On the 20th of November 2014, a fire occurred in a low level unit of a large apartment building in the Melbourne Docklands area. The fire travelled in an upward direction, each time affecting the unit directly above the one below. The result was a fireball of flames through the units of 15 floors. The fire triggered the buildings sprinkler system on each level causing water damage to the units that were unaffected by the fire. In total, close to 120 apartments were damaged in the incident. Oriel Property Services were appointed to project manage the entire restoration.
Due to the scale of the restoration, a major challenge of this project was managing costs. These had to be monitored through strict controls and intense scrutiny of all the materials and labour involved in the restoration. In addition to the projects scale, a short time frame was placed on reinstatement of the entire building. The deadline being before Christmas, meaning Oriel had only 34 days to complete a full restoration.
A further challenge arose as a result of water damage caused by the sprinkler system and the subsequent development of mould in the affected units. This was of major concern as it was highly possible that, should mould be allowed to develop, the liability would be placed with the Insurer.
Some of the critical steps taken by Oriel that resulted in the project’s success include:
- Engaging three separate restoration companies to ensure completion by the due date. Two of the restoration companies were dedicated to the internal restoration of the units, the third worked solely on contents.
- Negotiating pre-agreed rates with each restoration company which were significantly discounted due to the large volume of work.
- Controlling scope by having restorers use sign in and sign out sheets and identifying all plant and equipment through audits. This resulted in a $99,000 saving.
- Reviewing the invoices of each restoration company found over $55,000 worth of errors.
- Engaging an Occupational Hygienist to inspect every apartment and carry out a certification report so as to ensure no liability could be placed on the Insurer in relation mould.
Following an audit conducted by the Insurer, the total savings as a result of Oriel’s project management were found to be in excess of $440,000.