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National Herbarium of NSW
Relocation and Development

Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust
  • Civic & Culture
$48 million
2013 - 2021
  • Advisory,
  • Project Management
  • NSW

The National Herbarium of NSW, containing over 1.4 million botanical specimens, holds Australia’s largest collection including nationally and internationally significant specimens. The existing facility is located within the Robert Brown Building at the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.  The building has declining environmental controls placing the collection at risk from mould and insect infestations. With over 8000 new specimens being added to the collection every year, the Herbarium’s storage capacity in the current facility will also be exhausted by 2022.

Project Overview

A new purpose-built Herbarium has been constructed at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan where the collection will be relocated. The design and construction of the new facility will allow for adequate storage and protection of the growing collection of botanical specimens. The new National Herbarium of NSW integrates with the existing facilities of the award-winning Australian PlantBank at the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, to ensure the survival of plants and build more resilient ecosystems for future generations.


Our Role

In 2013, the Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust (The Trust) asked RP Infrastructure (RPI) to assist in the preparation of a business case outlining the need for a new Herbarium facility. RPI worked closely with stakeholders to articulate the complex needs and functional requirements of a world class Herbarium and how to deliver these. RPI was then engaged as the Project Manager for delivery of the project. In close consultation with the Client, RPI assisted The Trust in establishing the strategic vision, mission and objectives for the Herbarium and the technical and functional requirements of the facility.

RPI’s services have further included: defining the functional brief; managing the Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) tender process including a design competition; leading tender negotiations and contract award; managing the ECI team during the design phase and planning applications; negotiating the Design & Construct (D&C) offer and executing the Early Works and Main Works D&C Contracts; and managing the Interpretation design and implementation.

From January 2020, RPI provided Superintendency of an Early Works package which transitioned to the Main Works under a D&C Contract in August 2020. The project was completed in December 2021.

Key Challenge

The new Herbarium has very specific technical requirements including varying levels of quarantine containment and environmental controls and, in addition to this, the facility was delivered within a live operating environment.

Due to the highly specialised and complex requirements of the facility, located within the Australian Botanic Garden Mount Annan, an ECI and D&C procurement strategy was adopted. It was essential that the functional brief and the ECI tender documentation captured all requirements from the outset.