News | 19 February 2019
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Councillors to consider additional funds for Wellington Town Hall strengthening

The Chief Executive of Wellington City Council Kevin Lavery will be asking Councillors to approve additional funding for the strengthening of Wellington Town Hall when they meet on 27 February.

View of Wellington Town Hall from Civic Square.

This revised costing and recommendation comes after Kevin Lavery requested more detailed testing and investigations which has taken place over the last 18 months.

Estimated costs for the project have increased to $112 million, plus contingency, mainly because of the complexity of the project and the busy construction market.

Kevin Lavery said: "We are excited to press the go button for the Town Hall. Once complete, the Town Hall will be a world-class musical venue with improved rehearsal and performance space. It will be a base for civic and community events and will be part of a centre of musical excellence for New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and Victoria University of Wellington’s New Zealand School of Music Te Kōkī.

“This has always been a challenging project. We will be retro-fitting base isolators and new foundations to a 114 year old building sitting on reclaimed land with 60 metres to the bedrock. Much of the work will be below the water table. This was never a project for the faint-hearted.

“After a competitive process involving five construction companies, Naylor Love has been selected as the preferred tenderer. The tender price combined with other direct costs is $112.4m and the project will take four years. There is no question that this is one of the most complex re-strengthening, restoration and refurbishment projects undertaken in recent times in New Zealand. Aspects of the tender price could increase due to construction unknowns, so Council will be asked to approve a contingency to cover these risks," he says.

PwC were asked to undertake an independent review of the Town Hall procurement project.

Richard Chung, a partner, PwC said: "The Council's procurement process has been thorough and robust. Council have assembled an experienced in-house team and have used a range of seasoned external experts. The price reflects the complexity of a major heritage project, the underground works, the four year timescale and the capacity constraints in today's construction market. We have suggested some areas where risk and contingency management can be sharpened as the project moves forward."

Under earthquake legislation, the Town Hall has to be either demolished or in the process of being strengthened by the end of 2019. Demolishing the Town Hall is not an option because of its heritage status.