Vic prison project a green challenge

Engineering and sustainability consultancy Umow Lai is technical adviser for the Ararat Prison Project, which involves construction of 350 new beds integrated into the existing facility. The expansion will enable an increase in the number of prisoners to be housed there to more than 700.Project manager John Avramiotis said this type of project had some inherent challenges.“These include finding the most appropriate means of carrying out the work with minimum disruption, being able to maintain all the facilities and functions of the existing prison while not disadvantaging residents or staff, and maintaining the highest levels of security,” he said.Avramiotis said another significant challenge was developing an appropriate environmental tool to achieve green initiatives and sustainable outcomes in line with Department of Justice guidelines. “This is the first time that anyone has set out to achieve such an ambitious environmental program for a prison in Victoria,” he said.“In order to achieve a significantly green facility, we have had to develop appropriate tools to be able to drive the private sector bidders to deliver on environmental outcomes.“We have recommended a range of ESD [ecologically sustainable design] features that could be integrated into the prison, including some which will enable Corrections Victoria to accurately monitor and better manage energy and water usage.” Umow Lai has developed the technical documentation outlining the minimum specifications, technical information and security systems for the new facility, which is currently out to tender. The consultancy will review all bids to ensure they meet the specifications, provide advice to the Department of Justice project team once the successful project consortium is announced, and assist the team in commissioning the prison, once built.Construction is expected to start mid-2010, with completion in late 2012.

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