“Our expertise and experience in electrical, fire safety and sustainability services is being well utilised as part of the upgrade of Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal (OPT) and we are up to the challenges involved,” notes Paul Jacobsen, a Umow Lai Associate Director who is leading the firm’s project team.
“The challenges we face arise by and large by having to work in a building that still functions as the city’s major passenger terminal in the heart of the CBD, and having to complete the work within a very tight time schedule.”
Paul mentions some of the innovative features of the design being addressed by Umow Lai include installing a new underfloor mechanical air distribution system and a fire safety strategy utilising passive smoke management via an operable facade and mezzanine void smoke reservoir.
“There is a uniquely designed underfloor air distribution system serving a new mezzanine floor that will minimise the disruption to the architectural features the existing building form. ”
When completed, the upgrade to the OPT will ensure there is more flexibility within various spaces to cater for multiple uses such as terminal operations, functions and events. And the new lifts and travelators will improve passenger movement throughout the terminal.
“Some of the behind-the-scenes services Umow Lai is providing will enhance the building’s functioning and general facilities,” Paul added. “Those that come to mind include introducing mixed mode ventilation; having areas that are passively ventilated with operable facades, greatly improved CCTV coverage and upgraded electrical, fire, and hydraulic systems.”
The upgrade will increase both the efficiency and capacity of the terminal building, enabling it to more comfortably handle the larger cruise ships now visiting more often. Cruising is the fastest growing sector of Australian tourism. In the latest in a series of record years, 2013/14 saw 261 cruise ship visits to Sydney, disembarking and embarking more than 1.2 million passengers. With 240 ship visits in 2012/13, 199 in 2011/12 and 153 in 2010/11, that’s an average annual growth over the three years of more than 23.5%.
Umow Lai’s Sydney Office has been engaged by the Port Authority of New South Wales to provide Mechanical, Electrical, Security, Communications, Hydraulics, Fire Protection, Audio Visual and Fire Safety services. The firm is working closely with the architects, Johnson Pilton Walker and other team members, to have work completed in a short construction period, finishing early 2015. The terminal will remain operational throughout construction.