Developed in 1987, the current Law Society House was the culmination of QLS’s vision to establish a centrally located CBD base for our membership, with the potential to become a significant member asset over time. The need to be visible, accessible and offer services from a central location was seen as key to the value we provide to members and the profession.
This vision underpins the new refurbishment project and has driven the approach to design. Key outcomes for the refurbishment include:
- Establishing a hub for the profession, designed to foster connection and collegiality amongst members.
- Designing the building to be accessible, functional and inspirational for all members.
- Developing a versatile, modern facility that offers increased capacity for conference and meeting rooms, mediation and arbitration facilities, social event spaces and a business centre.
- Creating a workspace for staff that is modern, collaborative, functional and attractive.
Key project details
- Following three years of planning, on 25 August 2022 Council resolved to approve the refurbishment of Law Society House.
- Work will commence on 6 October 2022 and conclude in late May 2023.
- Architects BVN and builders FDC have been appointed as contractors to the project as a result of a competitive tender process.
- The building will remain operational throughout the project, however there will be some changes to access and facilities at certain times.
The project encompasses a comprehensive schedule of works required to address general issues due to the age of the building, as well as optimising the available space for members, tenants and staff. Specifics works include:
- Ground floor redevelopment including a new building façade and entrance, café, and people with disability (PWD) lift.
- QLS Staff to move into modern, refitted office space over two floors
- Level 3 will be returned to a warm shell, ready for lease to commercial tenants
- New conference and events spaces and increased meeting and mediation facilities through the building
- New members lounge Level 6, including a business centre and co-working spaces
- Toilets on all floors will be upgraded to include PWD amenities in line with building code.
What has been the journey so far?
- At the 2019 Council Strategy Day approval was given to advance the building refurbishment program.
- $129k in costs were incurred from 2019 to 2021 to develop the design concept and initial costings.
- A subcommittee of executive team members and Council workshopped with BVN the design principles over four workshops.
- In 2021-22 Council approved a further $776k in costs to finalise designs and costings.
- Total approved and expensed expenditure on the program to date has been $905k.
Why refurbish the QLS House?
- The building has significant end of life and non-compliance items which require $1.2m to rectify. For examples people with disability (PWD) access to the building and toilets are now non- compliant.
- The current fit-out is old and is an inefficient use of space with staff spread across four floors, leaving large areas of floor space unused or underutilised.
- The rear ground floor has been returned to QLS and is underutilised and inefficiently configured and fitted out to utilise commercially.
- By consolidating staff onto two floors we create significant space from which to run events, education, mediations and offer a members’ area to improve revenue and reduce cost of using off-site venues.
What are the costs of a refurbishment?
- Costs are divided up between improvements to the building itself and the new internal fit-out costs. The total cost will be $14.753m.
- QLS has been approved to borrow $10m over 10 years from QTC through a low-interest fixed rate loan.
- The balance will be funded from cash reserves.
Is now a good time to undertake a refurbishment?
- Modelling shows that the overall construction costs will not return to pre covid levels. They more than likely will continue to increase.
- With significant infrastructure developments occurring in SEQ over the next 10 years, our considered advice is that now is the best time to undertake the project. It will only be more expensive if we delay.
- A delay will also mean we will be required to fund a higher maintenance and end of life costs until a refurbishment occurs and that we miss out on the opportunity to build revenue from the new commercial space created by the refurbishment.
Will the refurbishment impact visitors to Law Society House?
Access to the building will be impacted at certain times during the refurbishment, however we aim to minimise the impact on members, visitors and staff as much as possible.
Key accessibility information:
- Only one lift will be available to visitors and staff for the duration of the refurbishment.
- The main building entrance will be closed from December 2022 – April 2023, however access to the building will be provided via an alternative route to the ground floor lift.
More information about these changes, as well as regular project updates, will be published on Proctor as work progresses.
Questions about the project can be emailed to email@example.com and will be answered via the FAQ section on this webpage.