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As of the last Hutchinson Builders – Contaminated Soils Removal Progress Report for the new South Grafton depot, 1,319 trucks have removed almost 45,000 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil. Hutchinson Builders have applied to remove a further 10,000 cubic metres (approximately 12,860 tonnes). Image: John Hagger

Costs for new depot continue to escalate

As of the last Hutchinson Builders – Contaminated Soils Removal Progress Report for the new South Grafton depot, 1,319 trucks have removed almost 45,000 tonnes of asbestos-contaminated soil. Hutchinson Builders have applied to remove a further 10,000 cubic metres (approximately 12,860 tonnes). Image: John Hagger

The overall cost of constructing Clarence Valley Council’s (CVC) new depot at Tyson Street, South Grafton is set to increase, following an application by the project’s construction company, Hutchinson Builders, to apply for an increase to the amount of asbestos-contaminated soil that will have to be removed from the site.
According to the latest report from Hutchinson Builders, “a total of 43,507 tonnes of contaminated materials had left site and passed over the Swanbank [near Ipswich, Qld] weigh bridge.
“A total of 1,319 trucks have left site through the decontamination process.
“…The application is for an increase from 35,000m3 to 45,000m3.”
Assuming that around 45,000 tonnes (or 35,000m3) of soil have been removed from the site at a cost of $70 per tonne, as advised by CVC’s works and civil director Troy Anderson, and the application for a further 12,860 tonnes (10,000 cubic metres) is fulfilled, this equates to a conservative total cost of $4.05million.
The $70 per tonne is for transport and disposal of the contaminated soil; however, Mr Anderson has previously advised that “loading and site works costs are additional” – these costs have not been released by CVC.
The last publicly available figure for the depot’s construction is $14,385,500 (GST exclusive), which includes “elements such as design fees, contingency and relocations that are not associated with construction and therefore are not applicable to” the awarded contact of $13,185,683.50; according to the July council meeting’s minutes.
So far, the known cost of constructing the depot is now $18,435,500 (The Independent’s estimate).
Before the site for the depot had been decided upon, CVC wrote in its Asset Management Strategy 2015 – 2025: “A new depot facility for Grafton and surrounds with sufficient capacity will be constructed at a preliminary cost of $3.5 million.”
In its Fit for the Future submission in June 2015 the council valued the depot’s construction at $5m.
In July 2015, a development application was lodged that put the estimated cost at $6m.
At the February 2016 meeting, councillors noted and received an “AECgroup report titled ‘Depot Options Review’ (January 2016)” that placed the “Total Funding Requirement” at $12,699,579, or alternatively, $13.385million, as per the quantity surveyor’s estimate.
This report also pointed out that once the depot is constructed (and CVC completes other rationalisations in conjunction with the project) that “an initial efficiency dividend of $1,035,762 will occur in the first year of operation followed by $822,307 in the second year and $1,088,974 every year after that”.

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