Using the biggest piling rig in Australia, some of the piles were up to 2.1 metres in diameter and were founded up to 47 metres deep into the bedrock of the site. This scale of piling gave the building a strong foundation from which its 100 storeys could begin to grow.
Once piling was complete, the building started to come out of the ground, with new floor slabs poured at monthly and even fortnightly intervals on higher levels. This progress allowed for progressive façade installation. Australia 108 features 15,000 unique glass panels weighing between 200-300 kilograms (that’s a massive 2,500 tonnes of glass spanning 47,000 square metres).
As the glass was installed, trades were able to begin working on apartment interiors, with a buffer of up to 20 levels between these workers and those pouring concrete as the building’s form rose.
“Undoubtedly one of the largest challenges on the project came with the construction of the building’s now iconic Starburst,” explained Mr Cottam.
“The cantilevering starburst is located 210 metres above ground, over levels 70 and 71, and comprises 24 trusses weighing 12 tonnes each.
“Safety was paramount during the installation, and we erected a bespoke platform under the Starburst which allowed workers to safely install the feature, while also ensuring the safety of people below.”
It took over fourth months to complete the Starburst feature, with the panels being lifted into place at night to avoid disrupting the traffic in busy Southbank.
The building was designed so that the upper levels could proceed as the Starburst was finished, and to ensure that any delays on the feature would not impact the delivery of the remainder of the structure.
With topping out complete and the building’s glass façade installed, Australia 108’s cranes have been dismantled as the focus turns to the remainder of the internal fit-out.
“Bringing down a crane at such a height is also quite a delicate operation,” explained Mr Cottam. “A special purpose recovery crane was installed to the top of the building roof to recover the final tower crane, which then breaks apart and is able to lift itself down from the roof to the ground. “
Residents started moving into Australia 108 in 2018 as part of a staged handover of lower level apartments. More than three-quarters of apartments have been completed, with construction now focused on finishing the premium Cloud Residences at the top of the building.
As well as apartment interiors, the final internal works include the building’s eye-catching Starburst amenity spaces, which features two infinity pools cantilevering 210 metres above the street. Here, within the Star Club, residents can also enjoy dining rooms, gyms and lounge areas, with residents living above the Starburst enjoying their own private VIP zones and exclusive pool.
It’s not long now before residents will be able to enjoy these breathtaking features for themselves, with completion on track for the end of the year.
“We’ve been working on Australia 108 for a number of years now, and it’s a real thrill for our team to see what has been delivered so far,” says Mr Cottam.
“It is wonderful to be able to look at Melbourne’s skyline and see the hard work of so many hundreds and hundreds of people who have worked so tirelessly in all manner of conditions to bring this icon to life.”