Summer 2023

Engaging interviews, behind-the-scenes insights, news, trends and topical features that celebrate places that evolve our landscape, and the people who bring them to life - welcome to Made by FDC.


Charter Hall’s sustainable innovation and space-making that inspired a sense of connection and collaboration. 

From the outside, No.1 Martin Place, with its classic, renaissance-style architecture, looks like many of the buildings that populate the Sydney CBD. There’s an elegant lobby with a touch of corporate grandeur; heritage elements that meet contemporary design. There are mixed use spaces including a cafe, and flexible furniture for casual meetings.

Yet look a little deeper – or, more specifically, take the lift straight to levels 18, 19 and 20, and you’ll discover a story about sustainability in the modern workplace.

How a thoughtful fit out can completely revitalise a space. And how the energy shared between people and the spaces they inhabit can have an enduringly positive impact.

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When FDC was engaged by property investment management company, Charter Hall, to deliver a full fit out of its offices, it was with a few key visionary directives in mind. First up, three full floors, 18 to 20, were in line for a makeover. Secondly, the fit out had to deliver more than just functional office space.

It had to be engaging, warm and welcoming enough to entice post-pandemic employees to feel excited about working in the office again. It had to enhance a sense of connection, collaboration, focus and wellbeing. And thirdly? It had to be done as sustainably as possible, creating a minimal carbon footprint, with all of the above completed in a live office environment.

“Charter Hall wanted us to create a functional workspace that was open and connected, but they also needed the workspace to remain open for regular business during the fitout,” explains FDC Project Manager, Owen Lattin. “Together with Bates Smart Architects, Aston Consulting, Spectrum, MCD Fire Engineering, Meredith Bonacci Structural Engineers and WT Partnership, we created a three-story fit out in this live setting.”

“Through careful staging and meticulous planning, we completed new office spaces, bathrooms, team kitchen and break areas, a business lounge, meeting and innovation spaces and an atrium to connect all three floors – all with minimal disruption to the active office and on-time delivery.”



Smart details

The finished product was an exercise in Charter Hall’s sustainable innovation. The team reduced the carbon footprint of the project by reusing as many elements from the old fit out as possible, giving new life to recycled materials.

Level 20’s flooring was repurposed to become the interconnecting stairs of the atrium. The old kitchen bench top had a lofty upgrade to the board room, where it lends elegant marble detailing to the boardroom tables and benches. Approximately 125 workstations, as well as all joinery and furniture, was salvaged and upcycled.

In the bathrooms, the team installed Caroma Smart Command, a system that minimises water waste. It features completely hands-free, automatic taps and a leak detection system that activates an eco-valve to shut off the water from the leak. And there are mirrors. Magic mirrors. “They look like mirrors and they act like mirrors but they also have a screen within them, displaying how much water has been saved by the system alongside other workplace updates,” says Owen.



Creating connection

It was essential that Charter Hall’s new fit out improved on the office’s social offering, creating comfortable spaces that encouraged conversation and inspiration to flow.

The new business lounge, with its leather lounges, high-end finishes and coffee station, fit the brief perfectly, with expansive views across Sydney. The kitchen, the star of Friday night team drinks and breakfast catch ups, satisfied an appetite for both form and function, with custom circular banquette seating and stunning Brazilian quartzite stonework.

Innovation hubs were conceived to elevate collaboration with generous meeting rooms, function spaces and custom-built doughnut desks for teams to work together.

Each of the floors were designed in a loop, to promote a seamless flow of space. All three levels are connected by the new atrium, pendant lights delicately illuminating the recycled timber staircase. “The atrium is my favourite element of the project,” says Owen. “It has been a pleasure to manage the transformation of this space and to witness it evolve from a construction site to a functioning interconnection for Charter Hall to use across their floors.”


Photography: Toby Peet

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Melb Cup MH 2.2

Ronald McDonald House Charities, Greater Western Sydney was the beneficiary of FDC’s annual Melbourne Cup Luncheon last year, a valuable opportunity to support a meaningful cause that positively impacts people in our community.

When Board Member of Ronald McDonald House Charities, Greater Western Sydney (RMHC, GWS), Ray Finn OAM, watched FDC build the Westmead house from the ground up, he knew it was going to be a beautiful friendship.

“If a crane was coming, one of the foremen would say, ‘You might want to bring the kids out,’ so the kids could enjoy the spectacle. These are very sick children and seeing FDC’s people get so much from bringing them joy was wonderful. On Fridays the tradies and labourers would come over and cook for the kids and their families,” he recalls. “We got so much more than a business partnership.”

