Project case studies
In this chapter the committee examines four recent projects undertaken
by DPS. The four projects are the:
- House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement project;
- Staff Accommodation project;
- Staff Dining Room project; and
- Car Park Lighting project.
The committee's discussion of the first two projects focusses on moral
rights issues and the remaining two projects raise issues of design integrity
and the adequacy of project management.
The moral rights regime is contained in the Copyright Act 1968 (Copyright
Act) and many individuals who collaborated on the construction of Parliament
House, or its contents, hold moral rights, not only the building architect. The
following provides an overview of DPS's policies in relation to moral rights.
DPS moral rights and design
The arrangements in relation to moral rights holders were initially
established by the Joint House Department (JHD). In March 2003, JHD confirmed
in correspondence to the building architect, Mr Romaldo Giurgola, that:
When a project is determined by JHD as potentially having
implications under the Copyright Amendment (Moral Rights) Act 2000, JHD
will provide you with a copy of both the Project Management Plan/Statement of
Requirement (as appropriate) and all Final Sketch Plans for your information.
For those projects that have implications under the Act (as
determined by JHD), JHD will provide you with written notice as required under
Section 195AT (2A) of the Act. This action will be instigated when detailed
design documentation is being reviewed. This will enable you to exercise your
rights under the Act.
Initially, the DPS Parliament House Works Manual provided advice
in relation to moral rights consultation processes:
8 When a project is determined by DPS as potentially
having implications under the Amending Act, DPS will provide Mr Giurgola with a
copy of both the PMP [Project Management Plan]/SOR (as appropriate) and all the
Final Sketch Plans for his information. During detailed design, DPS will
consult in "good faith" with Mr Giurgola.
9 For those projects that have "moral
rights" implications (as determined by DPS), DPS will provide Mr Giurgola
with written notice as required under Section 195AT(2A) of the Amending Act.
This action will be instigated when detailed design documentation is being
reviewed. This will enable Mr Giurgola to exercise his rights under the
Amending Act. A copy of this notification will be provided to MGT Canberra
Architects for their information.
10 Further design may continue during this period,
however construction tenders are not to be called until all "moral
rights" issues have been satisfactorily resolved.
DPS's project management arrangements require the identification of
design integrity issues and moral rights considerations. The Business Case
development process includes consideration of heritage aspects covering design
integrity, constraints and critical decisions.
Business Cases are considered, and approved by, the Strategy and Finance
DPS Building and Security Projects (BSP) Section use a checklist to
'ensure that significant governance and reporting requirements are met'. DPS
noted that this checklist 'includes steps to manage heritage aspects of the
work including the engagement with the original building architect during each
project when required'. The checklist also requires that, in preparing the
Functional Design Brief, the project manager must consult the Heritage Officer
and seek Design Integrity input.
When consultation with the architect (or other moral rights holder) is
required, this takes place during the design development stage:
- Design Options Phase–contact with original design agent if moral
rights applicable and commence informal consultation (present options); and
- 80% Stage–formalise 'moral rights' notification if applicable,
liaise with DPS Design Integrity.
DPS indicated that the letter to the moral rights holder at the 80 per
cent stage includes the statement that:
As part of our obligations under the Copyright Amendment
(Moral Rights) Act 2000 we are informing you of our intention to undertake
this work. Under the Act, you may request access to the building in order to
make a record (for example, by way of photographs or sketches) and/or consult
with DPS, concerning any aspect of the proposed changes that you consider may
be prejudicial to your honour or reputation as an author of the building.
DPS went on to state that this provides additional opportunity for the
moral rights holder to comment on specific issues with the design. DPS also
stated that should the moral rights holder not agree with the plans, 'we
arrange meetings to identify key issues and possible alternative approaches'.
DPS also commented that regular meetings with DPS and Mr Giurgola, and
informal discussions with GMB Architects, 'are intended to reduce areas of
concern' at the design stage.
In its submission to the committee, DPS commented:
There has been periodic consultation with the original
architects. This consultation respects the moral rights of the architects, and
also seeks their views about design integrity...the consultation process
continues and is generally constructive.
The committee notes that even though there is a legislative requirement
for this notification, there is no obligation that any advice of the moral
rights holder be followed, as long as processes required under the Act have
House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement Project
The House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement Project was managed by
the Department of Parliamentary Services (DPS) on behalf of the Department of
the House of Representatives to address certain occupational health and safety,
information technology and functional operation requirements of the Chamber.
The committee has focussed its examination on the management of this
project by DPS, including design integrity considerations, heritage management
and DPS's responses to concerns raised by Mr Giurgola.
The Enhancements in the House of Representatives Chamber project was
based on two separate business cases: one for the House of Representatives
Chamber Distinguished Visitors' Gallery; and a second for Technology Enhancements
in the House of Representatives Chamber. The project initiation document
was approved on 5 January 2009. The following discussion addresses the
second of the projects, the technology enhancements in the House of
The project's Request for Quotation for the design phase was released to
market on 12 January 2009, with a due date of
4 February 2009. The Request for Quotation included the Project
Functional Design Brief which stated the project aims as:
technology functionality to the Speaker and Clerk;
(b) To improve the
ergonomic design and adjustability of the Speaker's chair/table;
(c) Construct a
purpose designed distinguished visitors' gallery that better reflects the
design and status of the House of Representatives Chamber; and
(d) Provide new console
tables that are in keeping with the design of the chamber.
To achieve the above aims the project involved modifications or upgrade to
the Speaker's chair and desk, the main table (Clerk's and Deputy Clerk's
table), the addition of a distinguished visitors' gallery and the fabrication
of console tables (for drinks).
The attachments to the Project Functional Design Brief included an
extract of Chapter 14 from the draft Central Reference Document (CRD) to
provide guidance on the overarching design principles of the original
Parliament House Architect in regards to the House of Representatives chamber. The
committee notes that the Project Functional Design Brief identified the project
as being subject to notification and other actions in accordance with the Copyright
The successor architectural firm to MGT, Guida Mosley Brown (GMB)
Architects, submitted a quotation for the project but was unsuccessful with
LFA Pty Ltd the successful tenderer for the project. LFA Pty Ltd was
engaged on 2 March 2009 for the provision of design stage services. The
design stage of the project was completed on 28 September 2009.
The budget for the completed project was estimated at $524,500 and
subsequently came in under budget at a total cost of $507,518.
The cost of the project elements were as follows:
Table 4.1: House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement
Spare Speaker's chair
Refurbishment to leather armrests on timberwork
Distinguished Visitors' Gallery
IT room behind chamber
Source: Budget Estimates
2012–13, Department of Parliamentary Services, Answer to question on notice No. 64.
Heritage management and design
Documents concerning the management of this project were made available
to the committee by DPS. The committee's examination of the documents raised a
number of concerns about the design integrity and heritage management aspects
of the project including:
- the adequacy of the documentation for guidance on design
principles provided as part of the Project Function Design Brief;
- the consultation process with the building architect; and
- the level of engagement of heritage management and design
integrity sections of DPS on the project.
Request for quotation documentation
As noted above, to provide guidance on the overarching design principles
relevant to the project, the Project Functional Design Brief included Chapter
14 of the CRD entitled 'Architects intent in the design of the House of
Representatives Chamber' as an attachment. The committee notes that references
to the CRD at paragraphs 14 and 15 of the Project Functional Design Brief do
not indicate that it is a draft document only. The Project Functional Design
Brief further states that the CRD and the Design Integrity and Management of
Change Guidelines (1995) should be consulted with reference to any change
likely to impact on the building's design integrity.
Ms Pamille Berg, a member of the Parliament House design team and author
of the draft CRD, advised DPS in an email that the chamber sections of the
document were incomplete. She expressed her concern at the provision of this
extracted chapter of the CRD as part of the Project Functional Design Brief:
...there is no material in that existing draft chapter covering
the design intent of the Speaker's Chair, the Central Table, and many other key
aspects of the Chamber's design. Therefore it is not sufficient for DPS to
provide the draft CRD to a Design Consultant as constituting the design intent
briefing document relating to proposed changes to the House of Representatives
A submitter also put the view that the Project Functional Design Brief
was misleading in regard to the design requirements for the Speaker's chair.
