INITIAL works restoring the heat and smoke-damaged Quest Apartments have started more than a month after a fire which razed the neighbouring buildings.
Scaffolding has been set up on the eastern side of the Margaret St complex with workers beginning to repair the building.
The June 13 inferno which destroyed Adrenalin Climbing Gym and Amigo's Bar and Grill caused about $5 million in damage to the eight-storey hotel and it has been closed since.
Designed and built by Toowoomba firm FKG Group, the award-winning hotel is unlikely to re-open before December.
FKG Group executive chairman Gary Gardner said the rebuild was expected to take about five months and, while the damage was more extensive than initially thought, it could have been worse.
"It's a much bigger job than we first thought," Mr Gardner said.
"With the heat, the windows on the exterior have to be replaced."
Testing on the building's interior was completed last week with the final damage bill incorporating the cost of repairing smoke-damaged electronics.
Mr Gardner said internal furnishings had to be replaced including carpets, as well as air-conditioning units on each balcony and hot water systems.
"It is mainly smoke and water damage," he said.
Although acknowledging the damage was worse than initially expected, Mr Gardner said the intense fire could have caused structural damage.
The former Church of Christ chapel, incorporated into the award-winning design and which fronts Margaret St, was not damaged.
"I think that was more luck than anything," he said.
"On the whole it's only a new building."
The remains of the Amigos Bar and Grill and Adrenalin Climbing Gym buildings were bulldozed the day after the fire which broke out about 11.30pm on Tuesday, June 13.