The state government says a $7 million upgrade to the Launceston Police Station is on track, despite being encumbered by the discovery of asbestos, COVID price rises and other unforeseen costs.
The refurbishment was announced as part of a government construction plan to bounce back from COVID and was set to include improvements to facilities, upgrade security, undertake structural repairs and complete internal redevelopment of the 44-year-old building.
Tasmania Police Assistant Commissioner Jonathan Higgins said the $7 million would "result in a significant upgrade to policing accommodation and amenity at the station".
Northern District Acting Inspector Mel Death, who is overseeing the project for Tasmania Police, said despite the setbacks, she expected users of the station would see benefits.
"It's a really exciting time for police in Launceston with such a substantial project that will modernise the station," she said.
Like many infrastructure projects across Tasmania, Acting Inspector Death said COVID had seen the cost of building and construction increase for the refurbishment which had created challenges.
Other unforeseen costs had been the removal of asbestos and the necessity to move IT and communications infrastructure above a toilet that was due to be refurbished.
Acting Inspector Death said in the initial stages of construction some adjustments had to be made to the originally planned scope of work to meet the project budget.
Assistant Commissioner Higgins said work still to be completed included new lifts and mechanical services upgrades, a generator, toilet facilities and a charging suite.
"The scope of the planned works complements work undertaken in recent years whilst providing an important opportunity to improve the day to day facilities for personnel stationed there," he said.
Physical work already undertaken as part of the refurbishment included re-sealing the station's roof and minor works on the "building fabric".
Advertisement for the replacement of the primary lift, and the awarding of various contracts had also been completed.
Acting Inspector Death said it was expected plans on the final scope of works would be finalised shortly.
According to the state government's tenders information, a"roof membrane replacement" contract at the station was awarded under a special COVID-19 procurement measure to provide contracting processes for works impacted by, or taken in connection with, the virus.
The membrane replacement cost $176,258, while $81,561 had been spent on asbestos removal since the refurbishment was announced.
Assistant Commissioner Higgins said a local architecture firm had been appointed for the project, and building master planning was almost completed. The architecture consultancy, by HBV Architects, contract cost $532,964.
The latest state budget indicated the refurbishment could be delayed, with funding for the project blowing out beyond the initially expected completion time.
In the budget, 40 per cent of the project's funding had not been allocated until a year after the deadline, with $3 million still to be doled out in the 2023/24 forward estimate.
Assistant Commissioner Higgins said it was still expected the project would be completed by the end of 2022.
Acting Inspector Death said she hoped the refurbishment would increase staff morale, like a prior $2 million refurbishment in 2002 had.
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