The project's aims and objectives were listed at paragraph 1(b) as 'To improve
the ergonomic design and adjustability of the Speaker's chair for multiple
users.' The brief then goes on to state at paragraphs 4(g), (h) and (i) that
the design outcomes will include:
(g) The removal, and transport to suitable storage space, of
the existing speaker's chair backrest, seat base and hydraulic mechanism;
(h) The construction of new infill flooring under the
existing Speaker's chair;
(i) The procurement, possible modification and installation
of a proprietary Speaker's chair to suit ergonomic requirements, and to meet
Consultation with the Parliament
As the committee noted in its interim report, an important element of
heritage management in Parliament House is the maintenance of design integrity
and the relationship with the original architect of Parliament House, Mr Giurgola,
as the moral rights holder under the Copyright Act.
During the course of the project, DPS consulted with Mr Giurgola,
including through formal moral rights notification, and other members of the
original design team, Mr Harold Guida and Ms Pamille Berg. The department
also consulted the original craftsmen of the Speaker's chair,
Mr David Upfill-Brown, and the Clerk's table, Mr Bernie Koker.
The formal 'moral rights notice' was sent to Mr Giurgola on 4 September
2009, at the '80% documentation' stage. However, prior to this date, a number
of communications took place between DPS and Mr Giurgola.
Mr Giurgola first became aware of the project not through any
notification or contact from DPS but rather from GMB Architects which consulted
him on their brief for the tender. Mr Giurgola agreed to provide design
guidance during the early design stages and during documentation of the scope
However, as noted earlier, GMB were unsuccessful in their tender for the
Mr Giurgola subsequently wrote in detail to DPS (letter received
21 April 2009). Mr Giurgola noted that DPS referred to him
alteration/addition projects 'which it deems to be of a sensitive nature' to
the maintenance of design intent for formal evaluation and comment pursuant to
the Act. However, he commented:
Although I have been waiting for many weeks, no contact has
been made with me to date by your Department with respect to the supposed
'enhancement' project in the House of Representatives Chamber.
Mr Giurgola went on to outline his concerns with each of the scopes of
work to potentially damage and lessen the integrity of the Chamber's complex
and integrated design. He noted that he was 'particularly shocked' at the
proposal to remove the existing Speaker's chair components and to replace them
with a 'proprietary Speaker's chair'. Mr Giurgola noted his close collaboration
with timber craftsman, Mr David Upfill-Brown, on the design,
detailing, documentation and hand fabrication of the Speaker's chair and Mr
Upfill-Brown's formal commission within the Parliament House Art/Craft Program.
His view of the proposal to engage someone to detail the removal of the chair's
backrest, seat base and associated mechanisms from the chair and replace it
with a proprietary chair was that:
...by its very nature appears to violate both my moral rights
as the Chair's designer and Mr Upfill-Brown's intellectual property under
his Art Program commission contract.
Mr Giurgola concluded:
...I hope that this letter notifying you of my extreme concern with
the project now under proposal allows you to reconsider this matter before it
becomes one of considerable difficulty on all sides.
Mr Alan Thompson, then Secretary, DPS, responded to Mr Giurgola on
13 May 2009. Mr Thompson stated that the proposal to 'alter' the chair had
arisen because of occupational health and safety (OHS) concerns and that it was
considered an interim solution. Further, he endorsed the department's approach
to the project as properly recognising design integrity considerations, which
(a) inviting the original architects
of the building to tender on the design;
(b) including our Heritage Management
officer in the design review; and
(c) investigating an option to retain and modify the
Once a preferred direction is established and preliminary
sketch design drawings produced for all the work that is being considered, we
will provide those to you and invite your comments, as we will do where
relevant with David Upfill-Brown.
The DPS files examined by the committee included a copy of the draft of Mr Thompson's
letter of 13 May 2009 prepared by the project officer. The draft included additional
items of formal engagement of DPS Heritage Management in the project. The
following measures included in the draft letter were removed from the final
version listed above:
including our Heritage Management officer on the Design Stage Tender
- regular meetings/consultation between our architect and the Department's
Heritage Management officer; and
- a rigorous design review process.
Documents on the DPS files indicate that there were concerns with the
project and the wording of the final letter to Mr Giurgola within the Heritage
Management area and included:
- the inference that Heritage Management supported the direction of
the project and that processes gave due consideration to design integrity
concerns and contractual arrangements to alleviate Mr Giurgola's concerns;
the Heritage Management Officer had provided clear advice that
Heritage Management did not support the removal of the chair's back and seat
and recommended investigating options of refurbishing the existing chair;
- that the Heritage Management Officer was not given the
opportunity to provide input into the letter;
- legal advice should have been sought in relation to contractual
arrangements with Mr Upfill-Brown;
- the OHS assessment commissioned by DPS did not recommend the
removal of the Speaker's chair seat and back; and
the reference to an 'interim solution' to address the OHS
concerns with the Speaker's chair was not factual, and had not formed any part
of the project brief, documents or correspondence.
Indeed, the copy of the Secretary's signed letter to Mr Giurgola on the
DPS file has point (b) hand highlighted and an annotation from the former
Director, Strategic Planning and Policy, which states:
Terry [Former Assistant Secretary, Infrastructure Services
We are extremely upset by this lie that has been included in
the letter to the Architect. We are considering what we can do about it.
Heather [Former Director, Strategic Planning and Policy]
The committee further notes that the final version of the letter sent to
Mr Giurgola is dated two days after the project's 'Design Options
Presentation' meeting with all stakeholders held on 11 May 2009. DPS Heritage
Management was an apology for this meeting, however, the minutes indicate that
the option to retain and modify the existing chair was considered and rejected
in favour of a replacement chair.
As a decision had been made to not retain the existing chair at the time
Mr Thompson wrote to Mr Giurgola, the committee considers that Mr
Thompson's letter should have been clearer in this regard.
DPS provided an opportunity for Mr Giurgola, Ms Berg and Mr Guida
to meet with LFA Architects for a presentation on the design considerations
leading to the projects preferred option designs. Prior to the meeting, Ms Berg
had requested the specific documents that LFA had sourced to assist them to
'give careful consideration to the design intent and heritage values of the
spaces' as stated in the CRD Compliance Review.
The meeting took place on 19 June 2009 and was based on '50%
design documentation'. Also present at this meeting was the project manager, a
member of the Project Board, the Director Building and Security Projects and DPS
Heritage Management staff.
Following this meeting, 13 items of concern were identified by
Mr Giurgola covering the distinguished visitors' gallery, the Clerk's
table, and the Speaker's desk and chair. On 20 July 2009, the Project Board considered
these items and feedback from the project architect as to whether or not to
amend the project scope. The Project Board agreed to modify some elements.
Ms Berg, in an email to DPS on 24 July 2009, reiterated the concerns
with project in relation to the 'wholeness' and preciousness of the chair as an
inseparable element of the Chamber and the importance of not cutting holes in,
or modifying, the timber of the desk or the bronze and timber of the table.
The modifications agreed to on 20 July 2009 were outlined in a letter
dated 4 September 2009 from Director, Building and Security Projects,
to Mr Giurgola. It was stated that the project scope items had been
modified to 'better reflect your concerns'. The changes included:
the production of a new ergonomic Speaker's chair that will match the
size, proportion and general aesthetic of the existing;
(d) the Speaker's chair desk is not to include the 4 retractable screens as
previously documented. Instead we are providing a small brass rail that will neatly
accommodate any type/brand or removable screens without the use of proprietary
screen stands; and
(e) the Main table is not to have hinged LCD screen box housings fixed to
it, as previously documented. Instead it is intended to only provide IT
infrastructure to the lower middle pigeon hole at both the Clerk and Deputy
Clerk locations. Proprietary LCD screens with stands can then be provided when
he House is sitting.
This letter also attached the formal moral rights notification and 80
per cent design documents, with an invitation to visit the site prior to the
alterations taking place, as required under the Copyright Act. Mr Giurgola was
invited to respond within three weeks of receipt of the letter (around 26 or 27
The Design Stage Completion Report for the project was completed on
28 September 2009 (before the receipt of Mr Giurgola's response) by the
project manager, recommending that the Project Executive approve the design
stage completion and ongoing works for construction stage. Two of the three
members of the Project Executive approved the recommendations for design stage
completion by the following day.
