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Melbourne Park - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne

Iconic home of the Australian Open gets a multi-million dollar makeover

Named after the revered Australian tennis great, Melbourne's Rod Laver Arena enjoys international fame as the main venue for the Australian Open - the first Grand Slam event of each calendar year.

Officially opened in January 1988 at a cost of AU$94 million, the facility has also played host to events including international basketball fixtures and performances by artists such as Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga and Green Day.

In June 2015, it was announced that the arena would undergo a complete multi-million dollar refurbishment under the management of Lend Lease Building Contractors Pty Ltd. The initiative is part of a $700+ million Melbourne Park Redevelopment project designed to significantly enhance every aspect of the audience experience and rejuvenate the external design.


Keeping it in the ball park

With the facility set to remain operational throughout the refurbishment, Melbourne Park organisers say the renovations and extensions will be opened progressively over the next four-years of construction, with completion expected in 2020. Not surprisingly, it’s a program that presents a series of unique challenges.

“The obvious challenge that contractors faced on this job was time and having to adhere to the Tennis Centre’s tight schedule,” explains Viega Planning Consultant, Richard Andrew. “There was quite a bit of pipework involved. As well as toilets, showers and kiosks, piping infrastructure also had to be provided for new coaching, massage and medical areas. In order to get the job done, contractors were actually working two shifts per day.”


The need for speed

With the ability to meet stringent project deadlines crucial, Viega’s world-renowned Propress technology was the obvious choice when it came to selecting a pipework solution.

“With such a tight schedule, our products were perfect for the job,” says Richard. “Propress enables a very quick install, saving 75% of labor time. And there’s no need to rely on somebody’s ability or skill to weld. It’s really just a case of putting it together, pressing it, and getting a certain joint each time. The other advantage is that installation can be done by one person – not two. They can also work on a ladder or a scissor lift and put our systems together safely.”

Project Manager Jamie Morison from Wilson Plumbing and Draining also says the Propress system (which can be installed without a hot works permit) enabled contractors to carry out installation quickly and effectively.

"The need for welding in tight areas, which can easily trigger smoke alarms, is negated when using Viega,” he explains. “Viega is an awesome product and we use it on the majority of our projects.”


Easy to check

The ability to easily locate leak points and un-pressed fittings during the testing phase (via Viega's patented Smart Connect-Feature) is another key feature that qualified Propress as a perfect fit for the project. When the fitting is pressed, the Smart Connect-Feature is closed, forming a permanent leak-proof joint. If the connection does have a leak, a “dry” leakage test will reveal a visible pressure decrease over the entire pressure range from 2.2 kPa to 300 kPa. If the leakage test is carried out with water, this visibly escapes from the un-pressed fittings in the pressure range of 100 kPa to 650 kPa.


The right advice

In addition to providing the actual Propress system, Viega also offered detailed product training for installing contractors as well as ongoing technical advice to project management.

“We visited site on three occasions and went through installation procedures and made sure the guys were installing it properly,” says Richard. “We also oversaw progress of the work and made recommendations as we went.”

Object Melbourne Park - Rod Laver Arena
Place Australia
Year 2017
Object type Renovation
Area of use Sport and leisure
Planning Lend Lease Building Contractors Pty Ltd
Installation Wilson Plumbing and Draining
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