Dunedin firm wins courthouse contract

Amalgamated Builders managing director Richard Johnston and Justice Minister Amy Adams outside...
Amalgamated Builders managing director Richard Johnston and Justice Minister Amy Adams outside the Dunedin courthouse yesterday, after the minister announced the Dunedin company had won the contract to upgrade the building. Photo: Gerard O'Brien.
The $20 million restoration and upgrade of Dunedin’s historic courthouse will be carried out by a Dunedin construction company.

Yesterday, Justice Minister Amy Adams announced Amalgamated Builders, the company that worked on the construction of the temporary court facilities on High St and John Wickliffe House, had won the courthouse contract.

The company had completed similar projects, including  restoring Dunedin’s Town Hall, St Patrick’s Basilica in South Dunedin and the Regent Theatre, in the past 10 years.

Ms Adams said the project, which will involve seismic strengthening to between 60% and 70% of the new building standard, was "not simple", but the selected contractor had appropriate experience.

About 10 other local and national contractors registered  interest in the project in May.

The city’s court services have operated from a temporary facility in High St since 2011, when engineers discovered parts of the Lower Stuart St building fell short of the minimum 34% rating required under the historic new building standard.

Amalgamated Builders managing director Richard Johnston said the project would involve about 38 full-time staff and close to 50 sub-contractors and suppliers.

"Not many [people] will come from out of the city."

"Some of the national contracts that are with the ministry will still have locals actually doing the work, so there will be a very small amount of work done by outsiders."

The project would involve "lots of unusual trades" including the restoration of lead-light windows, which would take about a year in themselves to complete, he said.

"It is quite a tight time frame for all this work, so that is probably the biggest challenge, managing lots of things to happen.

"There is roof work, there is basement work, there is tower work, asbestos ..."

The courthouse was a "critical piece of the historical fabric" of New Zealand, Ms Adams said.

"It’s great to see a local contractor taking on this work, which will generate jobs in the community and benefit the local economy."

Work on the building would start early next month, and was expected to be finished in December 2017.

Court services would continue to operate at the High St and John Wickliffe House locations until the historic courthouse reopened, she said.

Ministry of Justice commercial and property general manager Fraser Gibbs said if a building like the courthouse was above 33% on the new building standard level, it was not deemed to be earthquake prone.

"At double the necessary new building standard level, the 60% to 70% option provides a seismically  safe, sound and renovated courthouse, with improved resilience in the case of a seismic event."




• Early October: Amalgamated Builders to start upgrade and refurbishment.

• December 2017: work expected to be completed.

• Early 2018: court services return to building.


And about time. The DCC awarding contracts to Chch companies and other public contracts going out of Dunedin is a disgrace.



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