The Design Stage Completion Report commented, in relation to Heritage
Considering the modifications that have been made to the
project scope items as a consequence of the moral rights consultation, and the
ongoing formal and informal communications with Heritage Management, it is
believed that the main concerns of the Parliament House architect have been
incorporated in a considered manner where possible.
The report also noted that:
The main lesson learnt for this stage of the project was in managing
and resolving all heritage issues. This involved substantial modifications to
the agreed project scope, and so it resulted in small cost and time variations.
In a project of similar sensitivity it would be worthwhile building such
potential/likely issues into the design stage program.
The following day, the project manager responded to an email from Ms
Berg advising that Mr Giurgola had been ill and was intending to submit
comments in response to the moral rights notification and 80 per cent design
documents. The project manager advised Ms Berg that:
We are very happy to receive feedback from Mr Giurgola, but
so far we have not received a response from him...
As time is starting to run short, it would be good if we had
the response within the next week or so.
The committee considers that, given that the design stage completion was
essentially concluded, or close to concluding, and the project manager was already
seeking design stage completion approval it appears disingenuous for the
project manager to suggest to Ms Berg that the department was still happy to
receive Mr Giurgola's feedback after the due date.
Mr Giurgola responded on 7 October 2009 acknowledging that there were
improvements in some areas following the earlier consultation. However, Mr
Giurgola remained of the view that 'the proposed modifications and revised
drawings do not yet fully maintain the essential design intent of the Chair,
Desk, Table and new Distinguished Visitors' Gallery'.
This correspondence, totalling eight pages, included detailed comments on
aspects of the proposed design which Mr Giurgola considered still needed to be
addressed to achieve the maintenance of the intent of the original design in
regard to the Speaker's chair and desk and the distinguished visitors' gallery
(no comments were made on the proposed drawings for the Main table
There was repeated criticism throughout Mr Giurgola's letter that the
contracted architect was not required, as part of the project scope of
services, to provide a written report at each submission stage explaining the
logic and design considerations to enable all stakeholders to understand the
full implications of the changes being proposed.
On 8 October 2009, the project manager advised that the construction
contractor evaluation was complete and sought approval to engage the contractor
noting that any delay in doing so 'is likely to impact on being able to
undertake construction works over the summer recess'. Mr Kenny, then Deputy
Secretary, DPS, commented that:
We should proceed–the "moral rights"
responsibilities do not include allowing any points raised in the G/B letter to
"block" the project.
DPS responded to Mr Giurgola's letter of 7 October on 15 October
2009. The response was brief and the Secretary advised Mr Giurgola that:
I note your comments, including your acknowledgement that
amendments have been made as a result of the earlier consultation with you.
Your additional comments will be considered carefully by the project board as
it finalises its work on the project.
The committee has also viewed drafts of the letter to Mr Giurgola
and emails concerning the drafts. The intent was to keep the response brief. However,
it appears to the committee that the discussion in the emails points to an
unhelpful attitude. For example, changing the word 'improvements' to
'amendments'. In addition, the project manager commented that:
...if we are going to the effort of taking the free advice (ie
the content of the letter) and acting on it if appropriate and easily
achievable, then I think we should acknowledge that to help make them feel that
their comments are being taken seriously.
Although the design stage of the project was essentially complete by the
time DPS received Mr Giurgola's comments of 7 October, a series of
emails indicates that the project architect was provided with Mr Giurgola's
comments to advise 'on whether any issues raised in the letter are considered
to be sensible and practicable to incorporate into the project scope'.
Engagement with other moral rights
DPS advised the craftsperson of the Speaker's chair, Mr David
Upfill-Brown, by email on 18 May 2009 of the proposed modifications under the
project including removing the existing seat base, seat back and seat
mechanism, and replacing them with a purpose made proprietary executive chair
and sought his concurrence. Mr Upfill-Brown confirmed his agreement with
the modifications via a brief email on 20 May 2009.
Evidence to the committee suggested that the information provided by DPS
to Mr Upfill-Brown was insufficient and misleading and not a true moral rights
consultation. In particular, there was concern with the following advice:
A number of users of the Speaker's Chair have made complaints
that their periods of use in the chair has created/inflamed/exacerbated back
pain. As such we have had an independent OHS assessment carried out on the
chair, which has raised a number of ergonomic issues.
It was suggested to the committee that the above statement may have
implied some responsibility on Mr Upfill-Brown for any injury incurred as
a result of the ergonomic issues identified and this may have influenced his initial
concurrence with the proposed modifications.
By the end of May 2009, DPS established that it required legal advice in
relation to the 1988 contract with Mr Upfill-Brown and the Parliament House
Construction Authority (PHCA) and whether his email was sufficient waiver of
the 'non-destruction or alteration' right contained in the contract. Initially,
advice was sought from the Parliamentary Library. This was provided on 16 June
2009 and commented that further advice should be sought.
DPS subsequently sought advice from the office of the Australian
Government Solicitor. This was received on 22 September 2009 and in summary
- the 'non-destruction or alteration' clause continues to bind the
- the rights of the PHCA are vested in the Commonwealth, and in
this case it would not be inappropriate for the DPS to represent the
- the email confirmation from the craftsperson was sufficient
evidence that he had acquiesced to the forbearance of his rights under the
The advice also went on to comment on the effect of the modifications on
the moral rights of Mr Giurgola and possible joint ownership of the work.
On 6 October 2009, DPS again contacted Mr David Upfill-Brown by email to
update him of the changes to the project since the last correspondence.
In reply, Mr Upfill-Brown advised DPS, in a letter dated 19 October 2009,
that he now concurred with Mr Giurgola's concerns pertaining to the
Speaker's chair expressed in his letter of 7 October 2009, and
advised that his earlier email was 'irresponsible (the importance of these
changes being ill considered at a distance)'. He asserted that, if the proposed
modifications were to proceed, 'the means to achieve them should be through
consultation between your team and the original designer – Mr Giurgola'.
Although not interested, he also maintained that as the original craftsperson
and in accordance with his contract with the PHCA, he should be offered this
work in the first instance. However, he did not seek to enforce any provision
of the PHCA contract.
The committee understands that the advice from Mr Upfill-Brown that he deferred
his involvement to Mr Giurgola was not subsequently conveyed to Mr Giurgola.
Further legal advice from the Australian Government Solicitor as to
whether undertaking the upgrade work could contravene the PHCA contract in
light of the second letter was received by DPS on 21 October 2009. This advice
indicated that it would not.
DPS responded to Mr Upfill-Brown on 28 October 2009 and stated 'please be
advised that DPS has consulted with Mr Giurgola on the proposed alterations and
made some modifications to the project scope based on this consultation'.
On 4 June 2009 DPS also sought the concurrence of the furniture maker of
the Clerk's table, Mr Bernie Koker, in relation to the proposed
modifications to the table.
In response, Mr Koker queried one aspect of the
modifications and provided some advice in relation to others. His subsequent
email indicated he was satisfied with the reply he had received from the project
manager in response to the matters raised.
Involvement of DPS heritage
DPS completed Customer Request Strategic/Initial Assessments for the two
House of Representatives business cases which formed the basis of the Enhancements
in the House of Representatives Chamber project. These assessments are intended
to identify the key risks and constraints regarding requested projects. Among a
range of factors considered in the assessments is heritage management and the
impact that the request will have on the design integrity of the infrastructure
The copy of the Customer Request Initial Assessment for the technology
enhancements project provided by DPS indicates that it was completed on
12 March 2008 and considered heritage management concerns. It
indicated that the request would impact on heritage management and that DPS
Heritage Management had been consulted. It further noted that:
The House of Representatives Chamber is one of the focal
points of the entire design of Parliament House. It has been identified by the
Australian Heritage Council as having both National and Commonwealth Heritage
Values. Acting to their brief, the original architects considered every detail
within the design of the Chamber, (including the Senate Chamber) "collectively
establishing strongly related spatial and structural elements at the building's
centre and at the heart of the two most important 'rooms' of the
The Speaker's Chair is the centre piece of the Chamber,
integral within the design and is a significant artwork in its own right. Any
proposal to alter the Chair or the Clerk's Table must be conducted with
sympathy to the design language and must not impact on the visual aesthesis of
the Chamber or its heritage significance.
