The redevelopment, re-purposing and structural upgrade of Unisys House together with the adjacent Aurora Chambers in central Wellington has provided a bold new home for the Ministry of Social Development (MSD) and an outstanding asset for Kiwi Property Group – The Aurora Centre.
RCP was the project manager and engineer to the contract for the $90m redevelopment. Its role extended to assisting with development agreement negotiations, design management, early contractor involvement procurement and contract administration. RCP also designed and tendered trade packages early to expediate long lead times and satisfy programme demands.
In a first for New Zealand, the development featured innovative fluid viscous dampers as part of the seismic design. The 18-floor Unisys House was upgraded to 90 percent of the new building standard and the nine-storey Aurora Chambers to 100 percent.
Strengthening work included the simultaneous demolition of a multistorey annex and construction of a larger structure in its place. Work was completed in multiple stages while access was maintained through the building to an adjacent car park. Careful planning and programming were critical to meet deadlines, and keep workers and the public safe.
RCP’s on-site project management resulted in no serious health and safety or lost time incidents during construction. Moreover, it implemented safety-in-design principles as part of the design management to produce a building that was not only safer to construct, but also safer to maintain and occupy.
The design was governed by a development agreement, including detailed building performance and sustainability specifications. The product was tailored to meet MSD’s needs and provides 23,000sqm of efficient, expanded floorplates. The seamless connections between the structurally separate buildings offer an open, flexible and connected style of working. And the new two-storey retail pavilion boasts a pedestrian-scale extension at the ground and first floors, an enhanced entrance lobby, and new retail and café frontages.
National Winner, Commercial