The AMC Sydney Chapter conducted its annual site visit on the morning of Thursday 15th August. This year we had the privilege of being hosted for a behind the scenes tour of the iconic Sydney Opera House (SOH). SOH is an asset with a design life of 250 years, which opened in 1973 and hence is approaching 50 years old.
In the time since opening, the SOH has been intensively used (it currently averages 1850 performances per year). The SOH is not in the midst of a “decade of renewal” to restore tired existing assets and introduce new assets that address contemporary expectations with respect to accessibility, safety, technology, and performance space functionality.
A group of 20 AMC members were hosted by SOH Asset Planning & Information Manager, Mr Brian Cock, who assisted by three other staff members. Brian and the SOH team were very generous with their time and provided a tour and extensive narrative highlighting major elements of the current asset “renewal program”, the benefits achieved and the challenges it has entailed in an operating asset. Areas we visited included the renewed Joan Sutherland Theatre; the Concert Hall (soon to commence its renewal), and the enormous underground “cavern” (known as the VAPS). The VAPS (Vehicle Accessibility & Pedestrian Safety) upgrade has taken 1000 heavy vehicle movements per week away from the “surface” entrances thereby vastly improving safety of the public and staff as well as improving the efficient movement of stage equipment and catering supplies into the SOH and its performance spaces.
Following the tour, the group was further hosted in the boardroom for morning tea. Brian provided a detailed presentation covering the history of the asset, and how the usage of its major performance facilities has evolved over time. The drivers for the asset renewal program were explained, who the (many) stakeholders are, and the strategic documents that frame and guide the current and future asset management decision making. The renewal program undertaken already and elements that are in planning or underway was also detailed.
The AMC Sydney Chapter committee is deeply grateful to the SOH for hosting our group for a fascinating site visit.
In the boardroom for morning tea
Presentation by Brian Cock