The committee notes that the above assessment only addresses a 'proposal
to alter the Chair' and does not consider the replacement of the chair. This
assessment recommended that this initiative progress to a business case for
Of concern to the committee was evidence that suggested this document
had been subsequently altered with the above information removed.
A meeting on 16 July 2008, facilitated by the Director of DPS Building
and Security Projects, provided an opportunity for key stakeholders to provide
input to the design brief. The committee understands that attendees at this
meeting included DPS Heritage Management and Design Integrity. At this point,
the requirements for the Speaker's chair was summarised as:
Modify the existing Speaker's Chair to provide more
facilities at the Chair, more room, and improved comfort.
Following this meeting, the Assistant Director, OH&S and Injury
Management, DPS, provided details of his assessment and a number of solutions
to address the OH&S issues identified through modification of the existing
At a meeting of stakeholders held on 17 October 2008, the option of a
replacement proprietary chair to address the OH&S issues of the Speaker's
chair was considered. There was general consensus at this meeting that the
project should proceed in this direction. In a minute to the Project Assessment
Committee dated 23 October 2008 it was noted that the meeting had decided
'to replace the chair with a suitable proprietary product that could fit neatly
within the existing surrounding detailed joinery.
On 27 October 2008, the Project Assessment Committee endorsed revised
design stage costs which included the acquisition of a chair, with a condition
of heritage management and procurement considerations. A revised business case
was sent to the Project Assessment Committee for out-of-session approval. The
committee received evidence from a submitter who alleged that a new business
case was prepared on 11 November 2008, but was dated 27 August 2008,
detailing the replacement of the existing Speaker's chair. The submitter
further alleged that the new business case was not sent to stakeholders
including heritage management and design integrity officers.
The business case for the project was completed on 5 December 2008.
Documentation available to the committee indicates that the Project Management
Team comprised a Project Board, project manager, Project Assurance and Project
Support. The committee understands that the Project Assurance group included
the Heritage Management Officer as a member.
Documents prepared by DPS list the formal engagement of DPS Heritage Management
in the project. Heritage Management was included in the tender evaluation
meetings of the design consultant (6, 9 and 12 February 2009); six of the seven
meetings on the project from 13 March 2009 until 14 May 2009; the 50
per cent and 80 per cent design review meetings; and the moral rights consultations
meeting with Mr Giurgola.
The Design Stage Completion Report noted that there had been ongoing formal and
informal communications with Heritage Management.
It appears from the documents examined by the committee that Heritage
Management had ongoing concerns with the project and the response received to matters
raised by Heritage Management. Despite membership of the Project Assurance
group and supposed involvement in the tender evaluation,
the committee is aware that members of Heritage Management asserted as late as
24 March 2009 that some officers were unaware that the scope of the project
included the removal the Speaker's chair and replacement with a proprietary
On 9 April 2009, the Heritage Management Officer emailed the project
manager, indicating concerns with the Project Functional Design Brief items
concerning the removal of the Speaker's chair and the modification of the
Clerk's table. The Heritage Management Officer outlined his concerns with the
direction as follows:
- does not adequately address the fact that Speaker's Chair and the
Clerks' Table form part of the Parliament House Art Collection and are of very
high heritage value;
- does not meet DPS's obligations to 'care for Parliament House';
- does not allow the engaged architect to investigate options to
retain the existing Chair, while improving ergonomics, which by its nature
excludes and pre-empts possible ergonomic solutions to the Chair and IT
solutions for the Clerks' Table;
- will most likely be unacceptable to the original architects or
artist and manufacturer (either modifications to the Chair or the Clerks'
- will likely have political consequences.
Heritage Management also questioned the minutes of a design meeting as not
reflecting the discussion in regard to heritage management concerns and that
Heritage Management was not invited to important meetings. This was outlined in
an email on 14 April 2009 to the then Director, Strategic Planning and Policy:
Robyn outlined important heritage considerations raised at
this meeting that were not captured and sent to [Project Manager] as requested
The minutes have since been amended and redistributed without
including these comments.
This action is both inaccurate and dismissive. It appears the
project manager does not wish to minute what was actually discussed in the
meeting or to alert the stakeholders to these important points.
[Project Manager] has claimed that the meeting was to discuss
the Speakers table (as opposed to the Chair) but has included comment on the
Chair made by...It appears only senior officers comments are captured.
If Heritage Management is invited to a meeting as a
stakeholder it is appropriate that heritage concerns and risks are raised to
bring to the attention of the group. Given there has been critical design
decision with this project made at meetings we have not been invited to, and
without informing us later, I am wondering at what forum BSP feel it is
appropriate for us to raise these concerns.
The committee was also informed that the Project Assurance group did not
have an opportunity to review the Design Options Study proposals before the
presentation to the Project Board.
The design option presentation meeting was held on 11 May 2009. The committee
notes that the option to retain and modify the Speaker's Chair was put forward
as an option at this meeting. The Heritage Management Officer raised concerns
with the project manager prior to the meeting that the Quality Assurance team
for the project had not had an opportunity to review or comment on the design
proposals for this meeting.
The committee understands that the design integrity section within DPS
did not receive photographic records of the original Speaker's chair prior to
its dismantling which is a requirement of best practice heritage management.
Ms Kylie Scroope, DPS, stated that the Chamber Table is listed in the
Art Collection. She also added that the timber elements that sit around the
Speaker's chair are listed as part of the Art Collection while the 'actual seat
component' of the chair is not.
A copy of the original contract was in the DPS files examined by the
committee. In this contract, it is stated that:
- the Craftsperson (Mr Upfill-Brown) shall develop the design for
and fabricate the Speaker's Chair;
- the Craftsperson shall assist in the detailed design, fabricate
and assist in installation of items as follows:
This was confirmed in an email on 14 April 2009 from the Director of Art
Mr Giurgola, in his letter of 21 April 2009, noted that the Speaker's chair was
designed as an 'inseparable element of the Chamber's Central Furniture and the
visual balance of the Chamber as a whole'. He also noted that the chair was a
formal commission within the Parliament House Art/Craft Program.
Valuations for these items were provided in 1998 and 2005 with the
Speaker's chair being valued at $12,000 in 1998 and $60,000 in 2005.
In 2012, the asset value listed on the DPS asset register for the combined
Speaker's chair and desk (including timber surrounds) is $133,925.20.
The Chamber Table was valued at $10,000 in 1998 and $200,000 in 2005.
In relation to a heritage assessment of the Speaker's Chair before the
project proceeded, DPS stated that:
DPS has found no record of a formal heritage assessment
having been undertaken. However, appropriate planning—including consultation
with DPS heritage staff and consultation and moral rights notification
processes with the original architect of Parliament House and the original
craftsman of the Speaker's Chair—were undertaken in accordance with agreed
Staff accommodation project
As noted in the committee's interim report, DPS commenced plans to
convert the Staff Recreation Room area to office accommodation in late 2009.
The aim was to accommodate staff displaced by the construction of a briefing
room near the Cabinet Room and to relocate staff accommodated in the basement.
In all, provision was made to accommodate 65 staff in the area. The 18 staff
displaced by the construction of the briefing room were accommodated in the
Attorney-General's Department building with the Attorney-General's Department
requesting the return of those staff to Parliament House by May 2011.
The then secretary of DPS commented:
Having realised that we had to create some extra space, I was
very keen to rectify one significant problem in the building: we have quite a
lot of people doing what I call conventional office work from basement offices.
I do believe it would be far better for their productivity and morale if they
at least had some daylight. Having identified a space beyond the staff dining
room which could accommodate more than just the 18 who need to come back from
the Attorney-General's Department, we are aiming to establish a space which can
accommodate the 18 plus further people out of the basement so that they can
work in what you would call normal office space.
DPS provided the committee with a range of documents related to this
The following discussion is based on these documents.
Lack of moral rights consultation
The project was initiated in October 2009. At the Project Board meeting
of 9 December 2009, the need for moral rights consultations under the Copyright
Act 1968 and National Capital and parliamentary approval was discussed. The
excerpt from the minutes states that these approvals were not required.
No moral rights consultations were initiated by DPS at this time.
At the committee's hearing of 2 May 2012, Mr Kenny noted that the building
architects had not been contacted and stated:
In 2010, when the planning for the staff dining room
accommodation work was being done—and I think it is fair to say that the
original architects had very strong views about that and were upset that they
were not consulted—we had advice from our design integrity people at the time
that consultation was not required because of the nature of the change. So we
proceeded on the basis of that advice.
