SHFT ASOPA – HVAC Installation Project

The Sydney Harbour Federation Trust (SHFT) is a commonwealth agency and the property owner for the ASOPA site located at Middle Head. The ASOPA complex consists of fifteen original weatherboard detached buildings with some recent additions and infill’s. The heritage listed buildings are extensively planted and linked by internal pathways and courtyards. The complex forms part of the wider SHFT Headland Park.

In 2010/2011 SHFT conducted a major renewal/refurbishment programme to convert the spaces to premium offices and retail. As part of this work SHFT installed a centralised HVAC system where heating and cooling was supplied from two heat pump/chillers to all tenancies via a network of water pipes installed below ground. Each tenancy had a vertical discharged FCU installed within a AC cupboard with a network of above ceiling duct to distribute the heated/cooled air.

Unfortunately this system proved to be consistently unreliable and insufficient to meet the heating and cooling needs of the various tenants. Regular plant failures caused tenant disruptions and rising maintenance costs was impacting on the operation of the site.

Ryan Wilks was successful in the tender to replace the existing centralized air conditioning system with 25 separate tenant metered split systems. The new Actron split systems had to utilise the existing ducting system and AHU cupboards to keep disruption to the tenants at a minimum. All work had to be carried out in an 8 week time frame, with limiting internal works during the hours of 9am – 5pm. 48 hrs notice was required for access to each tenancy.


The replacement of the existing air conditioning meant Ryan Wilks had to meticulously program and coordinate each install to minimise any impact to the tenants operations. All works were staged in a way that could keep both the new and existing AC running so all buildings would have air conditioning throughout the project. New refrigeration pipe work and electrical cabling had to be installed with minimal access under each tenancy and where new services were exposed had to be installed in ducting that matched the existing colour schemes. Existing outside air fans were interlocked to the new split systems to maintain fresh air flow. Duct work had to be site measured and manufactured to match the existing ducting with in the ceiling.

Once all the new AC units were commissioned the existing air cooled chillers were de commissioned and all redundant services removed. This included making good of all penetrations with in the buildings.

It was with great satisfaction that Ryan Wilks were able to meet our client’s requirements and deliver the new Air conditioning systems within the allocated timeframe. All work was carried out with minimal disruption to the tenants and in a professional manner and is a credit to all involved.

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