AE Smith in Fine Form for VRC Project

AE Smith in Fine Form for VRC Project

A can-do attitude and applied problem solving were required when the AE Smith Melbourne Service team recently completed a challenging project for the busy Victorian Racing Club



9 Nov 2010

AE Smith employees installing a air conditioning unit on a construction site

Initially quoted as two stages of work to be completed, commissioned and fully operational prior to the commencement of the Spring Racing Carnival on October 1, the Victoria Racing Club (VRC) project quickly turned into a logistical challenge for Projects Manager Trevor McAllan and his team.

Stage 1 of the project required removal and replacement of four rooftop package systems complete with ductwork and controls in the very popular two-storey Champagne Bar & Chicquita Room located trackside on the main straight. A three week turnaround was allowed from the proposed starting date.

But that timeframe suddenly became five days when the VRC were unable to reschedule several functions during the period. Trevor says it came down to a question of what could realistically be achieved in light of the changed circumstances.

“The challenge was thrown out to AE Smith to have two of the four systems operational within five days of the commencement of the changeover,” Trevor says.

The team immediately began placing phone calls to suppliers and subcontractors, putting the wheels in motion to find a solution.

“Anything that could be installed prior to the day was installed, anything that could be prefabricated was, and was delivered to site ready to go,” he says.

“Delivery of ductwork and AC units was organised to arrive separately on the day, as were trucks to remove all redundant equipment lowered from the rooftops.”

Mother Nature provided another challenge, with forecasts of showers with moderate winds gusting to gale force by the afternoon threatening to jeopardise the use of the all important crane lift.

Fortunately, the weather bureau got it wrong, but Trevor says there were still some tense moments when the wind blew up.

“The boys knocked off at night and came back throughout the weekend, and the project was delivered on time – a credit to all involved,” he says.

But the challenges didn’t stop there.

“Stage 2 of the project required the removal of seven rooftop package systems, complete with ductwork and controls serving three separate function rooms on Level 3 of the Hill Stand,” Trevor says.

Once again the busy VRC venue threw the team a challenge, when there was a need for air conditioning for two of the three function rooms for one night only within a week of the initial lift.

While Trevor says this caused some reshuffling of priorities, he adds “as we do at AE Smith, we made it happen.”

In addition to the logistical challenges of the project, Trevor says Occupational Health & Safety (OH&S) was always at the forefront of their thinking.

“When we were lifting for the Champagne Bar and Chicquita Room, the VRC had a movie production in progress in the same area which saw 200 cast extras in costume located around the stands,” he says.

“Barricading the areas and ensuring enough signage was set out to ensure people’s safety was paramount. Likewise for the Hill Stand. During the entire day the Tabaret venue was also operational.”

In light of the need to ensure all team members were well acquainted with the intricacies of the project and OH&S considerations, all contractors were inducted on site prior to commencement of work and JSA’s (Job Safety Analysis Forms) were submitted by all parties for sign off prior to commencement of work.

Trevor says special thanks must go to the Victorian Projects Team and in particular Travis Young, who supervised and co-ordinated the work.

“All in all it was a great team effort.”




The images above show the VRC rooftop package system removal and replacement in progress.


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