A contract to upgrade Dunedin's historic courthouse is likely
to be awarded at the end of the month.
The Ministry of Justice was ''close'' to making an
announcement about the successful contractor, a spokesman
Because the tender process was ongoing, the ministry would
not answer questions about how many tenders it received and
from which companies.
It announced last May it would spend millions upgrading the
category 1 heritage building, built in 1902, after an
engineer's assessment found it to be unstable in December
Since then the main part of the courthouse has been closed,
and the ministry has spent about $3 million turning a High St
building into a temporary courthouse.
It is facilitating jury trials and more court cases will be
transferred there when the earthquake strengthening work on
the Stuart St courthouse starts.
The ministry expected the work to take about two years.
During that time the former CIB building in Dunbar St,
housing coronial services, will also be closed and operations
transferred to John Wickliffe House.
The ministry has not confirmed how much the project will
cost, but estimates based on previous engineering reports
suggest an upgrade in line with new Building Act requirements
would cost between $3 million and $10 million.
In 2001, the ministry spent about $10 million refurbishing
the stone courthouse, when part of the building to the south
was demolished and a three-storey annexe built.
Earthquake-strengthening during the upgrade was limited to
non-invasive securing works, which brought everything but the
Stuart St tower up to minimum standards of the time.
The tower was strengthened in 1993, but the work did not
extend to the ground floor, which meant it was not up to
When engineers assessed the courthouse in 2011 they found the
tower was likely to topple in a moderate earthquake, and
outside parapets and ornaments were also unstable.
If the tower collapsed, it would likely damage the main
entrance foyer, reception, public toilets, courtrooms 1 and
2, the judges' lounge, chambers and law library.
At the time, it was estimated the minimum required
strengthening work could be done for $650,000, and the entire
courthouse could be upgraded beyond the minimum standard for
$3.5 million - an option engineers recommended.
Opus estimated the cost of upgrading the courthouse to
importance level 3 under the Act (as recommended) was about
$10,000 per sq m of gross floor area, excluding GST.