MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA: Premier global construction company, Multiplex, has reached practical completion on the restoration of the historic three-level Trades Hall building, located at 54 Victoria Street in Carlton, Victoria.

The 3,800 square metre heritage-listed building sits prominently on the Lygon Street corner and was originally constructed between 1876 and 1925 in 10 separate stages.

The refurbishment of Trades Hall was led by high-profile architect and heritage consultant Lovell Chen, and focused on conservation works and refurbishment of the main public spaces. Works included the refurbishment to the New Council Chamber and building services upgrades, and a key driver of the project was to open the historic building up to enable public access.

It is one of the first major building projects to benefit from the Government’s Living Heritage Grants Program. The grant funding financed the refurbishment project plus essential conservation and activation works such as roofing works and repairs to the Lygon Street portico.

 “We are pleased to reach practical completion on the second stage of this important restoration project. Trades Hall represents a significant part of Carlton’s history. We are proud to help preserve that and drew upon our specialist expertise in heritage restorations to deliver this special project,” said Graham Cottam, Regional Managing Director Multiplex Victoria.

Stage Two works consisted of conservation and refurbishment of the North Wing, Executive Wing, Victoria Street and both North and South Towers.

The refurbishment works within the office spaces of the North and Executive Wing included mechanical heating and cooling, new amenities, roof replacement and repairs, and seismic strengthening. The Executive Wing was also restored to incorporate the original decorative paint scheme.

The entrance to the second floor of the South Tower was restored, with the non-original ceiling demolished and original balustrade reinstated.. The works within this area also included roof replacement, new flagpole, upgraded amenities and new roof decking. The project also saw the construction of modern amenities including  a new lift to improve access throughout the building.

According to Multiplex, structural changes were carefully designed to complement the existing structure. A painting conservator investigated the original paint scheme within the Executive Wing to determine the stencil design and colours, with the end palette featuring over 30 paint colours and two different stencils.

“The building consists of a number of decorative paint schemes, many of which have been painted over throughout the years. We worked closely with the client and architect to retain the building’s authenticity and preserve its rich history,” said Mr Cottam.

Seismic strengthening works were completed to the North Wing first floor and roof timber structure. A blocking timber was installed to the full perimeter of these areas with additional timber noggins to provide seismic compliance.

In addition to the challenges and intricacies of working within a heritage building, Multiplex meticulously scheduled works to minimise impact on tenants. Stage Two took 13 months to reach practical completion with some 300 construction workers on site over the project lifecycle.

Multiplex has a solid reputation in heritage projects and recently delivered the heritage conversion for Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation’s (ANMF) multi-million mixed-use commercial development, located at 535 Elizabeth Street in Melbourne’s CBD.