Perth's Convention Centre is sinking, but who will pick up the $10m-plus repair bill?
Those aren’t intentional speed bumps. Patrons face a bumpy ride in the convention centre carpark. (ABC News: Rebecca Trigger)
Perth’s flagship convention centre at the heart of the CBD is slowly sinking into the Swan River, with undulating “speed bumps” that have developed in a carpark at the base of the structure creating hazards for cars and people.
- The centre, which opened in 2004, is Perth’s largest exhibition space
- The cost of a permanent solution to stop the sinking could be more than $10m
- There is $4m allocated to fix the problem in the Perth council’s 2019–20 budget
The Perth Convention and Entertainment Centre (PCEC), which was built on land reclaimed from the river, opened in 2004 and attracts between 800,000–900,000 visitors each year.
The $310 million structure was built on state land by Multiplex Consortium — which included Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd and Accor Asia Pacific Pty Ltd.
It is privately owned and operated under a 35-year lease from the State Government, and the carpark is operated by local authority the City of Perth.
The city’s head of infrastructure and operations, Chris Kopec, said a permanent solution for the subsidence problem could take at least three years and cost “more than $10 million” dollars to fix.
“The bedrock is about 28 metres deep, it’s about on average probably 25, obviously there’s a significant amount of soil there, and how it reacts in different areas of the carpark is different,” Mr Kopec told ABC Radio Perth.
There have been 10 reported incidents of damage to vehicles and falls since January. (ABC News: Rebecca Trigger)
“There’s a permanent solution which involves piling to bedrock, much in the way the building is supported down on bedrock, then re-laying a carpark over those piles, to effectively mean it’s independent of the ground that its subsiding below.”
The sinkage affects around 30 per cent of the carpark and is in some places 40cm deep.
Mr Kopec said there had been 10 reports to the city of damage to vehicles or people tripping over the bumps since January.
Mr Kopec, who was not involved with the original build, said ongoing short-term work was being done to address the issue while a long-term solution was decided.
“It’s not something you see very often, but as I said it’s a complicated scenario beneath there,” he said.
“I don’t know what decisions were made back in the construction timeframe with regards to the method of construction.”
The City of Perth’s 2019–20 budget has $4 million allocated for “subsidence rectification” at the convention centre.
A spokesman for the City of Perth said as the carpark was a State Government-appointed contract, it was not for the city to disclose any historical contractual or legal recourse details.
“The final funding arrangements for the project are yet to be determined,” the spokesman said.
Builder Multiplex has been contacted for comment.