In 2020 the new tower and retail precinct at 80 Collins Street was completed, effectively delivering one of the largest brand new commercial office precincts in Melbourne’s CBD. At 216 metres tall, 80 Collins Street boasts panoramic views across Melbourne.

The original tower known as Naru House was completed in 1977 and briefly became the tallest building in Melbourne. A major redevelopment including an adjoining tower commenced in 2017. The two towers now form a precinct consisting of a new podium with shops, an arcade, an ‘infill’ streetscape of shops on Collins Street, and a 255 room hotel facing Little Collins Street.

Plan

Plan

The precinct comprises a new 38-level office tower (South Tower) providing circa 43,000 square metres of premium office space and a 255-room boutique hotel as well as major refurbishments to the existing 51 level A-grade office building (North Tower).
Construction within the limited confines of two of Melbourne CBD’s busiest throughfares necessitated constant evaluation and contingencies to maintain emergency compliance and capabilities throughout.
Development of an Emergency Plan commenced well before construction finished and the new tower occupied. Planning also accommodated the previously unnecessary requirements of a mixed site. Consequently, taking into account the retail, hotel and two commercial towers required a rethink of the existing evacuation assembly areas.

80_Collins_St
Plan

Prepare

Construction of the new South Tower was completed mid 2020. The world-wide pandemic and local quarantine restrictions impacted the manner in which new tenants could take up occupancy and receive training regarding their new workplace. Online training has been presented to cater for incoming tenants and existing tenants in the North Tower.
These training sessions provided the opportunity to commence education regarding the relocation of the evacuation assembly area. When the precinct is fully occupied the number of potential evacuees is more than double. Consequently, the existing locations serving as assembly areas were inadequate.
When CAPACITY commenced our initial engagement with 80 Collins St. we undertook the challenge of raising awareness in the existing tenants of the diversity of modern threats. Consequently, we began a journey into the realm of ‘emergency management’, rather than the existing concept of ‘evacuation training’. After some initial resistance this is a mindset that has won through, resulting in an enthusiastic and capable emergency control organisation within both Towers and adjoining spaces.

North and South Towers, 80 Collins Street
Plan

Perform

The first emergency exercise CAPACITY undertook came at a difficult time during construction. The building’s surrounds and footpaths were hoarded off and cranes and construction vehicles were congesting the surrounding roads.
Liaison with the Emergency Planning Committee revealed that many years had passed since the building had conducted anything other than evacuation as the emergency response. We suggested that a shelter in place exercise be conducted requiring a range of activities within the facility to test base building’s staff and their knowledge of systems as well as the capability of wardens to manage any other response besides evacuating.
The exercise highlighted some shortcomings which served to promote the modern holistic approach of emergency management and reinforced to occupants the value of a well-trained contingent of emergency personnel in their workspace.
As pandemic restrictions ease the first whole-of precinct exercise looms. Yet the hard work has been done during the training sessions, resulting in a cohesive approach, enacting consistent emergency procedures.
All that remains is physically testing it.

South Tower 80 Collins St

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