News | 3 September 2021

Key construction sites back to work

Construction crews have wasted no time in getting stuck back into their work this week, with key infrastructure builds across the city back underway as soon as safely possible.

Exterior of Tākina - the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre - on a sunny spring day.

Work on many Wellington City Council construction projects was put on hold when New Zealand went into lockdown last month. 

On Wednesday, the first day of COVID Alert Level 3, work restarted across the city under health and hygiene protocols designed to ensure the safety of both work crews and the public.  

Among the key projects back in action are Tākina - the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre - the Wellington Town Hall, and the Omāroro water reservoir.   

Tākina 

Contractor LT McGuinness and many of their sub-contractors are back onsite at Tākina and following strict Alert Level 3 protocols, said Jack McGuinness, Commercial Manager for the site, which is opposite Te Papa. 

The primary structure of Tākina, including all structural steel and concrete works, was successfully completed at the end of July.  

“This was a fantastic milestone for everyone involved, and the project," Jack says.

Installation of the glazed mesh façade has now restarted, along with continuation of construction of the warm roof, which will help progress the fitout on lower floors. 

Exterior of Tākina - the Wellington Convention and Exhibition Centre - on a sunny spring day.

The venue will be the Capital’s largest built infrastructure investment since the Wellington Regional Stadium two decades ago, offering a powerful combination of facilities across three floors and 18,000 sqm. 

The base isolated and sustainable 5-Green Star centre is due to be completed in 2023. 

Town Hall 

Nearby, strengthening works on Te Whare Whakarauiki, Wellington Town Hall, have also resumed under Alert Level 3 hygiene measures.   

“We are pleased to be back and continuing the works for the Town Hall,” says Wellington City Council Project Manager Anthony Pattison.  

Exterior of Wellington Town Hall showing strengthening work on the foundations.

Naylor Love Construction plan each step of the project to allow works to start in a managed way.  

Construction will start in specific areas and build up to allow COVID protocols to be complied with.  

“Each step is carefully planned and carried out in sequence, meaning our teams can work across the different parts of the building safely, while making the most of the Level 3 access,” says Nigel Burns from Naylor Love.  

“More than 48 of the 165 base isolators weighing 600 kilograms each are now in place. These will enable the building to move between 150- and 300-millimetres during earthquakes.  

Exterior of the Wellington Town Hall, as seen from Civic Square.

“Around 330 steel piles have been driven into reclaimed land, with some of them going as deep at 18 metres to reach solid ground.

"Our teams are working carefully to support the existing building while we install new foundations under it.

“Much of the strengthening works will be unseen when we reopen in late 2023 or early 2024, as we’re protecting the heritage and acoustics features that Wellington’s Town Hall is known for,” said Nigel. 

Foundation works under the stairs at the Wellington Town Hall.

Omāroro Reservoir  

On Wednesday, workers also returned to the site of the Omāroro reservoir above the playing fields at Prince of Wales Park.  

The project involves constructing a-35 million litre buried concrete reservoir, connecting it to the existing water supply with a supporting new pipeline corridor along Wallace Street, and renewing of local water supplies, stormwater pipes and wastewater pipes in the area. 

Work started gradually at 7.30am to allow those on site to understand the new work protocols, and ensure that correct measures were in place to follow Level 3 guidelines. 

Over the next week the project is preparing the site for the next big pour for the second half of the reservoir floor which should happen on 14 September, weather permitting. Local residents have been notified. 

Omāroro is a joint project led by Wellington Water, which manages the city’s drinking water, stormwater and wastewater; working with Wellington City Council and the Greater Wellington Regional Council.