Falls Creek Lodge Redevelopment Update

Dear ASC Members

As advised in earlier communications the Club has been working to upgrade the Falls Creek Lodge to better meet the needs of Club members and fulfil the requirements to obtain a new lease.

The past and present committee are pleased to confirm that our lease has been renewed and announce that the subsequent building works associated with this approval are due to commence this coming summer.

Below is detailed summary of the process to date, the plans of the approved works for stage 1, the costs associated with this work and some FAQ’s to answer questions you may have regarding the process and the upgrades themselves.


Please take the time to review this information.

Questions may be submitted via the form at the bottom of the page no later than  31st May 2021.

Alternatively, please send your questions directly to the Club secretary [email protected]


A brief summary of what’s included in Stage 1 of the redevelopment
We have included a time line of decisions leading to this point, the floor plans and schematic drawings which should give you a good idea of the what’s changing and how it will look.

Below are just a few of the major upgrades that will help us meet the ongoing needs of our members and transition the lodge into a modern and functional building.

  • Update bedrooms on NW side of the building, including 6 new twin rooms and updates to bedrooms 2,3,4 i.e. new windows and day beds.
  • An upgraded quiet lounge with access to the new verandah
  • New verandah and fire exit stairs on both ends of the building
  • New exterior cladding to the northern aspect of the building and verandah refurbishment
  • Upgraded TV  room with more space and natural light
  • New BBQ area on the northeast end of the building

Note. There are no changes scheduled for the current toilet and shower facilities, dining and lounge areas, ski storage, lockers, furniture, lobby and entrance. Please see the plans included for further information


Background and overview

The current upgrade of the Albury Ski Club lodge at Falls Creek came about from the need to renew our existing site lease which expired in 2020.

The length of the new lease term varied on the amount each lease holder was to spend on their asset. Every lease holder must at least bring their building (near to) current building and bush fire code. This is an absolute minimum we must do in order to have our lease renewed.

A professional approach has been taken culminating in the selection of an experienced Alpine Architect to produce comprehensive tender and working drawing an integral part of a well-run project. Only a suitably commercial licensed and insured builder should be awarded the project.

  • June 2015 –  A member survey was put to all current members for their input as to how they see their Falls Creek Lodge in the future. Their response formed the basis for our current plans.
  • April 2016 – As part of the lease renewal a site survey was undertaken by Crowther and Sadler.
  • February 2017 – Two local architects were chosen to submit Fee for Service proposals. The committee chose Sunjoule Design. An experienced Alpine Architect.
  • May 2018 – A Geotechnical report was carried out by Civil Test. Another report required for our lease renewal.
  • April 2019 – First round of tenders went out to three local builders. Only one builder  submitted a tender price for the whole project. An offer of $1,071,466 Inclusive of GST was quoted for the stage 1 of the works.  A price the committee felt too high to procced with and unwilling to commit club funds with only one quote.
  • August 2019 – Quantity surveyor report received with BOQ by cost detailed . PDH Estimating in  Melbourne.
  • January 2020 – Covid 19  announced  and from March through winter Victoria in lockdown. Falls Creek restricted access/ locked, no skiing, no use of Lodge.
  • November 2020 – A second round of tenders was released with the project broken into two stages. The documents went to 4 interested builders asking to quote on Stage 1 and Stage 2. Three other builders  declined our request to tender. Only one builder  replied to the tender, with a quote for stage 1 of approximately  $1.1m Inclusive of GST)
  • April 2021 – Because of the time delay in getting the project up and running at a price the committee were comfortable with our planning approval expired and we needed to apply for an extension. An extension has been granted.
  • Current work in progress –The building permit processed has commenced. The contract is yet to be signed. The two offers that the club has received have been very similar all be it twenty months apart.

The past Falls Creek Release Committee wish the current committee to know that they respect any decision they make going forward with the project.


 

Floor plans of the proposed changes

  • All stage 1 updates are indicated in yellow. Included in the below are before and after photos to give you a good idea of what’s changing



Some frequently asked questions…

Your committee has resolved to proceed with stage 1 of the re-development of Falls Creek Lodge after the coming winter season. Information about these works is set out below.

  1. When will the work commence?
    The builder will commence the working drawings during May and a contract is expected to  be signed in  June. The build is then expected to commence in early October.


  2. How long with the build take?
    It is expected that the work will be completed by mid-May 2022 in time for our winter season. Members will not have use of the lodge from the end of September 2021 until the commencement of the winter season 2022.


  3. Will the contents of my locker need to be removed? 
    As the building will not be secure once demolition starts, access to the ski storage area is possible. I would encourage members remove their skis, boards and belongings if they have concerns before renovation starts.


  4. What will the build cost?
    We obtained prices for stage 1 in of about $1.07M in mid-2019 and then for about $1.15M in early 2021. The committee did not proceed with the build in  2019 as it was uncomfortable with the price. However, the second price is largely in line with the earlier price allowing for industry price increases. These prices include GST, and the Club will  be able to recoup the GST.


