Media release: Monday, 14 September 2015
The future of Australia's 40 million Commonwealth records has been assured, with the construction of a new purpose-built preservation and storage facility commencing this week.
After seeking market proposals for the design, construction, fit-out and comprehensive maintenance of the 18,000m2 facility, the National Archives of Australia has executed a 30-year lease back from Canberra developer, the Doma Group.
'This is a major milestone for the National Archives – a contemporary state-of-the-art facility to preserve our nation's history for the future,' said National Archives Director-General David Fricker. 'The preservation and accessibility of these Government records underpins our democratic process and ensures public accountability.
'The National Archives' ability to preserve significant Government records for the benefit of all Australians – depends upon us having adequate storage capacity. The records in our care come in many formats and some are quite fragile and prone to deterioration, needing specialised facilities and controlled environments. 'We are delighted that the building's passive, green design will minimise energy and resource use, greenhouse gas emissions and its environmental footprint.'
General Manager of Development for the Doma Group, Gavin Edgar, said: 'we are very pleased to have secured the necessary approvals, demolished the existing building on site and commenced the main construction two weeks ahead of program. We have hit every contractual milestone we committed to achieving so far with the Commonwealth'.
The project faces unique challenges, requiring 1400 pallets of compactus shelving material (114 kilometres) – provided by Adelaide-based company, Brownbuilt – and controlled temperature and humidity environments to preserve all manner of records.
'One of the other unique opportunities for the Doma Group is the ability to discuss long term funding arrangements with specialist finance providers offering 30-year terms,' said Mr Edgar. 'The strength of our Commonwealth track record of delivery and the long-term covenant is attracting a lot of interest in the market.'
Some of Canberra's finest subcontractors have been assembled to deliver this project with Doma Group's construction arm handpicking a number of key companies to ensure the success of the project.
Mr Fricker acknowledged the importance of the early collaborative approach developed between the Doma Group and the National Archives.
'Our collaboration has been a key aspect in ensuring the delivery of this specialised facility to preserve the most valuable records of the Commonwealth for all Australians,' he said.
Completion of the project is planned for February 2017.