Our projects » Ryrie Street refurbishment

Ryrie Street office refurbishment

Barwon Water’s Ryrie Street head office (“Ryrie HQ”) will be refurbished to accommodate all Geelong-based office employees under one roof.

Our staff are currently split between temporary offices in Mercer and Malops streets in the Geelong CBD and our aging South Geelong office complex.

Architect’s impression of the refurbished building from Ryrie Street

Consolidating our corporate activities in a multi-functional building will allow us to reduce operational costs while providing our employees with a healthy, secure and modern workplace.

Importantly, the project will be price-neutral, with operational savings and consolidation of buildings to fund the work. Customer bills will not be affected.



Centralising our Geelong-based workforce is practical, functional and demonstrates value for money.

The consolidation will mean increased productivity, efficiencies and cost savings, including reductions of up to 45% on maintenance, operational and energy costs.

Up to 100 jobs are expected to be created during construction, part of a rejuvenation of Geelong’s business and cultural precinct.



The Ryrie Street building will be updated to meet modern standards for environmental sustainability, lighting, disabled access, fire services and more.

While much of the structure will be maintained, the interior will be stripped and the façades upgraded to reduce energy loss and greenhouse emissions.

The plans feature a glass-walled infill over the current void between the north and south sections. This will create extra space and add natural light, and add connections within and between floors.

Modern and comfortable workspaces combined with an open, bright and flexible floorplan will cater for future changes, foster staff collaboration and improve overall amenity.



1913: The offices of the Geelong Waterworks and Sewerage Trust officially opened in Ryrie Street.

1964: A new office building was completed at the rear of the existing Ryrie Street building.

1977: The new Ryrie Street office was officially opened. The structure has remained largely unchanged since.

2007: Investigations into office accommodation options for the Barwon Water workforce began.

August 2014: The refurbishment project was officially given the green light by the Victorian Government on 14 August 2014.

January 2014: Planning permit granted by the City of Greater Geelong. 

March 2015: Employees relocated to other sites in late 2014. The building was vacated in March 2015.

March 2015: Construction firm Monaco Hickey selected as the preferred construction contractor.

April to July 2015: Design finalisation, loose furnishings removal and early works.

September 2015: Site handed over to Monaco Hickey. Construction begins.

Mid 2017: Scheduled completion.



Frequently asked questions

Why do you need a new building?
Will it be a lavish renovation?
Will my water rates go up to pay for the upgrade?
What do you mean by ‘consolidation of buildings’?
How much preparation and planning has gone into this decision?
Will the refurbished building be environmentally friendly?
Will customers be affected during construction?

Why do you need a new building?

Our Ryrie Street office was last upgraded in 1977 and our South Geelong complex has changed little since construction in 1964. Both buildings require significant work to meet current standards for disabled access, lighting, fire services and kitchen and hygiene facilities.

Centralising employees in a practical and multi-functional building will drive efficiencies and significantly reduce ongoing costs.

Refurbishing the Ryrie Street building is by far the most practical and cost-effective solution.


Will it be a lavish renovation?

The refurbishment will be practical, functional and provide value for money. Costs are being kept down by maintaining much of the existing structure, while stripping the interior and upgrading the façades.

The refurbished building will feature flexible floor plans with open spaces and informal meeting and breakout areas. We will use space more efficiently with minimal internal partitioning.

We’re aiming to create bright, modern and comfortable working spaces. Additional amenities including bathrooms, showers and changing rooms, will be factored into the design.

The ‘new-look’ Barwon Water building will contribute to the overall rejuvation of the Geelong business and arts precinct.


Will my water rates go up to pay for the upgrade?

No. This project will not impact on customer prices. The project will be price neutral, with operational savings and consolidation of buildings to fund the work.

Efficiencies delivered through our Water Plan are driving bills down, not up.


What do you mean by ‘consolidation of buildings’?

Once the Ryrie Street refurbishment is complete, our South Geelong office will no longer be required. We will investigate options for its future use, including placing the property on the market. This would be a transparent process to achieve the best outcome for Barwon Water and its customers.


How much preparation and planning has gone into this decision?

Investigations into accommodation options for our workforce began in 2007.


Will the refurbished building be environmentally friendly?

Yes. Much of the existing structure will be retained saving energy and expense. Best-practice passive solar design principles will drive the design of the façades, while modern and efficient systems, such as heating, cooling and lighting will reduce energy costs and greenhouse gas emissions.


Will customers be affected during construction?

We will make every effort to minimise the impact on our customers during the refurbishment.

Our Ryrie Street customer service centre will not operate during construction.

Customers can complete most day-to-day transaction with us online and over the phone. Customers who prefer to pay their accounts ‘over the counter’ can still do so at our South Geelong Office or any post office.

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