How do you add an extra floor to a fully operational restaurant without disrupting business? Schiavello has the answer.
Golden Century is Sydney's most popular Chinese restaurant. So popular, in fact, that the family owners decided to add a fourth story to cater for its clientele, who often queued all the way down the Sussex Street thoroughfare in anticipation of one of Golden Century's iconic seafood dishes. Yet not everybody believed in their vision.
"It's an impossible build," they were told again and again by local builders. "Can't be done."
And so it wasn't. For five years, the ambitious project lay dormant. That was until Schiavello came along. The owners put the question to them: How do you add a whole new floor above a fully operational restaurant with restricted loads on the existing structure and access through only one of its boundaries all without shutting down the business even once?
The team may not have had an answer straight away, but with an entrepreneurial spirit and belief that anything is possible, they jumped at the challenge.
If Schiavello stuck to traditional methodologies, there was no way the project was going to be completed. New approaches and construction techniques would be required. Custom crane base platforms, mini cranes, custom gantries and hoists to install structural steel and Hebel wall panels proved vital. In addition, the team constructed the largest roof hatch in the southern hemisphere to facilitate the arrival of the 15 tonnes of steel, 3.5 hectometre operable wall panels, kitchen equipment, six-metre wide cool room panels (weighing 200 kilograms each) and other materials to be used.
Collaboration played an important part in ensuring the project's success. After all, the undertaking of major demolition, installation of structural steel and infrastructure and construction of a lift shaft that travelled the entire height of the building in what little downtime the restaurant had meant mutual understanding would be critical in keeping everyone involved happy and productive.
"It really felt like two extended families coming together," says Christopher Schiavello, NSW director of Schiavello.
"Our senior people would often be onsite late at night to solve one of the many challenges that the existing site threw up at us and their team would often be seen sharing meals with our construction team throughout the course of the project."
The new level opened in time to serve lobsters on Chinese New Year, the restaurant's busiest period of the year.