Building codes and the client’s needs have moved on since we completed the Commerce Building at the University of Otago in 1993. We were pleased to be invited back to redevelop the building on an ECI (Early Contractor Involvement) basis, which involved our team collaborating on programming, staging, planning and buildability from the design stage.
This approach reduced the initial three-year programme to just over a year, and ensured the building could stay open throughout the project with minimal disturbance to building users.
The project involved reconfiguring the three lower floors to be more welcoming, useable and easier to navigate. We added new stairways, entrances, windows, a café, offices, meeting rooms, teaching spaces, a computer lab and lounges – a total of 6,072m2 reshaped and refurbished along the lines of a Modern Learning Environment.
Some of the less successful aspects of the original design were also addressed, including a new weatherproof atrium roof and the installation of state-of-the art heating and ventilation systems.
Seismic strengthening increased the building to more than 67% NBS (IL3). Fire safety was improved with not only the new stairways, but with five innovative fire refuges.
The warmer, drier, safer and far more welcoming and inviting building, with its open plan social and learning spaces, has proven to be enormously popular with students and staff alike.
“…the OBS staff appreciate the considerate way Naylor Love’s team and the many others working on the contract have responded quickly when there have been issues and also communicated superbly, so that we have always known what to be prepared for. The finished product is a testament to the huge effort that has gone into making a renovation in a working building as painless as possible.”
Otago Business School staff
Client: University of Otago
Completed: December 2017
Awards: Property Council New Zealand Rider Levett Bucknall Property Industry Awards 2018 – Excellence, GIB Education Property Award