Night shifts and bespoke solutions for a Brisbane icon

The elevators of the iconic Riverside Center in Brisbane, Australia, received a thorough makeover to bring in the latest technology and energy savings. Nocturnal jackhammering and efficient cleaning meant tenants hardly noticed the extent of works that were being undertaken as part of the project.


  • Upgrade elevators to meet with the requirements of modern commercial properties
  • Find bespoke solutions that support the vision of the architect
  • Limit disruption to tenants during modernization


  • Close collaboration with the customer and architect to find bespoke solutions for the building
  • Installing an intelligent elevator system that predicts travel patterns to eliminate over-crowding and unnecessary stops
  • Meticulous planning and cleaning to ensure minimum disruption to tenants, with the most disruptive work carried out at night
  • Developing a new renovation method to reduce overall installation time


  • Floors: 42
  • Number of modernized elevators: 21
  • Modernization completed: September 2017
  • :Energy savings following renovation 30-40%


  • 3 KONE MonoSpace® S elevators
  • 17 KONE ReGenerate™ 800 elevators
  • 1 KONE ReSolve™ 40 hydro
  • KONE Destination Control System
  • MDE3000+ Overlay
  • Custom KONE E-Link™ Monitoring System with high level output to building management system
  • Custom pixel face-to-face emergency communication
  • Custom lobby touch destination screens interfaced with lifts
  • Custom load shedding
  • Custom fire banner
  • #Hissit
  • #Modernization
  • #People flow intelligence

Night shifts and bespoke solutions for a Brisbane icon

July 2, 2018

Riverside Centre is one of the most prestigious commercial buildings in Brisbane, Australia. When it was constructed, the building was considered the most technologically advanced in the country. However, 30 years later the lift system was due an upgrade.

Yet this was not a simple renovation project. The client and architect required unique solutions for the architecturally significant building. At the same time, it was clear customers should not be disrupted by this major renovation.

“The lift upgrade was primarily driven by life cycle, which was heightened due to Riverside Centre’s requirements to compete in a challenging leasing market,” explains Clint Francis, operations manager at Riverside Centre, GPT Group. “It was important that our customer experience was enhanced, and for the modernization to be completed without incident in a safe working environment.”

“The project was meticulously well planned and started a considerable time before any on-site works commenced,” says Chris Valentine, modernization project manager, KONE. “The architect Greg Holman from Harry Seidler & Associates was involved from the beginning and provided invaluable design input for the refurbishment of the lifts, the placement of destination control panels and the bespoke elevator identifiers .”

Bespoke requirements


At project initiation, GPT’s requirements for the project were comprehensively detailed within the Norman, Disney & Young Modernization Specification, including complete refurbishment of the 21 elevators with a state-of-the-art destination control system. The resultant intelligent system predicts travel patterns to eliminate over-crowding and unnecessary stops, keeping customers and guests moving quickly and comfortably throughout the building.

The refurbishment also includes five large touch screen monitors, which have been integrated into a beautifully designed bespoke tenancy directory. The directory was designed to allow guests to utilize it as another destination control panel.

“The visitor selects the tenant she wants on the interactive directory and the system tells her which lift to use,” says Valentine, adding that KONE worked together with the customer to come up with new, custom solutions.

“For instance, the car operating panels and hall lanterns had very specific requirements. The interior mirror gives the effect of the handrail disappearing. The elevator identifiers in jambs are completely bespoke.”

The client also wanted a unique system for alerting people not to use an elevator during a fire. Instead of the typical sticker or plaque, this message is displayed on the screen when sensors detect smoke. Special software was developed to make the system work.

“Quality without compromise”

Francis states: “Our approach to all capital projects is in keeping with what we believe to be the fundamental spirit of the original development of the site: best-in-class through quality without compromise.”

Total energy saving is expected to be 30-40 percent. Francis also points to their surveys of lift services satisfaction conducted by Campbell Scholtens. In 2014 they scored a 57, under a benchmark of 62. In 2017, after the renovation project was completed, this had increased to 73.

All parties involved in the project agree the end result is a spectacular achievement.

Business as usual

img_riverside-center 2

In addition to the unique results, the entire modernization process at Riverside Centre required a unique approach.

“Our goal was to complete the works with minimal customer-facing indicators,” Francis says. “We wanted the 2.5-year lift modernization to be completed in such a way our customers believed it was business as usual. This required KONE to propose a unique slant to their activities and program.”

A key component of this was regular communication. KONE had weekly meetings with GPT’s Customer Relationship Manager Jason Scaysbrook, which allowed him to communicate to the customers about lift works on their floors on a timely basis

“GPT requested a very high level of detail, down to which door we would be working on at which time,” says Valentine. “Sometimes the tenant would ask us to reschedule, so we worked with the client to maintain a flexible schedule, whilst not compromising the overall program.”

Nocturnal work leads to a bright sunrise

img_riverside center 4

To minimize impact on the tenants, KONE did much of their work at night. The 300 elevator doorjambs needed flush mounted identifiers cut into the existing jambs, which meant hard work with a jackhammer and cutting tools. Extraction fans and sealed areas kept dust to a minimum, and before the doors opened to tenants every morning, the KONE crew cleaned the entire area.

“We also developed a new method to renovate the goods elevator,” Valentine says. “We built a protection platform mid-shaft so we could have two teams safely working above and below simultaneously. This reduced the installation time from 16 weeks to 11.”

The modernized Riverside Centre is something everyone can be proud of.

Francis concludes: “The object of our upgrades is to ensure our customers enjoy the finest experience when interacting with all facets of the Riverside Centre, overarched by a ‘zero harm’ mandate.”

November 15, 2018

Riverside Center won the award for Elevator Modernization in Elevator World’s Project of the Year 2019 contest. Other KONE references recognized in the prestigious competition are Bloomberg’s European Headquarters, London, UK, for Elevators in a New Construction; and the Los Angeles Central Library, in California, USA, for Escalator Modernization.

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