The Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games™ (GC2018) will be the biggest multi-sport event in Australia this decade. More than 6,600 athletes and team officials from 70 nations and territories, as well as up to 15,000 volunteers and 1.5 million spectators will gather for this sporting spectacular.
To make the Games a gold medal success, the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games Corporation (GOLDOC) needed a facility which would grow as its workforce grew – from 50 in 2014 to more than 1,000 employees when the Opening Ceremony begins on 4 April 2018.
“GC2018 provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to leave positive economic, environmental, social and community legacies for the Gold Coast, Queensland and Australia,” says GOLDOC Chairman Peter Beattie.
“We are proud of our headquarters (GOLDOC HQ or GHQ), which we hope will inspire other organisations and the community to make smart, sustainable choices.”
“With a determination to show leadership, and by embracing a reduce, reuse and recycle philosophy, the project team has kept a tight rein on budgets and achieved a 4 Star Green Star rating representing best practice in sustainable interiors,” says the Green Building Council of Australia’s Chief Executive Officer, Romilly Madew.
Sporty and sustainable
GOLDOC was determined to create an office environment that inspires visitors and supports employee health and wellbeing, safety, comfort and productivity.
A partially-vacated TAFE institution was chosen for its potential to make great use of existing infrastructure. The location also provided the feeling of an Australian bush setting, helping bring the outdoors inside.
In the spirit of a ‘fit and active’ ethos, GOLDOC promotes walking meetings outside along the many pathways around the campus.
And with a host of great outdoor spaces on offer, employees are encouraged to sit outside in the sunshine with their laptops to do work, conduct meetings or have lunch. Wi-Fi services have been extended to a number of outdoor spaces, and GOLDOC laptops automatically connect to the corporate Wi-Fi.
“Our workforce has embraced new work practices designed to create a collaborative, sustainable, productive environment that is respectful of our work mates, our community and the land on which we work,” says GOLDOC CEO Mark Peters.
“We also promote video and teleconferencing to reduce our travel expenses and emissions which also received a point towards our Green Star rating.”
Breaking down barriers
“Sport can break down barriers and build greater levels of understanding and common ground in the community – as a result inclusivity, diversity and accessibility are key sustainability priorities for GOLDOC,” says Sustainability and Legacy Manager, Chelli Easson.
GOLDOC is working hard to eliminate barriers, physical or otherwise, that may prevent people from enjoying a safe and independent Games experience, and was awarded a Green Star Innovation point for its work in Accessibility.
GC2018 Accessibility Consultant, Nick Morris, a specialist in universal design, human movement, event operations and building compliance, helped develop GOLDOC’s accessibility policy, plan and guidelines. Modifications made to the office design after Nick’s feedback included:
- Removing the curb in the visitor’s carpark to create level access to the front entrance
- Upgrading accessible parking spaces
- Renovating an accessible bathroom space on the first floor
- Installing accessible sinks in all of the kitchens
- Providing hearing loop systems in major meeting rooms.
A further innovation point was awarded for the GC2018 Reconciliation Action Plan (RAP).
As the first of its kind delivered by a major event in Australia and in Commonwealth Games history, the GC2018 RAP will be an integral part of GHQ.
The RAP outlines practical actions GC2018 will take to build strong relationships and enhanced respect between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and other Australians. Objectives are set across areas such as employment, procurement, cuisine, language and cultural awareness which relate to GHQ and the broader Games environment.
The GC2018 RAP is expected to be released in late 2016.
The Ajarku Muruu artwork in the GHQ reception area was painted by Chern’ee Sutton, a Queensland contemporary indigenous artist who was 18 years old at the time of painting. Elements of the painting represent the journey towards reconciliation with Reconciliation Australia, NAIDOC, Recognise, GOLDOC and the GC2018 Delivery Partners, embracing all Australians as equals through the Reconciliation Action Plan.
GOLDOC’s boardroom was re-named the ‘Yugambeh Room’ after the local Yugambeh language group and other meeting rooms have either Indigenous names, sporting-related themes or are named after previous Commonwealth Games host cities.
In December 2015 all GOLDOC workforce participated in cultural awareness training on applied cultural intelligence at GHQ with local indigenous training company Banaam with further training planned.
Recycled floor boards – sourced from a basketball court being demolished in Brisbane – are a feature throughout the fit out. The stunning wall panelling behind the reception desk, the communal bench tables and kitchen splash backs are all constructed from this timber.
Another element incorporated into the design is a running track at the entryway into the Ron Clarke Building. This provides a clever twist on the existing bridge to the lobby, drawing visitors on the journey towards GC2018 and signalling GOLDOC’s focus on the sporting event and active living.
Other materials that have been chosen because they are good for the environment and people too include:
- Paint, adhesives, sealants and carpets that are low in Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) to limit harmful toxic chemicals being inhaled by building occupants
- Brightly-coloured marmoleum in the breakout areas that is eye-catching, reinforces GOLDOC’s brand and is bio-degradable
- A carefully-considered mix of re-used furniture, workstations and carpet tiles from the previous occupant, which minimises waste to landfill and give the office’s design a unique edge
- Joinery is constructed from composite wood with low-formaldehyde emissions
- Anti-glare blinds control daylight, making the office more comfortable and productive, while also regulating temperature.