Mr Kenny's evidence points to the decision that no moral rights consultations
were required being based on discussions with project team members and
stakeholders. In a November 2009 email from the project manager it is stated
that the Heritage Officer had considered that the project did not meet the requirements
for moral rights or parliamentary approval as:
- the works were not a major change to existing developed areas of
the building, no moral rights consultations were required. The works were
predominantly within a services corridor and underdeveloped space and therefore
would not cause any major visual changes; and
in relation to parliamentary approval required by the
Parliamentary Precincts Act, as the works are internal alterations, they did
not require such approval.
In late 2010, DPS attempted to find advice from Heritage Officer
regarding moral rights. No such explicit advice appears to have been found
although DPS pointed to the document of 8 December 2009 written by the Heritage
Officer and that the Heritage Officer was included in all emails regarding the
Functional Design Brief and later design discussions.
In response to the DPS evidence, the then Heritage Officer denied that
he had given advice that no moral rights consultations were required and
I would counter that by saying that moral rights are required
if it is seen to be a substantial project or a significant project in the
building. Without doubt, a project that would be effectively altering the
footprint of the design of the building would be seen as significant. We are
changing an area that is within the public and ceremonial wing to private staff
accommodation. Ultimately, not only is that quite a blight on the original
design of the building but also it will be quite a difficult piece of work to
manage. I think that it will always suffer from access into that area. That
area of the building is not designed for accommodation and it will always
suffer from various issues if implemented as so.
The then Heritage Officer noted that he had raised concerns during the
project evaluation process. This included that:
The conversion of the Staff Recreation Areas to office
accommodation will have consequences for the heritage aspects of Parliament
- This initiative will bring offices
(work areas) into areas specifically designed to function as staff recreation
and respite areas.
- This initiative will mean the loss
of a staff amenity to building occupants and visitors.
- Reduce ability for expansion of
the Staff Dining Room and future proofing this area for staff growth in future
- Access to the new office areas
will either be directly off the Staff Dining Area, designed to be an open
space, non work related amenity for all building occupants, or through the
courtyard, which has a similar function. No proposals should interfere with the
curved wall in any way.
- Similarly, access through the gym
would be invasive to a private staff amenity.
The feasibility study needs to carefully consider the
heritage aspects of Parliament House.
In addition, the then Heritage Officer commented that the Business Case,
dated 6 February 2009, stated that 'heritage management issues and moral rights
impacted by access and egress to and from the office area'.
The former Heritage Officer also stated to the committee that the
Heritage Office was deliberately cut from initial project planning stages but he
had attended a project meeting in November 2009, 'in which documentation had
already been developed' but had voiced his strong concerns for the suitability
of the location of the proposed offices. He went on to state that:
In this meeting...the Project Manager, to my shock told me that
the DPS Secretary, Mr Alan Thompson, had instructed him to proceed with the
project despite the concerns from the Heritage Office and that all detailing
was to be a 'high commercial standard' (as opposed to Parliament House
architectural standards). To my knowledge, this is the only time a project has
been authorised to depart form APH standards.
In relation to the 8 December 2009 document, the former Heritage Officer
commented that any advice provided was an attempt to ensure, should the project
proceed, that the negative impacts on the building were minimised.
Notification of moral rights and
consultations with the building architect
In January 2010, the design team were engaged and in April 2010 the
construction manager was engaged. On 9 September 2010, the National Capital
Authority advised DPS that it should consider moral rights with respect to the
external alterations 'even though they were modest'. The external alternations
made were to remove the ventilation screen in the curved wall and installing
windows matching the design of nearby windows.
DPS gave notice to Mr Giurgola on 14 September 2010 of its intention to
undertake changes to the former staff recreation area. The letter stated in
The Project Board has given careful consideration to the
design intent and heritage values of Parliament House, referencing the Central
Reference Document. All work focuses on minimal impact to the building fabric.
The letter noted DPS's obligations in relation to moral rights and that
the Act allows a maximum period of three weeks, from the date of notification,
for consultation to occur. The letter went on to state 'if we do not hear you
in the next 3 weeks, we will assume your compliance'.
Mr Giurgola met with the project team on 20 September where he raised a
number of concerns. In addition, Mr Giurgola provided a written reply, dated
20 September 2010, in which he stated that 'my assessment of this project
in relation to the Brief and principles underlying the design of Parliament
House is totally negative'. He went on to outline his reasons for this view:
- the proposed change of use of the space was 'in absolute
contradiction with the design of the Parliament House', which is based on a
significant architectural distinction between the spaces assigned for public
gatherings and uses, versus the offices for MPs and staff;
- the proposed design resulted in an excessively crowded space,
with minimal daylight penetration;
- movement of people and materials to and from new accommodation
will result in disruption to the Staff Dining Room; and
- a primary requirement for the people working in the building
should be the maintenance of the original standard level of accommodation
approved and adopted by the Parliament in the building's design which was based
on simplicity, precision, order and well-being for the occupants spending long
hours working in the building.
Mr Giurgola concluded:
I have no choice but to advise you that this change of use of
this space from Staff Recreation to Staff Offices, if it were to proceed into
construction, would violate the integrity of the building's design and my moral
rights as an architect.
It debases the basic building design and legibility in a way
that could easily impugn my reputation as an architect and that of my
colleagues, since it would be construed that it was indeed our original design
which produced not only such appalling accommodation for the daily lives of
workers, but also created such an architectural confusion of public and
non-public uses within the major zones within the curved walls. The precedent
which it sets for a continuing ongoing erosion of the careful distinction between
these uses in the zones of the building is highly dangerous—your Department
would not in future be able to resist requests for continuing projects to make
changes of this kind.
I understand from talking with my former partner Hal Guida of
GMB Architects that when your Department first approached his firm to undertake
this project, GMB declined to be involved, saying to you at that time that it
was an unacceptable change of purpose within the building. I am amazed that
with such a clear objection at the earliest stages of the project by my
colleagues you did not seek my response at that stage, rather than proceeding
without further consideration.
I trust that this damaging project will not proceed and that
a different solution will be found for the above accommodation.
At the committee's November 2011 hearing, this project was canvassed by
the building architects. Ms Pamille Berg commented on the concerns raised by
Mr Giurgola with DPS and the Presiding Officers and the issue of moral
...you will know about the letters Aldo has written both to DPS
and recently to the Presiding Officers of the parliament about the fitting out
of the endocroft space behind the staff cafeteria, where the billiard room was,
with offices, where he opposed that very strongly and felt so strongly that he
wrote to the Presiding Officers. In that letter he said, 'I would be very
embarrassed for any professional colleague to see the whole idea of what has
been done here—for them to think that I could have been responsible for this
degree of planning and execution and the placement of people in this zone of
the building where the curved walls of the building are meant to hold the
ceremonial, large-scale, monumental public places and the executive and there
was to be no leakage of offices into that space, let alone the quality of the
accommodation.' He is saying, 'I would be deeply, deeply embarrassed.' This is
also about moral rights.
Mr Giurgola's letter of 20 September stated that the proposed project
would result in an 'unacceptable change of purpose within the building'. DPS
halted progress on the project and sought to establish the basis for this
It was found that the Heritage Manager had provided the following comments in a
document dated 8 December 2009 relating to design integrity considerations
for the Accommodation Project:
One of the key design principles of the building is its
strict order of geometry, both to the land and in its external and internal
structure...The Staff Cafeteria is also located in this area and is adjacent to
the new works. This area was not intended to accommodate administrative or
operational functions which are designated to the two outer House of
Representatives and Senate Wings. It is therefore essential rigorous
consideration be given to the introduction of office accommodation to this area
to minimise impact on the design intent of the building, its functionality and
significant heritage values.
In the advice from the Heritage Manager, the items to be considered were
outlined including no changes or attachments to the curved wall, and
consistency with Parliament House design detailing standards.
DPS met again with Mr Giurgola on 12 October 2012 and responded to him
in writing on 21 October 2010. DPS apologised for not consulting Mr Giurgola
earlier about the project but stated that original advice received was that no
moral rights consultation was required on this project. It was noted that DPS
would review its project initiation procedures regarding consultation with the
building architects on moral rights issues. Further, it was proposed to
undertake regular consultations
with Mr Giurgola to discuss proposed capital works. DPS stated that 'this will
ensure early notification where significant consultation may be required'. The
letter commented that DPS 'has no choice but to proceed with the project'
- the government required a secure briefing room next to the
cabinet office and staff previously accommodated in this area had been
DPS staff accommodated in the basement needed to be relocated.
