Your Questions Answered - Olympic Pool Redevelopment

 

There is incorrect information circulating about the appointment of a construction company for the redevelopment of the North Sydney Olympic Pool. Here are the facts.

 


 

What was the tender process?

Council conducted an expressions of interest (EOI) for construction of the pool, closing on 21 April 2020. Nine expressions of interest were received. At its meeting of 22 June 2020, Council resolved to invite eight of the nine companies to submit a tender. Of these eight, five chose to do so.

 

How were the tenders assessed?

The tenders were assessed with consideration to: 

  • Robustness of the proposed construction methodology;
  • Demonstrated capacity, experience and technical ability;
  • Duration of construction period; and
  • Price

 

What role did the elected Council have in assessing the tender?

The tenders were assessed by a panel of four senior staff members. At its Extraordinary meeting of 15 December 2020, Councillors were provided with a confidential report on the tender process which included details of the tenderers, the assessment and the recommendation of the tender panel. 

At this meeting, Council authorised the General Manager to finalise contract negotiations and enter a contract with ICON SI, the preferred tenderer.

Prior to entering the contract on 31 December 2020, a detailed independent financial assessment of the company was undertaken. Council appointed a sub-committee for this purpose, which reviewed the final contract terms. Specialist advice for the contract negotiations was provided by Sparke Helmore solicitors.

 

Was the process undertaken appropriately?

Probity advisors Prevention Partners NSW was appointed to oversee the procurement process. The excerpt from the Probity Report below is the summary statement by the Principal of Prevention Partners NSW. 

I have been involved in and witnessed numerous projects similar to this. I am delighted to say that this Project was managed with attendance to probity, due diligence, and legal compliance.

The Panel brought to the Project their full attention and experience for the purpose of achieving the best possible outcome in the public interest. Further, sufficiently senior staff members were assigned functions in relation to the Project, including involvement of the General Manager, as necessary.

The professionalism I witnessed by each staff member involved in this Project was exemplary. 

 

Who is ICON SI?

ICON SI was formerly known as Cockram Construction, an Australian contracting company with 150 years of experience. Cockram was purchased by Kajima Corporation in May 2017 and re-branded to Icon SI in December 2018.  Kajima is a Japanese-owned multinational construction group with 17,000 employees operating in over 20 countries. Kajima has annual revenues in excess of $25 billion. 

Icon SI has completed more than 80 projects ranging up to $400 million in value. Its portfolio includes three major aquatic projects:

  • $15M Lane Cove Aquatic Centre (2020)
  • $26M Ruth Everuss Aquatic Centre in Auburn (2017)
  • $45M Camberwell Grammar Sports Centre (2016)

 

Did ICON SI build Opal Tower?

No. While ICON SI is now under the Kajima umbrella with the Icon (NSW) company that completed the build of the Opal Tower in August 2018, it is a separate legal and financial entity. The tender was assessed on the quality and size of the projects ICON SI (and the Cockram team) had completed.

 

Has the pool project budget blown out?

No. At its meeting of 26 August 2019, Council resolved to amend the long-term financial plan and Delivery Program to include a budget of $57.9 million to allow the development option selected by Council to proceed.

The construction contract entered with ICON SI is valued at $53.5 million. However, Council has allowed for an overall final budget of $63.9 million, which includes the design and development costs, legal and specialist consultancies, project management for the balance of the project and an allowance for contingencies that may arise during construction.

The reference to a $28 million proposal was for the replacement of the outdoor 50m pool and retention of the existing grandstand and building structure.  This concept was rejected in the development phase as it did not address the structural deficiencies of the buildings or provide any additional facilities to meet the needs of users other than lap swimmers.

 

Why did Council support the current scope of the redevelopment?

The 50m pool, concourse and grandstand have reached the end of their useful life and need upgrading. The majority of Councillors recognised that there was value in improving and expanding the facilities available to meet a wider range of community needs. This view was in line with the views expressed by the community during extensive consultation undertaken about a range of development options. 

The new facilities include:

  • an additional warm water pool suitable for learn to swim and gentle exercise for older people or people recovering from injury
  • a children’s leisure pool
  • an expanded gym with separate rooms for exercise classes.

The mix of facilities will also maximise the use of the centre all year round. This will allow the centre to meet its own recurrent operating costs rather than relying on an annual rates subsidy to operate. A minority group of councillors voted against the pool redevelopment throughout the project.

 

 

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Posted on 24 February 2021

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