  5. Can the Club afford the build?
    While the club does not have sufficient cash reserves to pay for the renovation in full, the club is able to access borrowings of about $600,000 to supplement allocated cash reserves. The committee is confident that the Club is able to service that level of borrowings as is our bank. The Club has paid off the Thredbo loan and has no other borrowings. The Club has cash reserves of about $700,000 with strong bookings for the winter season at both lodges. Formal finance documentation is yet to be executed but we have in principle approval. A contract with the builder won’t be signed until funding is secured.


  6. I heard that the other clubs on the mountain have exceeded their budgets for renovations in recent years. Will that happen to us?
    The other clubs have used different structures in regard to how their projects have been run. ASC will be engaging a principal contractor that is very experienced on the mountain and will be issued with a very detailed set of construction drawings including engineering in the contract. This in turn helps to arrive a far more accurate costing. Any difficulties encountered once demolition is complete will need to be approved by the relevant people that need to be involved, ie: building committee, engineers, architect and builder to arrive a cost-effective solution. If no unforeseen conditions arise, there should be no additional costs.The builder will also be locking in materials and contractors in advance to try and avoid material and labor cost increases. If the design is unaltered throughout the project this will also ensure price stability. (no variations)


  7. Has the Committee considered project managing the work ourselves like some other clubs have done?
    Yes the Committee has considered this option for undertaking the development of the lodge at Falls Creek No The committee and those involved in the work over the years decided it was best to engage a builder and for the builder to accept the risk of the build. We pay a premium for that, but the committee was keen to ensure that the build happened on time and that we were in by the following winter and for the builder to take the risk rather than the club. Further, the building climate at present is very difficult and product and trades are hard to come by and engaging a builder with access to existing trades and suppliers was considered a high priority. The committee was also of the view that the build should not involve members of the club because our conflict-of-interest policies and in the interest of transparency and accountability. The club has had very detailed plans prepared to enable accurate costing of the work and to minimize variations. Variations are almost a given with renovation work because you never know what you find when you start to demolish part of a building, but we are confident that any variations will be coped with.


  8. Am I able to be involved in the build or contact the builder?
    No, there will be a clause in the building contract limiting those who will be able to deal with the builder and the builder will be required to report any breaches of those arrangements to the Secretary.


  9. What work is being done and what will it look like?
    The redevelopment of the Falls Creek Lodge has been broken up into stages 1 and 2 The work has been staged because the club cannot afford both stages at the same time. The intention is to commence stage 2 as soon as the club is in a financial position to do so. It is hoped that stage 2 might be commenced within 5 years of completion of stage 1 but it all depends on the Clubs financial position.


  10. What costs has the club incurred so far?
    The plans and application etc have cost in the order of about $70-100k  to date. This included architect and engineering drawings and all building permits, soil test and surveys, legal fees etc.


  11. When will we get an occupancy certificate?
    This would normally issue at the time of practical completion, all works requiring inspection and sign off by building surveyors or engineers will be conducted during the build process, compliance to codes and other inspections will be completed prior to hand over and the appropriate certificates for occupancy will be then issued.


  12. How do we know the cost is competitive and what are the costs associated with building in an alpine environment? We have obtained earlier quotes from other builders.  Alpine building is a specialist business and the cost of construction in Alpine Resorts  more expensive than elsewhere. Cost is impacted by remote area, access to trades, transport cost and potential delays due to adverse weather. For example concrete at Mt Beauty is $160 a cubic meter but at Falls Creek delivered it is $450 a cubic meter. Often the cost of transport from Mt Beauty to Falls Creek is as much as from Melbourne to Mt Beauty. Also the weather conditions are so variable at Falls Creek that it reduces the number of days and that results in the need for additional resources to complete the work on time. We require a builder who is familiar with alpine building and who is on the spot to fix any issues during the defect liability period and who has a working relationship with FCRM and gets along with all the trades.

  13. What will happen if we don’t do the works this summer?
    If we don’t commence building this summer it will add considerable costs estimated at 150,000 to the build.


  1. What will happen if we don’t complete the works this summer?
    This is a risk to the club and its members. To mitigate this, the committee has agreed to use an experiences alpine builder with well established connections to trades in the local area. In addition we will have a liquidated damages provision in the contract to have the work completed before winter 2022, subject to extensions. Extensions will revolve around adverse weather but our builder says he has not yet missed completing work by winter – but past performance is no guarantee of future performance!


  2. Who is our architect?
    Ross Beaver, Sunjoule Design
    Belvoir Consulting (engineering design)


  1. What do I do if you have any questions?
    You should email your questions setting out your reasons to our secretary at: [email protected]
    Alternatively you can provide your feedback directly through the website.

 

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