The Australian Road Research Board (ARRB) is the source of independent expert transport knowledge, advising key decision makers on our nation’s most important challenges. In 2017, ARRB moved boldly into the future with a new vision and mission leading the way. This mission is about creating knowledge for tomorrow’s transport challenges, and solutions for today. ARRB wanted to define their own strategies and create their own standards across their industry.
We understood the importance of this partnership with ARRB, to not only support the ongoing cultural and brand change process, but also to design and build an environment that will help to strengthen their position as industry leaders, creating a space that will foster innovation and provide a workplace that will attract and retain the best talent.
Given the complex nature of the project, with large client/partner facing areas, flexible office space, laboratories, warehouse and outdoor areas, plus a focus on change management throughout the entire process, we were well placed with our offering to add real value to this project.
An intense 5-month design phase took place in collaboration with the ARRB, Aston and PTID. During this phase, various specialised materials underwent a vigorous testing period to ensure functionality and compatibility within the new space. Having limited pre-existing construction drawings proved challenging, however, was overcome due to additional exploratory site examinations including slab scans and CCTV cameras of the entire lab floor space.
The laboratory space has two distinct areas, the clean/front of house laboratory and the dirty/back of house laboratory which leads to 2 external sheds. Within the dirty lab, there are 5 purpose-built rooms, made from cool room panels to ensure sufficient soundproofing and ensure containment of messy works. While both spaces adhere to Australian Standards, additional safety measures were implemented to ensure ARRB exceeded the standards. These included eyewash stations at each sink, additional emergency showers and eyewash stations.
The workflow for ARRB was critical. Equipment was meticulously positioned to ensure the best functionality of the space. To compliment this, all joinery including steel framing, stainless steel benchtops, and balance benches were custom built by local suppliers to respond to the specific activity and requirements of the laboratory.
ARRB Chief Executive Officer Michael Caltabiano says the new facility will allow ARRB and Australia to further its research into future transport challenges facing the nation.
“Our aim is to build towards a connected mobility future for all Australians, and this new facility will allow us to provide enhanced, cutting-edge research to governments, road agencies and academia on all aspects of roads and transport,” Mr Caltabiano says.
The environment has been designed to be dually functional, effectively utilizing the space to its best advantage. The impact of efficient service and space optimization has already been huge. Teams that have been with the company for 15 years who previously had not interacted are now are working cohesively and collaboratively.
The laboratory space included the usual power, data, CO2, nitrogen, butane, hydrogen and compressed air services. Due to the combination of these highly volatile gases, strict adherence and coordination with Energy Safe Victoria was required, who also inspected the site upon completion. Working in space with 9m high ceilings added another level of complexity. With safety in mind, early planning and service coordination ensured that working from heights was carefully coordinated between all trades, to ensure a safe and efficient installation process.
With world-class research labs and state-of-the-art facilities, the National Transport Research Centre and Headquarters will be where ARRB shapes Australia’s transport future.