HVAC and electrical upgrade


In October 2018, Australian Unity approached Nutbrook Group to conduct a feasibility study on proposed upgrades to all base building mechanical and electrical services at its commercial premises in St Leonards, Sydney (NSW).

In a proactive measure to support their anchor tenant’s new 8,000m² fitout, Australian Unity wanted to address a number of deficiencies they’d identified in their existing services’ capacity and flexibility.

The feasibility study revealed the majority of mechanical services were reaching their end-of-life and, consequently, offered no flexibility to support more sophisticated systems. Similarly, the study highlighted a number of compliance issues that would be triggered by any work, including complex electrical defects involving neighbouring lots.


Facing into these significant challenges, Australian Unity appointed Nutbrook Group to prepare design and construction documentation for all mechanical and electrical services, as well as a detailed project management scope to implement the entire project.

The previous system had limited outside air, which meant tenants were unable to adjust their office layouts or accommodate more employees; both significant limitations for growing businesses.


The installation of new dual services risers provided central points for outside air and toilet exhaust provisions as well as refrigerant pipework and branch connection points, giving tenants the ability to move occupancy density across their floors, as desired.

The success of this upgrade program relied heavily on exceptional stakeholder management skills, which were tested a number of times throughout the project. With tenants remaining in the building throughout the work schedule, detailed program planning was not only crucial, but also responsible for avoiding a number of potentially damaging delays.

During the nine-month upgrade program Nutbrook Group provided a range of services to oversee the services upgrade, including:

  • Feasibility study;
  • Mechanical and electrical design;
  • Project administration and management;
  • Lodgement of development applications;
  • Implementation of fire engineered solutions;
  • Stakeholder management;
  • Defect inspections;
  • Witness testing; and
  • Client handover.

Project benefits:

  • Shared facilities of combined lots were separated, retrofitted and reconnected with no impact to business activity;
  • The landlord can individually measure tenant energy consumption and base building via a remote access building management system;
  • All electrical and mechanical services are now fully compliant with 2019 construction codes; and
  • Modular building services design, allowing for adaptable tenancy arrangements.