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Giving back

In November 2022, RMHC, GWS was the beneficiary of FDC’s Melbourne Cup lunch. A chance to connect face to face. And fundraising efforts which resulted in a staggering $433,629 for the charity.

FDC is a family company and for us, supporting the lives of struggling families is an incredibly meaningful pursuit. The gratitude we feel towards our clients, sub-contractors staff and partners who helped us reach this goal, runs deep.

The sum represents 2,718 nights of accommodation for critically ill or injured kids and their families at ‘the house that love built’ in Westmead—the 60-room house FDC delivered in 2017.

Ronald McDonald House’s vision is to achieve the best outcome for families by reducing the impact of their child’s serious illness. For the more-than 1400 families who stay at the Greater Western Sydney Chapter annually, it’s a vision that provides tangible support; a place to call home and to connect with others also enduring the unimaginable.

More than just a home-away-from-home, the impact Ronald McDonald House makes in the lives of families with sick and injured children is profound. Families receive holistic care in the form of weekly meals, in-House programs and a network of support.

The House helps to alleviate financial and emotional stress, strengthening their ability to cope. Children and parents who stay at RMHC, GWS are thought to have a better quality of life than expected for children with serious illnesses, and that’s just the beginning.

Families are able to stay next door to their child’s medical treatment (at Westmead Children’s Hospital), for as long as needed, at no expense to the family. A purpose-built learning centre provides daily programs and school holiday activities for patients and siblings all year round. Meals are served three times a week through the charity’s Meals from the Heart program where groups of volunteers visit to cook for families, providing precious time to connect over a warm meal. FDC’s construction team regularly show up at the RMHC, GWS kitchen, armed with their aprons and best culinary skills.



The power of support

The majority of families who stay at Ronald McDonald House have travelled more than 100km from their home and local support network, for an unknown length of time. Around 55% of families stay long-term, for around six months. Some of them travel from rural New South Wales or even from as far as interstate.

One of those children was aspiring cross country runner, Elijah Arranz, who at 14 years old, was involved in a horrific tandem skydiving accident in 2015.

Elijah suffered multiple injuries, including a fractured skull, jaw and face, several breaks to his pelvis and ribs, a lacerated kidney and liver, torn ligaments to the back of his neck and a severe traumatic brain injury. Elijah and his family lived at Ronald McDonald House for 352 days.

Now 21, Elijah has transformed. The inspirational speaker took to the podium at the Melbourne Cup fundraiser, to share his story, express his gratitude for Ronald McDonald House and talk about the power of transformation.

“When I was 10, I discovered cross country running. I loved it. I wasn’t the best runner but my desire to win was unmatched. Over the years I transformed myself from being a little kid who loved to run, into an elite runner, looking forward to many more kilometres. But two months after my most triumphant run. I was to undergo another transformation. This time, a transformation not by choice, but thrust upon me by bad luck. A transformation that would take a grown man’s life. A transformation that would leave me in a coma hanging on to life. I was unable to speak, to move and to breathe unassisted, suffering a severe traumatic brain injury,” he said.

“I spent almost seven weeks in intensive care. When I regained some form of consciousness, I knew it was time for another transformation. It was time to rebuild. After several months I started to talk again and to eat again. I started to move again. The building of RMHC, GWS, thanks to FDC, helps so many families. Ronald McDonald House helped my family when we were at our most broken. Me, physically, and my mum, my dad and my sister emotionally.



“Rebuilding [my life] isn’t something I do in isolation. Transforming from a kid in a coma into a young man; independent; optimistic; full of life and full of hope, I had a whole team of people helping me on my journey of transformation. And I believe that for any great transformation, you need a team. At the [Melbourne Cup] lunch today, I met builders, electricians, plasterers, plumbers, all sorts of tradies, office and support staff, friends and families. I look at FDC and see a massive team, not too dissimilar to the team that I have, who are intent on transforming things for the better.  It’s not just about transforming buildings, but about transforming lives.”

To be able to remain as a family unit so close to the hospital while your child is undergoing serious treatments is incredibly valuable.

To have a sense of community, and support through it all, is priceless.

