Palace Cinemas artists render at Pentridge
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Constructing a new era at Pentridge

Resident’s Information Session on Pentridge Stage 1 Works

Recently Shayher Group and CE (Construction Engineering) Australia met with Ace Body Corporate Consulting to present Pentridge residents and those in the immediate surrounding community with an overview of the Building 9 / A Division works, set to commence shortly at this most iconic of Melbourne buildings.

The purpose of the evening was to let those living around the Pentridge site that the works were soon to begin, what the nature of the works were and what to expect, and where they could seek further information in the future.

After a brief introduction, Shayher Group began the proceedings with an overview of the project’s scope, describing the central location of the new building relative to existing structures, its form and its intended usage. As the central retail building for the precinct, it will be home to Palace Cinemas, a supermarket, and a variety of specialty shops over two levels.

It will also house three levels of car parking, semi-submerged due to the slope of the site. The nearby A Division will be transformed into a creative hub, housing studio and office spaces and a black-box multi-purpose theatre.

Construction Engineering (CE) then outlined how construction will proceed in Stage 1, what it is set to achieve, the projected timeline that construction will follow, and what residents can expect in terms of on-site activity, noise implications and vehicle access.


This initial Stage, establishing the basis for Pentridge’s transformation, includes the excavation of the basement for the Building 9 car park, the establishment of the surrounding concrete walls (piling and shotcrete) and the installation of the lowest basement floor slab.

Piling works are scheduled to begin at the southern end of the site, where excavation will be at its deepest. As the site slopes, all three levels of the carpark will be below ground at the south end, with only one level below ground at the northern end.

CE explained that, as the majority of the ground to be drilled through and excavated is dense basalt, some heavy duty piling rigs, trucks (for removing excavated soil and rock) and machinery for breaking up larger pieces of rock in the ground will be required.


Residents were informed that these works would be scheduled to run from February to November, a timeline that includes the set up of on site sheds, fencing, and equipment.

This stage also includes drilling the piles (concrete pillars), excavating the ground, constructing the concrete walls to line the excavation, and pouring the lowest basement slab.

CE did advise that there may be some overlap should Stage 2 approvals be granted prior to the completion of the first stage. If this occurs, construction would be ongoing.


During Stage 1 construction, the main access will be via Gate 2 on Champ St. Residents were advised that, at times, vehicles may be required to use other gates, but that Gate 2 would be the primary access point. To minimise dirt being tracked onto the road, preventative measure such as rumble strips and street sweepers will be used.


CE also advised residents what they could expect as work proceeds on the Building 9 / Division A projects. They highlighted that as the site will be a construction zone, there will be an increase in activity.

In line with common practice therefore a Construction Management Plan will be followed, with particular attention paid to the following:


As there will be large machinery for piling, excavating and breaking up bluestone on site, there will be an increased level of noise. Noise levels will be monitored with equipment on site, and if it does rise above what is considered to be a safe level then contractors will be notified in order for them to re-assess their approach to the work, with an eye to achieving noise minimisation.


The larger equipment and breaking of rock in the ground may also be felt through vibrations. CE advised residents that such vibrations will be monitored in a similar manner to noise levels, and the contractors similarly briefed to re-assess their methods should excess vibration be recorded.


During excavation, CE advised that they do expect some dust to be present, particularly during the removal of the top layer of soil before rock excavation commences. Methods for controlling this dust include regular wetting down of the soil to minimise levels of dust disturbance, as well as shade cloth barriers erected around the immediate site in order to catch air-borne dust.


CE also communicated to residents that measures will be taken to control sediment and run-off so that it is not released into the surrounding site.

Palace Cinemas artists render at Pentridge


Ace Body Corporate Consulting advise that residents be aware of the construction taking place and plan accordingly, suggesting that OC committees when arranging general building services such as window cleaning, consider the construction works and time them accordingly, e.g. after the completion of major excavation works where the most dust is likely to be generated.

Further, if you are an owner of property or resident in Industry Lane or Horizon, Ace advises to check that you have responded to the offer of having a dilapidation survey done before the commencement of construction.

It is also recommended that residents be aware of any changing conditions, and to cover or relocate items if they are concerned they may be affected by dust generated by construction.



Questions were then taken from the community. The questions and responses are reproduced here.