While noting the need to proceed urgently, DPS invited Mr Giurgola to
provide DPS with suggestions to amend the plan, and to access possibilities for
the development of more office accommodation at Parliament House. DPS also informed
Mr Giurgola that planning was underway in relation to disability access in the
building and invited Mr Giurgola to work with DPS to assist in that planning.
In addition, DPS responded to the specific design concerns raised in relation
to the staff accommodation project.
Mr Giurgola provided a further letter to DPS on 26 October 2010. While
noting that it appeared that DPS had 'no choice but to proceed', Mr Giurgola
declined to contribute to the project as:
...in my view such remedial intervention is contradictory to
the very concept of the design of the Parliament. As I expressed to you, it
will also be a sure and disruptive precedent for other needs of expansion.
Your letter includes an attachment that has an interpretation
of the Moral Right that would allow situations like these to arise with the
only alternative left for anyone of being sorry later. One should hope that
this will not be the fate of the Parliament House.
Mr Giurgola wrote to the Speaker of the House of Representatives on
11 November 2010. The Presiding Officers replied on 9 February 2011
advising that the project needed to continue.
The project resumed with the demolition phase commencing on 8 November
2010. DPS staff moved into the new accommodation from April 2011. The estimated
cost of the project was $5.11 million, comprising $3.81 million DPS capital
funding plus $1.30 million of funding from the Attorney-General's Department.
Staff Dining Room and kitchen refurbishment project
Refurbishment of the staff dining room was undertaken in 2008–09. The
President advised the committee at the February 2009 Additional Estimates that:
After 20 years of service, the staff dining room was due for
refurbishment. Stage 1 was completed on time and the staff dining room reopened
on 2 February. It is expected that stage 2, involving the florist and work
on the dining area, will be completed in March 2009.
Mr Thompson, Secretary, DPS, also commented on need to refurbish the
staff dining room because of ageing facilities and requirements under the catering
contract entered into with W Catering in 2008:
It had been well recognised quite some years ago that the
staff dining room was overdue for a refurb. The floor was leaking, the gear was
old and so on. The flow of people did not work. We then move into early 2008,
when we were looking to find a new contractor to run that operation. We
ultimately awarded that contract to W Catering, and we certainly committed as
part of it to undertake the refurbishment. In fact, the intent to refurbish
predated the involvement of W Catering.
The contractual agreement with W Catering was outlined in the DPS
Customer Request which stated that DPS was committed to:
- refurbishing the staff dining and recreation area; including area
for the potential expansion of Parliament House Child Care facilities; and
- reconfiguration/refurbishment of the servery to meet best
practice service delivery and energy efficiency standards.
This project was undertaken in stages with Stage 1 completed in February
2009 following work on the servery, florist and dining room lights. In Stage 2
work on the dining room was completed and refurbishment of the disabled toilet
The 'front of house' refurbishment of the dining room was completed in
early 2009 at cost of $3.1 million. The design component comprised $131,000 in
contractor costs and approximately $10,000 in DPS staff costs.
This was described as going from the 'serving counters forward out into the
The caterer (W Catering) was consulted as part of the designs. The project was
oversighted by LFA Architects and a catering expert was also part of the design
In addition, a change to technology for the front of house was
undertaken at a cost of $169,747. This was a point of sale system aimed at
decreasing queuing and congestion.
End Project Report
As part of project completion documentation, DPS produces an End Project
Report. The End Project Report covers many issues including a 'Lessons Learnt
Report'. The End Project Report for the Staff Dining Room project, dated
September 2009, contains a frank assessment of serious problems encountered
during the project. One significant problem was the timeframe for the
completion of the project and the report pointed to lack of consultation by DPS
executive with those who had to manage the project. The End Project Report
The urgency of this project was created by commitments to
achieve outcomes by a given date by DPS Executive with little prior
consultation with the area responsible to manage the project. Greater
consultation was needed between DPS branches and stakeholders of whom large
time commitments were required, before an executive commitment was given.
Other issues identified included:
- problems with documentation 'that were potentially very
dangerous' including unlisted power circuits and previous construction that did
not comply with requirements;
- the effect of staff shortages and staff funding issues in DPS
maintenance specialist areas meant that problems, such as the project as built
did not meet Parliament House specifications, were not identified until the
project was near completion;
- the construction team was removed from the site after the
handover date and as a consequence the new team had no interest or
understanding of the project or systems required at Parliament House and the
- the Parliament House project team was inexperienced because of
staff turnover in the DPS Building and Security Projects team; and
- DPS was unable to enforce time restrictions due to the contract
having no liquidated damages as DPS had received legal advice that liquidated
damages were not possible or advisable under the contract.
The report also pointed to a lack of suitably qualified staff to manage
the building's fire or mechanical services as DPS no longer has fire or
mechanical engineer positions. As a consequence, the report noted that there is
a void in staff specialist knowledge to review documentation/strategy against
broader building strategy and specifications which are extremely complex in
Of particular concern to the committee are the comments in relation to
the fire standards. The report states:
Of great concern is that the building does not comply with
modern fire standards. The responsibility to approve fire isolations fall to
the contract manager of fire services. The contract manager is not qualified to
advise on technical questions from contractors. External consultants have
neither the fees, interest nor intimate knowledge of the House to provide
reliable or sufficiently broad advice.
The report also commented that, had suitably qualified staff been
available, 'many of the issues on site could have been avoided and costs for
the project greatly reduced'.
The Lessons Learnt Report provided recommendations in relation to fast
tracked projects, tighter contracts and staffing consistency, building
information, operations and maintenance manuals as well as:
- Compliance and ongoing availability: there are several
areas of the building structure that do not comply with modern building codes,
for example, fire egress, smoked detectors and EWIS speakers, working in
confined spaces but 'original systems are enforced (even where less
efficient/lesser quality) to ensure a simpler maintenance regime'. It was
recommended that, where possible, any new building work should ensure the
design meets current and likely future code requirements but noting that 'of
prime importance is the need to retain the language of the building in such
elements as style, colour, texture and finish';
Design integrity is a critical function within DPS and should
play a greater, more hands on role in the project management teams particularly
in the early design phase. The current staffing seems insufficient to maintain
the very close involvement needed throughout a project to ensure there is
detailed scrutiny of documentation and design specifications before the
construction phase. Considerable money could be saved by identifying
inconsistent design or important finishes details before it is built;
- Organisational limitations: DPS arrangements are not
geared to fast tracking of projects. In order to overcome this it was
recommended that the project teams be expanded to include dedicated maintenance
specialists, in-house engineering expertise, and the Heritage Management
Officer to manage the moral rights process and maintain ongoing monitoring of
design and quality finish.
Following completion of the project, customers of the refurbished Staff
Dining Room pointed to significant problems with long queues and confusion. The
Acting Secretary, Mr Russel Grove, acknowledged the problems and responded:
No, I think it would not be fair to say it is a debacle. I
would say that there have been issues in the staff dining room area with the
redesign. The department has taken those issues on board and is working with
the contractor to attempt to solve the issues.
Loss of heritage assets
Evidence was received that, as a result of the refurbishment of the
Staff Dining Room and the new staff accommodation, heritage assets including
custom light fittings and a screen from the Staff Dining Room that many people
believe was designed by Mr Giurgola were lost.
As part of the refurbishment of the Staff Dining Room, a screen was
removed and now appears to have been disposed of. The screen was installed as
part of a refurbishment undertaken in the 1990s. It consisted of a timber and
stainless steel frame and four decorative fabric screen prints. The prints
represented the four seasons and were intended that they were rotated at
appropriate times. Some staff believe that the screen was designed by Mr
Giurgola and the fabric screen prints undertaken by Ms Keiko Schmeisser.
At the May 2012 Budget Estimates DPS was questioned about the
whereabouts of the screen following the completion of the latest round of staff
dining room refurbishments.
DPS took the matter on notice and provided the following information:
There was only one screen in the Staff Dining Room at the
time of the refurbishment. That screen was not part of the Parliament House Art
Collection and not an item of 'commissioned art furniture'.
