The ACT government has approved $390,000 of spending to double-glaze some of the Legislative Assembly building's windows, with staff complaining that noise from the construction work next door is disruptive.
The site of the $300 million new office building, which will house 1700 ACT public servants, is just metres from the Lesiglative Assembly building on London Circuit. The building is not expected to be completed until October 2020, and noise from the work has already been disruptive to those working in the Lesiglative Assembly building.
The funding was approved in February, when Chief Minister Andrew Barr told the Assembly approving the spending was a "technical formality".
"This bill is a technical formality in that it needs to be split from the main appropriation bill because it seeks to appropriate an additional relatively small quantum of funds to the Legislative Assembly to undertake some further building works," he said.
"It is a very straightforward initiative and I am sure all members are cognisant of the work that is occurring next door to us and the need for improved environmental efficiency in this building and would recognise the value in double glazing, particularly to the south frontage of the building at this time. This appropriation seeks to achieve that end."
The double glazing was originally proposed last year in aniticpation of the work beginning next door, and also to provide better efficiency in the building for heating and cooling.
A spokesperson for speaker Joy Burch said the funding would pay for double glazing on the external windows facing the new development and offices facing into the courtyard. The $390,000 already approved will not necessarily pay for double glazing for the whole building, but two stages of the project, which includes the south side of the building barely 10 metres away from the construction work.
When debating how to house eight extra politicians in the Assembly building in 2015,
not to go ahead with double glazing the windows on the building, partly because of the high cost associated with the renovation on a building with such a large expanse of windows.
The five-storey office block, and an adjacent 12-storey hotel and commercial office space, are being built by the Capital Property Group, and will be leased to the ACT government for 20 years. The building work has already resulted in the loss of around 225 public car parks, although when completed there will be 250 public carparks available to the public.