• PROJECT University of Auckland – B507 Park West Building
  • DATE 2019
  • LOCATION Northern
  • SECTOR Education
  • Client University of Auckland
  • Duration Aug 2017 - Dec 2019
  • Value $120 million
  • Referee Ian Straka, Associate, Precon
    Ph. +64 27 345 0067
    E. ian.straka@precon.co.nz
The University of Auckland’s long-term vision was to consolidate its campuses in the central city and bring its School of Population Health and School of Medicine together at its Grafton Campus, opposite Auckland Hospital.

Having sold its Tamaki Campus, the University commissioned a new building in Grafton Road. The vision for the building was a flexible space with excellent facilities and a positive working environment for staff and students.

The project (B507) was a six-storey building designed to open in two stages so that the University could make use of facilities from November 2019, with the full building opening in January 2020.

Following a competitive tender in May 2017 based on P&G and margin, Hawkins was appointed as Preferred Contractor to provide ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) services over four months and help the University deliver on their vision. The project was at Preliminary Design at the time of tender. During the ECI phase, Hawkins worked closely with the University and its team to provide information on buildability, consents phasing, programme, methodologies, and procurement advice.

By using a collaborative and open approach, the team worked to tight deadlines to meet the client’s budget requirements. By identifying risk early, adopting a no-excuses approach, and holding weekly procurement meetings to close out issues with the client team, Hawkins held everyone accountable and met the client’s strict targets.

Work began on the Park Avenue site in November 2017. After demolition of four existing buildings (which required dealing with asbestos), the team started excavating the two below-ground levels. Excavation took six months and required the removal of 38,000 cubic meters of rock, clay, and tuff. Significant temporary works, including 14-metre structural props, were needed. The team also had the challenge of working through a wet winter and dealing with a perched water table.

The site is constrained by busy roads and neighbouring properties on all four boundaries meaning there was no lay-down space on site. Hawkins managed the logistics through careful planning and ensuring a high level of organisation to ensure all of the client’s deadlines were met.

The building’s entire façade is a Thermosash curtain wall composed of profiled zinc sheeting and high-performance glass. The insulation for the warm roof was computer-modelled in Europe, and the falls cut off-site to reduce wastage and speed up the installation process. The insulated layer sits on the concrete slab, with the membrane on top of that.

Hawkins successfully delivered the first portion on 31 October, 2019, which allowed the University to move the bulk of its people into their new building as planned. The second portion was completed on target for 31 January, 2020, ready for the start of the new academic year.

While working on this project, Hawkins also built the University of Auckland’s new Engineering school building. Based on the success of these two projects, Hawkins was then appointed to build the University’s new Recreation and Wellness Centre.