Council takes lead on airport expansion project after Hewatt placed under administration

READY FOR TAKE OFF: Orange City Council technical services director Chris Devitt and airport advisory committee chair and deputy mayor Chris Gryllis on Orange Airport's partially-completed new runway. Council has taken over management of the upgrade. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI. 0516dcairport1

READY FOR TAKE OFF: Orange City Council technical services director Chris Devitt and airport advisory committee chair and deputy mayor Chris Gryllis on Orange Airport's partially-completed new runway. Council has taken over management of the upgrade. Photo: DANIELLE CETINSKI. 0516dcairport1

ORANGE City Council has decided to manage the Orange airport upgrade’s $9 million civil engineering component after the former contractor was placed under administration.

Hewatt Earthworks’ administrator, PBB Advisory, could have onsold the project to another contractor or set up a new body to manage the works, but airport advisory committee chair and deputy mayor Chris Gryllis said the council decided to terminate the contract to ensure work was under way as soon as possible.

“I have seen council staff dealing with projects bigger than this in the past,” he said.

“Obviously we’re not happy with the current situation, however ... to the best of my knowledge, it will be on time and we will endeavour to be on budget.”

The council’s contract managers will now become project managers and Cr Gryllis hoped work could recommence in two to three weeks.

Technical services director Chris Devitt said the council entered discussions with the 12 sub-contractors on Friday to negotiate terms.

With the National Buildplan Group failing to complete work to standard at the Orange Aquatic Centre and Hewatt Earthworks under administration, Mr Devitt said the appropriate checks had been done prior to the contract being awarded.

“The type of contract we used for this project came out of the things we learned from the aquatic centre,” he said.

“The actual contract this project was put together under was designed to give council a lot of control - one of those was an absolute right to terminate the contract in the consequence of a default, as happened in this case.”

Cr Gryllis emphasised a separate contractor was responsible for the terminal building and it was progressing on time and on budget.

Both parts of the project are due for completion in the second half of this year.

Work stopped on the runway, new roads and general airport facilities on May 7 - the council estimated 30-40 per cent was complete.

danielle.cetinski@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop