CAE, Degraves Lane Melbourne


The façade restoration for this heritage State Government building in the Melbourne CBD currently occupied by the CAE and administered by Box Hill TAFE. The project followed the successful restoration of the next-door Punt Hill apartment hotel. The CAE building and its adjacent neighbour were of similar age. The decorative render of the CAE building, had deteriorated to the point of being a public safety hazard.

The site lies within the wider reaching “Flinders Lane Precinct”, which is covered by a significant Heritage Overlay. The eight storey façade to Degraves Lane pre dates the First World War, therefore the refurbishment had to be sensitive to the heritage of the building, yet at the same time bring a contemporary interpretation to the colour scheme that would be a complement to its adjoining neighbour and to the general streetscape.

Located in one of Melbourne’s busiest pedestrian café laneways, the eight-storey building has retail at street level and al fresco eateries around its base. The initial challenge was to protect all retail businesses and ensure unobstructed operations during construction.

Likewise the CAE was began its first semester just after the site establishment process and all scheduled classes and access into the building had to be maintained throughout the works.

Haber Associates sourced a high-tech, chemical and mechanical bonding solution to the render repair and restatement, as well as a paint solution that would be sufficiently flexible to protect the render for many years. Finding the most appropriate technology both significantly reduced the otherwise prohibitive cost of this work and ensures longevity to the result.

Render deteriorates when the capillary action of masonry sucks moisture in and then pushes out behind the render and paintwork. Therefore finding and stopping the source of the water incursion, is also key to a long-life solution.

The project was completed under budget and under time.


Project Manager and Superintendent – Box Hill Institute of TAFE


Tender and appoint all consultants;
Design Management;
Gain Approvals;
Prepare tender documents;
Tender and let contract;
Project management and superintendency.