- Furniture selected meets a Green Star approved environmental rating scheme and in most cases is by local designers or suppliers.
Sustainable procurement is also a key sustainability priority for GOLDOC. The establishment of GOLDOC’s Sustainable Sourcing Code and Sustainable Goods and Services Guide included specifications for the types of cleaning products and stationery used at GHQ. A Sustainable Procurement Guide was also developed for the GHQ fitout and local experts were used extensively for the construction and materials.
Passionate local interior designer Melissa Reid who worked on the project comments: “This workplace is unique to the Gold Coast. It is a fantastic showcase for the Gold Coast in terms of efficient workplace design, careful budget planning and a focus on wellness and innovation.”
GOLDOC has installed more than 360 indoor plants throughout its tenancy for both visual aesthetics and indoor environment quality which earned a point toward the 4 Star Green Star rating.
The plants chosen – including Peace Lily, Bamboo Palm, Kentia Palm and Agave – are hardy and need minimal care. The Peace Lily (or Spathiphyllum) has been nominated by NASA as one of the top ten most effective indoor air cleaning plants, as it is able to neutralise toxic chemicals such as formaldehyde, benzene and carbon monoxide.
These plants will be cared for by staff under GOLDOC’s ‘Adopt-a-plant’ program, until they are ready to adorn the rooms in the Commonwealth Games Village.
Determined to reduce its waste to landfill, GOLDOC introduced a number of smart strategies – from better signage and training to help people understand the importance of recycling and composting, to removing under-desk bins which reduced cleaning costs and encouraged people to think carefully before tossing waste in landfill.
GOLDOC’s office has an impressive 12 colour-coded streams available at GHQ:
- BLUE: Paper and cardboard waste.
- ORANGE: Shredding – for confidential documents
- YELLOW: Co-mingled recycling cans, tins, plastic bottles and glass bottles.
- LIGHT BLUE: broken glass and crockery, and the GOLDOC team plans to turn this into an art project.
- PINK: Soft plastics – including shopping bags, pasta and rice bags, lolly, chip and biscuit packets, fresh fruit and vegie bags, frozen food bags, magazine and newspaper wrapping, and cleaned plastic wrap. This is taken by volunteers to the supermarket to be recycled into outdoor furniture.
- GREEN: Organic waste – left over lunch, fruit and vegetable scraps are placed into re-sealable organic waste bins located in each kitchen, and are taken home by some staff for composting.
- WHITE: Printer cartridges.
- BLACK: Used batteries.
- LIGHT GREEN: Mobile phones.
- PURPLE: Clothing charity bin.
- BROWN: Coffee pods, which are recycled by a local florist.
- RED: Landfill – but only when staff have exhausted all other options.
GOLDOC also launched a branded re-usable coffee cup initiative for all staff which is also available in its merchandise store. GOLDOC asked its local café to offer a discount for using reusable cups.
This aligns with the ResponsibleCafés.org Program which connects thoughtful cafés with conscious consumers by encouraging them to offer a discount to customers with reusable takeaway cups.
Based on observations, GOLDOC estimates it saved 1,500 takeaway cups in just the first three weeks.
“We wanted our workforce to stop and think about how they were disposing of items in the office and encourage greater levels of recycling. The results have been very positive and people are recycling more and implementing more streams at home as well. This will also assist us with our streams at Games-time as staff will be familiar with the various options available,” says Catering, Cleaning and Waste Manager Jay Adderley.
Active travel advocates
Inspired by the Gold Coast’s sporting and outdoor culture, GOLDOC took on the GBCA’s ‘Design for Active Living’ Innovation Challenge, which aims to promote well-designed spaces and strategies that promote healthy and active living.
As part of the challenge, the team developed a Workplace Travel Plan (WTP) to help staff make informed choices about how they travel to work, and to incentivise those who choose active, public and shared transport modes as part of their commute.
GOLDOC developed its WTP in consultation with the City of Gold Coast Travel Demand Management Team. The City provided research and best practice guidance to GOLDOC, which in turn shared learnings from its travel planning experience.
GOLDOC has also collaborated with the City to pilot a Personalised Travel Planning program for Gold Coast workplaces.
“The program consisted of free one-on-one 15-minute travel planning sessions to help people better understand their travel options to GHQ, answer questions about the local area and raise any travel concerns they might have,” says Michael Whitehead from the Sustainability Team.
“We’ve worked really hard to provide good ‘end-of-trip’ facilities for staff, on a budget for a temporary workforce and we’re delighted to see so many people cycling to the office!”
Individualised travel plans were then developed with travel mode and route recommendations. GOLDOC also promotes carpooling and offers priority carparking spaces.
GOLDOC’s innovative WTP and travel planning programs were rewarded with a Green Star Innovation point.