barely rates a mention in the MCC ITR (the addition of a single desk in building 122), the precinct is getting a major overhaul under an already established program.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Public Works held an inquiry into the proposed Garden Island (East) Critical Infrastructure Recovery Program mid last year. The project proposed to provide a fully functioning wharf that will provide for both current and future requirements at the north-west end of the Garden Island Defence Precinct in Sydney, NSW.

The Department of Defence proposed to demolish the existing Cruiser Wharf and Oil Wharf, dredge the surrounding seabed, construct a new single continuous wharf, and extend the existing East Dock Wharf.

Additionally, the project includes the installation of engineering services, new wharf furniture such as bollards, fenders and ladders, and a new rail mounted crane.

Some 38,400cu metres of seabed will need to be dredged to increase the depth alongside the wharf, from about nine metres in places to 12.2m, while 14 tonnes of the dredged material is likely to be solid waste that will require special disposal. This waste is described as containing heavy metals, chemical compounds and other debris such as antifouling paint, which means it will have to be disposed of in an appropriate licensed land waste disposal facility. Equipment will be added to the wharf in the form of 11 waterside ladders, 33 foam-filled fenders, four storm bollards, 11 first-aid points and lifebuoys ­located adjacent to ladders, as well as a hazardous materials shed wash-down space.

The existing crane will be dismantled and a new crane constructed on rails, with capacity to lift 30-tonne containers or one of the amphibious ships’ landing craft, which weigh 50 tonnes.

Navy's Fleet Base East at Garden Island in Sydney. Credit: Defence
Navy's Fleet Base East at Garden Island in Sydney. Credit: Defence

The estimated cost of the project is $213.4 million, excluding GST. Construction is expected to be completed no later than late 2020, according to the Public Works Committee.

ADM understands that planning for Stage 1 is now complete and options are being explored for the delivery/build phase. Stage 2 of the program, which sees a focus on buildings, is currently in the planning stage and will head to the Public Works Committee soon.

The estimated value of each of the components is as follows:

  1. AORs - $231 million;
  2. Future Frigates - $912 million; and
  3. OPVs - $953 million

Given the scale of the program, the MCC will be subject to the Public Works Committee processes and the usual arrangements for WH&S, 2016 Building Code, indigenous procurement, local industry participation, and information security apply.

ADM Comment: For a contract of this magnitude, it was strange that this announcement has come out of the relative blue. Nothing was even hinted at during ADM’s last Defence Estate and Base Services Summit in September last year. But anecdotally, those who watch such things in the Defence infrastructure industry had a sense of the approach, but were expecting it a month or two later.

The usual suspects in this space, including Lendlease, Laing O’Rourke, AECOM, Leighton and Downer EDI (to name but a few with a high probability of many a joint venture in the mix) are no doubt waiting on further details of the promised industry day, hopefully later this month.

Update: The industry day willbe held on Monday January 29 in Canberra.

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