Civilcon successfully tendered and was selected to construct the new Jewel Cave Visitor Centre in Augusta. The company was responsible for the entire project which involved construction of the new circular visitor centre, new cave entrance and demolition of the existing facilities. The visitor centre incorporates an interpretive centre and café and dining facilities with ablutions. The building has been backfilled to give the illusion of being part of the landscape.
The circular building is unique in its design. A combination of materials was used including rammed limestone walls, tilt panel and brickwork. The cave access way was constructed with tilt panel walls and an in-situ concrete roof which is partially underground. A green roof is over the main visitor centre which required application of a strict waterproofing system. Recycled jarrah floor boards were used through the main floor area.
The unique design of the building and this particular site presented many challenges that were overcome throughout construction. Some challenges included:
- Working near an underground cave meant care had to be taken with construction techniques and careful attention paid to environmental issues affecting the fragile cave environment.
- Limestone was encountered during excavations for the new cave entrance. A liquid explosive was used to break the rock apart because a rock breaker could not be used in the vicinity of the cave due to vibrations.
- The work was co-ordinated with the client and programmed to minimise the time the cave was closed.