DPS can find no records that indicate Keiko Schmeisser was
involved in the design of the screen, nor any records that indicate Mr Giurgola
may have been the designer of the screen.
During the 2009 Staff Dining Room Refurbishment project, the
screen was disassembled for storage. Subsequently, as the screen was not part
of the Parliament House art furniture collection, it was disposed of (around
$80 was received for the metal components).
The committee received evidence about the disposal of custom fittings
during the staff dining room refurbishment project, including that light
fittings were salvaged from a garbage skip. Mr Giurgola commented that he was
'very distressed' when this had occurred.
Mr Hal Guida noted that many people had an interest in Parliament House and he
had received emails and photos of the light fittings.
As a consequence of the review undertaken in 2011 by Mr Robert Tonkin
into DPS asset disposal policies and practices, DPS has undertaken a project to
improve the identification of assets that did not already from part of the
Parliament House Art Collection but are considered to have cultural heritage
value. Building spares have been identified as items to be included in the
database of heritage assets. These include light fittings specifically designed
and manufactured for Parliament House; monumental door hardware (spares);
Chamber fabric; terracotta roof tiles for the Chamber roofs, and hand woven
fabrics both in situ and on rolls. DPS stated:
As items and objects including original building spares
continue to be identified or become rare, they will be added into the SAP
database as heritage assets. Once classed as a Parliament House heritage asset,
these items will then attract the protection and management appropriate for
heritage items including (if appropriate) disposal in accordance with
guidelines for disposal of heritage items.
Although the DPS Annual Report for 2008–09 stated that as part of the
Staff Dining Room project a 'complete kitchen upgrade' was undertaken, DPS has
now informed the committee that this was incorrect.
DPS has however, recently undertaken the 'all Catering Kitchen Refurbishment
Project'. Ms Graham, at the Budget Estimates 2012, provided details of this
The kitchens at Parliament House are nearly 25 years old.
Commercial kitchens are generally updated every 10 to 15 years. One of the
particular problems we have is that flooring and tiles become harder and harder
to clean over time and after about 10 years they really need replacement
altogether. The kitchens are dated. They are using outdated equipment. They do
not comply with food preparation standards. The work that is being done is to
bring these kitchens and facilities up to a standard that is acceptable so that
we can have a greater level of confidence in providing safe food to visitors
and people who work here at Parliament House.
It was noted that there had been minor upgrades of the kitchens
undertaken previously but the project aimed at more extensive refurbishment.
They have had some minor upgrades, but not to the extent that
we are doing at the moment. This is about the kitchen wall, floors and ceiling
finishes, which we are upgrading to meet the current food premises guidelines.
We are basically replacing old tiles et cetera on the floors and the grout
surfaces that have become quite corroded and grubby and replacing them with
clean surfaces. We are going right through the kitchens within Parliament
DPS noted that the surfaces in the kitchens do not meet the appropriate
food preparation standards. In addition, the catering contractor has had to put
in place additional labour-based steps to maintain reasonable levels of food
In addition, the project provides for the use of cook-chill technology which is
based on a main production kitchen and satellite kitchens for
reheating/finishing. DPS also indicated that the use of other new technologies
would result in efficiencies and savings.
The total cost of the kitchens project was $14.2 million over a four
year period. The Staff Dining Room kitchen upgrade was completed on 3 February
2012 at a cost of $3,390,000.
Car park lighting project
In 2010, DPS embarked on a project to replace the lights in all the
building car parks with the aim to achieve energy savings of 10 per cent,
achieve an increase in average life over the existing installation, and achieve
a reduction in maintenance costs. The project required covered 1976 luminaires.
In addition, it was noted that there were serious work, health and safety
issues arising from the poor condition of the cabling of the existing
DPS employed a consultant to assist in the selection process. The
consultant's draft report was provided in May 2010 and provided comment on
alternative luminaire options. The options examined included purpose designed
lighting, retrofit of the current lighting and six alternatives. The consultant
considered that a purpose designed luminaire was the most suitable option as it
provided the best performance, least maintenance cost, and longest expected
serviceable life compared with the other alternatives. The report stated that
the preferred option 'has been designed as a long life, low maintenance
luminaire specifically for use within Parliament House car parks'. The
consultant identified two other alternatives if DPS was going to consider less
robust, more basic luminaires. The consultant stated, in relation to the
Though they have more basic construction and would require
more maintenance than [the preferred option], they would require replacement at
the end of 20 years of serviceable life. They are also not square in profile
[and] would require further investigation and confirmation from DPS
architectural integrity to confirm suitability for use in the car park.
DPS did not support the consultant's preferred option. The total budget for
the project was $1.75 million which represented a saving of $935,000 below the
amount provided for in the Capital Works Program 2010 to 2015. The consultant's
report provided the following comparisons between the preferred option and that
installed by DPS:
4.2: Options for car park lighting project
Estimated capital cost
Reduced maintenance cost?
Life cycle cost (20 yr
general lighting only)
Residual value of asset
Life cycle cost less residual
Life cycle cost
Estimates serviceable life
Source: Luminaire Selection
Process and Alternatives Report
The four case studies undertaken by the committee highlight major
deficiencies in DPS's engagement with moral rights holders, project management
and maintenance of design integrity.
Engagement with moral rights
The House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement and the Staff
Accommodation projects display engagement with the moral rights holders that
was at the very least poor and at worst dismissive. In relation to the House of
Representatives Chamber Enhancement project, even though the project was taking
place in an area of significant heritage and design integrity values, DPS did
not approach Mr Giurgola in the initial stages of the project. Rather, Mr
Giurgola only became aware of the project during the design tender process
following contact with GMB Architects.
Once Mr Giurgola became aware of the proposals, he provided DPS with
detailed matters of concern. The committee examined DPS's responses to Mr
Giurgola and is very disturbed at their content and tone: DPS's correspondence
was brief, dismissive and contained incorrect information. While the committee
acknowledges that some modifications were made following Mr Giurgola's
representations, DPS appears to have been very quick to progress the project
and the committee is left to question whether the matters raised by Mr Giurgola
were given adequate consideration by DPS.
In the case of the House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement project,
the committee has grave concerns about the adequacy of engagement with Mr Giurgola
including timing and responsiveness to suggestions for modifications to the scope
of the project.
In relation to DPS's engagement with Mr Upfill-Brown, the committee does
not consider that DPS's first email constituted a proper moral rights
notification. Indeed, DPS sought advice from the Australian Government
Solicitor in relation to the adequacy of the email exchange as a waiver of
moral rights. Of course, this begs the question as to why DPS did not conduct
formal moral rights notification and consultations with Mr Upfill-Brown in the
first instance. Further, the committee does not consider that the moral rights
consultation was undertaken in accordance with agreed processes as stated by
DPS following the 2012–13 Budget Estimates.
Even more disturbing is the accusation that DPS did not inform Mr
Giurgola that Mr Upfill-Brown had deferred his moral rights to Mr Giurgola. If
this is the case, and the relevant DPS decision-maker knowingly withheld this
information from Mr Giurgola, the committee considers that this could not
be viewed as acting with integrity in the course of Parliamentary Service
The Staff Accommodation project was a significant undertaking and the
committee finds it disturbing that no moral rights consultations were initiated
by DPS at the commencement of this project. The committee has viewed the draft
Project Functional Design Brief which points to the need for moral rights
consultations. This was removed from the final document. DPS has stated that
this was done with the agreement of the then Heritage Management Officer.
However, the Heritage Management Officer has denied providing the advice that
the project did not require moral rights consultation or parliamentary approval.
The committee also notes that Mr Giurgola's letter states that Mr Hal
Guida of GMB Architects had already declined to take on the project because of
the implications for the design of the building. DPS attempted to verify this
statement but it appears that no notes of discussions were found, and the
project manager at the time could not recall the exchange with Mr Guida nearly
a year later.
The committee views the absence of appropriate moral rights consultation
from the commencement of this project as further evidence of a culture of lack
of respect for statutory requirements, the holders of moral rights and for the
building itself. As the changes envisaged were considerable, the committee
believes it would have been reasonable for DPS to consult Mr Giurgola even if
there was a view that there was no obligation to do so under moral rights
requirements. In addition, given the context of this project, only one year
after the House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement project had encountered
significant design integrity and moral rights issues, the committee is of the
view that DPS should have been alert to these matters. This appears not to have
been the case and the Staff Accommodation project is yet another example of the
disregard that DPS exhibited for the preservation of the design integrity of
the architecture of the building.