“Everything Ronald McDonald House does is to support its families, and those values are at the core of FDC. We’re incredibly grateful for the kindness and generosity of our subcontractors, clients and team who attended our Melbourne Cup lunch, and took the time and money to support this life-changing charity. For us, it’s personal.” Ben Cottle, Managing Director FDC


Photography: Amelia Grose

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50 Belmore MH2

Meet 50 Belmore, the future-facing commercial development set to breathe new life into the rapidly transforming heart of Penrith. 

Once a dark council carpark for Penrith Station commuters – and probably a home for generations of spiders – 50 Belmore has been brought into the light. Sandran Property Group have transformed it from its dank beginnings into a beacon of shining commercial possibility, it’s as much an exceptional office space as it is a symbol of the changing face of Penrith. The subject of a city-shaping transformation, Penrith is on track to become a modern, vibrant lifestyle hub, and 50 Belmore forms an integral part of the broader strategy to deliver growth to Western Sydney.

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Delivered by FDC in collaboration with developer Sandran Property Group and designed by renowned architect Bates Smart, 50 Belmore is more than just adaptable, future-facing commercial real estate.

It will create a new sense of urban vibrancy to Penrith, with offices, public space, retail, alfresco dining and street activations bringing amenity and atmosphere together in the best way possible.

Seeing the light

The building benefits from an extraordinary sense of natural light through the glazed roof of the central unifying atrium, which visually and physically connects the eight floors. Sunshine pours through the open void that extends through the core of the building, enhancing natural ventilation.

A detailed fire engineering plan removes the need for physical barriers between the atrium and the void, giving the building an elevated sense of openness, flow and seamless spaces. Studies show[1] that maximising natural light in an office has a raft of positive benefits including boosting productivity, focus, mood and wellbeing. 50 Belmore’s bright, generous layouts set its tenants up for success with features designed to serve, support and adapt to our changing work habits.

A sun-drenched north-facing roof terrace provides the perfect breakout space for workers to recharge. With views towards the Blue Mountains, it features a louvered roof that can be opened and closed according to the elements. Soft landscaping serves up tranquil greenery and seating provides occupants with alfresco areas for meeting, collaborating and socialising.

Throughout 50 Belmore, warmth is incorporated with natural materials, timber handrails and glulam mullions that ground the building in its landscape with an earthy feel. The sharp lines of the concrete façade present a striking exterior, contrasted by bronze aluminium fin cladding which echoes the beauty of Penrith’s surrounding bushland. It’s replete with A-grade office specs, a 5.5-star NABERS rating and the high-end finishes, contemporary comfort and amenities that any employee would be happy to get out of bed for.



The office of the future

The evolution of the post-Covid office is about more than just work. With hybrid working now the norm, wellbeing a key metric, and workers expecting more from their workplace experience, the new generation office delivers multifaceted benefits from amenity to location to lifestyle.

“50 Belmore is going to set a new benchmark in the region – paving the way in terms of quality and how these spaces are used,” says FDC Project Manager Matt Boukas. “With the delivery of this building, people no longer have to travel to Parramatta, Macquarie Park and the Sydney CBD to get to work. It’s exciting to watch this new hub generate more jobs in the community.”

According to Census data,[2] Penrith’s population increased by 21,000 from 2016 to 2021. Social demographer Mark McCrindle says the future is changing, with younger generations looking for not only a place to work but a role in an exciting area offering affordability, mobility, lifestyle and jobs close to home.



“The future will see CBDs become CLDs – instead of Central Business Districts they will become Central Lifestyle Districts, and that’s why we are seeing more residential, more shopping, more entertainment and events coming into our CBDs,” he said. “The vision I’ve seen for Penrith is an example of that – it’s making it a lifestyle district and that I think is the future.”

As for 50 Belmore, with its flexible spaces, high spec offices, and attractive amenity in the heart of Penrith? The future is already here. “50 Belmore is a unique development for Penrith, as it transforms into a vibrant epicentre. The team did an exceptional job, creating light, bright, flexible spaces that will adapt to changing ways of working, and that also enrich connection, collaboration and focus,” says Sean Gibbeson, General Manager of NSW Construction, FDC.

“People are at the heart of our business, and to have transformed a building that will bring so much to the community is meaningful. We’re proud to have delivered a project that will have such a positive impact on people and their communities, now and in the future.”



[1] https://hbr.org/2018/09/the-1-office-perk-natural-light

[2] https://www.penrithcity.nsw.gov.au/news/1334-excitement-and-opportunities-are-amplified-for-penrith-city

Photography: Anthony Fretwell

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