A Wollongong licensed venue has taken out top honours at recent Master Builders Association awards for bringing Sydney pubs and bars to the city.

Michael Wilkins, CEO of Collegians Rugby League Football Club (CRLFC), briefed specialist builder New England Construction (NewCon) to take inspiration from hotels and small bars across Sydney for the big-budget renovation of the business.

Collegians Rugby League Football Club

CRLFC sought to “break the mould” of how clubs traditionally appear, incorporating ideas for the fit-out including lighting inspiration from Merivale’s Mr Wong, as well as a new look at the food and entertainment offerings.

Drinks offerings have evolved from ‘Club’ style with a new cocktail section called Bar 67, with specialist staff training, and social media to attract newcomers to the new venue.

The Master Builders Association Award for Excellence granted top honour of Best Commercial Fitout over $7 million to the CRLFC project, and Best Commercial Builder to NewCon for its “first class” execution.

“The judges were also impressed with the passion demonstrated by [the team] in the construction of this large club complex that achieved a truly successful result without any loss to the club’s trade.”

New England Construction_Commercial Builder of the Year_crpsq_adjJudges made special mention of the use of recycled materials and modern finishes such as polished concrete, which NewCon says were a result of desired outcome and cost.

“To achieve the design intent within the budget, we sourced alternative materials and recycled products to create a rustic and authentic feel,” spokesperson Sarah Jones told PubTIC.

The company suggests attention to detail and a focus on the end user experience were key to the award-winning result.

CRLFC’s Wilkins reported he was impressed with the result and the method.

“To think that they extended the building 40m to the south, turned back around and demolished 40m internally, then built through the middle while keeping us trading …”

The Master Builders Association declined to provide the full list of winners from the Awards, as most were private dwellings and not suitable for publication.

New England Construction_Commercial Builder of the Year_crp_adj_feature
New England Construction team accepting the award for Commercial Builder of the Year from MBA NSW State President Ross Mitchell.
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