DPS commented in evidence that it regularly engages with Mr Giurgola,
for example, the then acting Secretary, Mr Russell Grove, commented at the
committee's hearing in May 2012 that:
[Mr Giurgola] has never been excluded from conversations. His
views have always been taken into account. Issues have been talked through. On
every project that has any potential for enormous change to the fabric or
context of the building, he is consulted. It is true that sometimes he takes
very strong exception, and those matters are talked through...While as a purist
he may prefer something not to happen, I think there have been cases where he
has had his view and objection registered but accepts, for practical reasons, a
particular change may need to take place.
While the committee notes Mr Giurgola's comments on his positive
experience with the design of the Parliament House child care centre,
this appears to have been the exception rather than the norm. The committee therefore
does not agree with the view of the moral rights consultations generally
undertaken by DPS in the past have been adequate. Following the problems with
the Staff Accommodation project, DPS instigated quarterly meetings with Mr
Giurgola to discuss the DPS capital works program but these only provide
information and are not a moral rights consultation process.
At the committee's hearing of 30 October 2012, Ms Mills, Secretary, DPS,
indicated to the committee that she had examined the way in which moral rights
consultations had been undertaken and stated 'the way in which we consulted in
the past has not been best practice and perhaps, in some cases, not even good
practice'. She explained this view by commenting that in some instances too
much information was provided 'with too short a turnaround time in which
decisions could be made and often too much from a single issue point of view
rather than a comprehensive process of discussion'. Further, rather than
consultation, information has been provided without the opportunity for genuine
Ms Mills also indicated that she did not think that quarterly meetings with Mr
Giurgola, where he is provided with a great deal of material on individual
projects, was the best way to engage with him. Ms Mills commented that she is seeking
a way to improve engagement will Mr Giurgola:
...to have a more strategic way of dealing with the information
he needs and to provide that to him in a format which gives him a manageable
workload and the feeling that he is genuinely being a part of the process. If
you look at the material he has commented on, I think there is no question that
he has added value every time he has provided feedback to us. It is something I
think we are very fortunate to have and want to make best use of—but not in an
exploitative way nor in a way that does not allow him to have some dictate over
time and place et cetera.
The committee welcomes the evidence provided by Ms Mills as an
indication that DPS is putting place a mechanism to ensure appropriate consultation
with Mr Giurgola will take place in the future and engaging with him in a
respectful, professional and timely manner.
DPS provided the committee with a large volume of documents related to
the House of Representatives Chamber Enhancement project. It is evident from
the committee's examination of the documents, including emails and amendments
to meeting minutes, that DPS Heritage Management staff were far from
comfortable with the direction and scope of the project. One major area of
concern was the proposal to replace the original chair with a proprietary chair
rather than seeking to have the OHS issues addressed. The committee considers
that greater emphasis must be place on design integrity issues during the
design phase of projects.
The committee is also concerned about the apparent lack of inclusion of
the Speaker's chair in the Art Collection. As stated above, Mr Giurgola noted
that the Speaker's chair was designed as an 'inseparable element of the
Chamber's Central Furniture and the visual balance of the Chamber as a whole'
and was a formal commission within the Parliament House Art/Craft Program.
In relation to the loss of the screen from the Staff Dining Room during
renovation of this area, the committee finds DPS's explanation less than
adequate. The committee has not received any evidence that DPS approached Mr
Giurgola. The disposal of the screen again highlights major deficiencies in the
management of Parliament House assets. DPS stated that the screen was sold 'as
the screen was not part of the Parliament House Art Furniture Collection'. As
the committee noted in its interim report, the possible heritage value of an
item based on whether or not it is listed in the Art Collection database is far
too narrow. The committee acknowledges that DPS is addressing this matter, but
again the committee is left to speculate about what other items of heritage
value have been lost because of DPS's failure to establish a comprehensive
definition of heritage items and to update its listings of items since the
building opened in 1988. These examples demonstrate the need for more on-going
scrutiny and accountability of DPS operations.
A further design integrity matter was exposed in relation to the car
park lighting project. In this project, DPS chose not to go with the option
suggested by the consultant. The documents provided to the committee do not
provide the reasons for the decision not to follow the option preferred by the
consultant. However, it appears that cost was a large factor with the
indication that just under $1 million was saved by installing one of the
alternative options. The committee notes that the consultant had indicated that
there were design integrity considerations with the options other than the
preferred option. In addition, maintenance costs were higher, the life cycle
shorter and the residual value lower for the option installed by DPS.
In answer to questions on notice, DPS commented 'some heritage aspects
are met by ensuring DPS specifications and standards are used'. DPS, however,
went on to note that 'many of these specifications and standards can result in
very high costs'. DPS also noted that as a Financial Management and
Accountability Act 1997 (FMA Act) agency, it was required to ensure it
manages public resources efficiently, effectively and ethically and that:
To ensure the efficient and effective use of public money DPS
evaluates alternative solutions and considers the application of the
specifications and standards in relation to the significance of the space,
fitness for purpose and cost implications.
As has already been stated, it is unclear why DPS did not choose a
lighting option which met design integrity requirements. However, the committee
does not consider that choosing an option for design integrity benefits would
be precluded by the FMA Act. As DPS itself pointed out, the FMA Act requires
the use of public monies 'effectively and ethically'. In the committee's view,
ensuring the maintenance of the heritage of Parliament House through choice of
replacement items that meet design integrity requirements is both effective and
The Staff Dining Room was completed on time and within budget however it
appears to the committee that to say that based on this outcome the project was
a success is simplistic. The Lessons Learnt Report provides a litany of matters
which are of great concern to the committee. These matters range from an
apparently arrogant approach by the DPS executive deciding on the project's
timeframes without consultation with staff who had to manage the project to
fire safety issues.
Of particular concern was the reported loss of in-house technical
expertise and the inexperience in the DPS project team because of staff
turnover. The lack of expertise was not only identified in technical areas but
also in relation to design integrity. With this project, design integrity
issues were not identified prior to construction commencing and the End of
Project report indicates that DPS costs increased because of this. More
importantly, the potential to undermine the design integrity of the building
through use of inappropriate style, colour, texture and finish because of lack
of expertise is unacceptable.
Ms Mills addressed the loss of technical expertise in her evidence to
the committee on 30 October 2012. Ms Mills stated:
My understanding is—and again this is perhaps not written
advice but anecdotal advice from asking people who have been around longer—that
an increase in outsourcing various skills and also budgetary issues combined to
influence decisions about the structure of the organisation, including the
building area. It is certainly an issue that staff have raised with me quite
recently and now, as I gain an increasingly detailed understanding of the
complexity of running this building, it seems to me that some of those
positions do need to be reviewed, moving forward, to have on hand either
independent but readily available experts in some of these critical areas or on
staff. There are certainly gaps in our knowledge base in critical areas at the
moment that I would like to see filled.
Ms Mills also stated that a restructure of the asset area was being
undertaken so that there would be a single director with responsibility for all
aspects of the building. Ms Mills commented that this will 'reinvigorate in
that area a strength and a strategic capacity' to deal with critical issues in
the future. While Ms Mills commented that previously there had been a belief
that some of the roles could be performed on a contract or one-off basis rather
than by the employment of in-house expert staff, she did not have a view about
the right way to deliver these services, 'but either way it has to be robust'.
Specifically in relation to the abolition of the position of the fire
certifier position and fire safety in the building, Ms Mills informed the
committee that a review had been undertaken earlier in 2012. A number of
upgrades of active fire systems were recommended and this is being considered
as part of the capital works program for the forthcoming year. Ms Mills
concluded that 'in an area as significant as this we need a systemic solution
and not a series of individual reports'.
The committee considers that DPS should institute a comprehensive review of
fire safety within the building.
The committee is pleased with the response from the new Secretary of DPS
to these significant issues, particularly in relation to fire safety. The
building is large, with many occupants and visitors. The Parliament must be
assured of the safety of all occupants and the committee will continue to
monitor fire safety measures in coming estimates hearings.
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