The University of Queensland Forgan Smith Building

Radical transformation of an iconic heritage building

Buildcorp was engaged by The University of Queensland to carry out the demolition and refurbishment of the west wing of the UQ Forgan Smith Building on an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) basis. Buildcorp worked closely with the consultants’ team to address buildability issues, procurement strategies, structural integrity solutions and heritage considerations. Scope of works:

  • Full internal strip out of services, walls and ceilings (excluding heritage elements)
  • Demolition and removal of roof structure including roofing and steel portals
  • Demolition and removal of concrete slab sections on level 2 and 3 to create atrium void
  • Installation of atrium bridging steel
  • Installation of steel stairs enclosed with glass feature façade and balustrading forming a brace for sandstone walls
  • Installation of new roof steel and roofing enclosed with glazing façade and external copper screen
  • Internal fit-out for the School of Law and law library including learning, knowledge and inquiry spaces over 3 levels.

Challenges and outcomes
Challenges and goals were presented across budget, design intent and heritage needs. Propping, bracing and bridges were used to provide lateral stability to the structure after the demolition. The installation of mechanical ducting into curved ceiling voids with severely constrained space required careful consideration and needed to comply with heritage demands. A large investment in time was made in seeking out timbers to match existing silky oak and trialling various stains to provide exact matches in colour throughout the building.



The University of Queensland



Contract sum



60 weeks


December 2016