How long will it take to build the whole building (not just Stage 1)?

The full building program is expected to take approximately two years, subject to conditions on the ground and whether stages can overlap, notwithstanding unforseen circumstances.


Do residents get a copy of the dilapidation reports?

The usual protocol would not be to provide copies to the residents, as reports are commissioned by the contractor for their own records.

If an owner particularly wanted to request a copy of the report for their property, it may be possible that this could be done for a fee; however, further enquiries would need to be made as this lies outside the current service provided.

Enquiries would need to be directed to Shayher Group, and not the company carrying out the surveys. The turn-around for putting the reports together after a site visit is expected to be about 3-4 weeks.


If workers start on the site prior to the arranged times (7am or 9am), who can be contacted?

In such cases the best point of contact is the email address provided on the Pentridge Coburg website, Concerns can then be relayed to the contractors. CE’s standard process is to inform contractors on site of the allowed start times as part of the site induction, so they should be aware of this already.


How tall will Building 9 be?

Building 9 will be two storeys above ground at the south end – approximately 12 metres – and four storeys above ground at the north end (approximately 18 metres), owing to the slope of the land.


What type of rig is being used on site for the digging of the basement through rock?

Once the loose soil above the rock layers is removed using excavators, the contractor will “rip” as much of the rock as possible using a excavator mounted ripper claw.

For the solid rock which is unable to be ripped, an excavator mounted rock breaker needle will break up the rock into manageable pieces. This rock will then be removed by other 40t/50t excavators and loaded into tandem trucks, transported to a quarry and recycled into crush rock blended products.

We’ll be taking a closer look at this process in a forthcoming Pentridge Coburg blog.


How much rock and soil will be taken out of the ground?

Around 40,000 cubic metres is estimated to be removed during the excavation stage.


How long will it be before the heavy drilling in rock commences?

Rock drilling is expected to commence in approximately three months, with the rock excavation itself taking a few months, dependent on the ground conditions experienced as works progress. Prior to this, there will be piling or concrete columns being dug into the ground, which will also require the presence of large machinery on site.


What are the workday knock-off times?

Through the week from Monday to Friday the working day may extend to 6pm, with Saturdays wrapping up by 3pm.

For more information, readers and residents are invited to examine the CE Working Day Calendar. It should prove useful if residents are planning an event, so they can be conscious of any construction since the Calendar notes those days where the site will be free of works.


Will this project affect the tree that is to be removed on Champ St?

Residents are advised that it appears construction vehicles will be able to access the site through Gate 2 around the tree, which is to be removed in order to complete the driveway in accordance with the decision passed by VCAT in 2016. Shayher Group is presently working with Moreland City Council on an updated streetscape plan for Champ St.


Are there remains of historically significant buildings in the site that is to be excavated?

The site of Building 9 was once the location of C Division, which was demolished in the 1970s. Footings of C Division were the subject of an archaeological dig, the findings of which were recorded prior to their removal in 2015. If anything believed to be of high historical significance is found during excavation, the project archaeologist and Heritage Victoria would be informed and would attend the site to assess and/or record as necessary.


The Air Apartments project has planning and heritage permits, is it due to start construction soon?

Air Apartments has not yet started construction; however, it is anticipated that construction will commence within the timeframe allowed by the permits.


What is the program for the Piazza area? Will it be open to the public with Building 9?

By the time Building 9 is completed, Shayher is intending to have several of the other buildings in the Piazza tenanted and operational – including the world famous Zero 95 pizza bar and other select operators – with a view to be able to open this area to the public.


The restoration work carried out thus far at Pentridge has helped lay the groundwork for something truly special. Now, given the recent announcements regarding the Building 18 competition’s winning design from Ola Studios and the progress happening towards the realisation of the Pentridge masterplan, it is clear that Pentridge is on the cusp of a major transformation with exciting times ahead.

Shayher Group is committed to keeping residents and the Coburg community informed at each step to ensure they have the full picture regarding the major works that are underway at Pentridge and the efforts to secure its future. As such, this information has been posted both on the resident’s communication portal MyCommunity, and here on the Pentridge blog.

Stay tuned for updates and construction milestones added to each of these two sources reflecting on the project’s progress, as the rebirth of Pentridge continues taking shape.

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