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St Paul’s College Student Hub and Resource Centre – Structural and Civil Design

Fyfe provided St Paul’s College in Gilles Plains, Adelaide with structural and civil engineering design for the college’s new student hub and resource centre.


The resource centre project spanned 2020 and 2021 and involved transforming the existing library into a modern building.

Fyfe was tasked with:

  • The design for all structural steel, concrete, and timber elements in the resource centre building.
  • Designs for temporary supporting structures.
  • Civil engineering design for elements such as pavements.
  • Providing technical assistance during construction. 

Transforming the existing 1970s library into a modern student resource centre presented some challenges.

There was an insufficient amount of structural information available on the existing building. Fyfe engineers had to investigate to ensure we had all the details needed to produce a complete structural design.

To meet architectural expectations for the new resource centre, Fyfe modified the library’s existing steel framing, which meant we could support new facial trusses around the entire building.

In addition, we faced a very reactive clay site. In reactive sites, clay soil swells and shrinks in response to moisture change, which can then result in ground movement. How much movement is a matter of the clay’s properties and environmental factors, including the level of vegetation. Fyfe engineered a foundation system with under-reamed piles to overcome the challenge.

We anticipated latent conditions during construction, to counter this, Fyfe’s structural team immediately responded to any issues with timely engineering solutions. At the construction stage and throughout the project, Safety in Design was a top priority.

Critical temporary supporting structures used during the construction of the resource centre were inspected and verified by Fyfe engineers to ensure safety and structural integrity were at the highest possible levels.

The Fyfe team is available to work on all sorts of specialised institutional and commercial construction projects. We provide a range of services in this area including structural and civil engineering design. Please get in touch to discuss your project.