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First published in The Sydney Morning Herald on October 19, 1962
Fixed Fee To Opera House Roof Builders
The State Government will pay a fixed fee of £75,000 to the company which builds the shell roof of the Sydney Opera House.
Here Mr. P. N. Ryan and Sir Manuel Hornibrook, Chairman and Managing Director of Hornibrook Ltd, discuss a sketch and model of the sails construction. October 19, 1962. Credit:Ronald Leslie Stewart
The State Government will pay construction expenses, such as all materials, plant and labour.
The Minister for Public Works, Mr P. N. Ryan, yesterday signed the £75,000 contract for the fee for the second stage of the building, primarily construction of the roof.
The stage, scheduled for completion before the end of 1964, is estimated to cost £1.8 million.
The contract was awarded to M. R. Hornibrook (N.S.W.) Pty. Ltd.
It was awarded by negotiation and not by tender.
The company was selected on the recommendation of the consulting engineers, Ove Arup and Partners, of London, and with the concurrence of the architect, Mr Joern Utzon, and the Opera House Executive Committee.
Carpenters work on the wooden moulding for part of the Opera House roof in 1963.Credit:George Lipman
Mr Ryan said Ove Arup and Partners were confident the shell roof would be built within the £1.8 million estimate.
“The shell structure of the roof, by its very nature, is a most difficult and complex work.” he said.
“Its intricate form and special constructional problems do not lend themselves to the preparation of plans and specifications for the calling of tenders in the normal manner.
No Modifications To Roof
“There is hardly any work in the world, approaching the complexity of this superstructure, that has not been carried out by some form of nominated contract.”
Mr Ryan said no major modifications would be made to the roof structure.
Pointing to a new scale model of the Opera House which arrived from Denmark recently, he said: “This is it.”
Mr Ryan said special tower cranes, the tallest of which was about 150 feet, would raise the arch-ribs of the shells into position in sections.
The sections, each weighing about 10 tons, would be prefabricated on the site.
The exterior of the shells would be clad with white tiles, with the ribs marked by coloured tiles.
The tiles would be cast as part of each 10-ton section.
Their colour had not been decided.
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