UCOL (Universal College of Learning)

Completion Date

April 2008


NZ Commercial Project Awards 2008 – Gold Award, Education category

An array of cultural, geological, heritage & archaeological issues successfully overcome.

The UCOL Whanganui Campus development was the second project undertaken by Lockwood Naylor Ltd, a joint venture company between McMillan & Lockwood and Naylor Love, in association with our Wellington division. Naylor Love provided the senior project management and extensive contractor input to the design process, with work starting on site in November 2006 with just the foundation drawings complete.

The project was the redevelopment of a city block in central Whanganui, including a new teaching block, refurbishment of existing buildings, and the structural strengthening and upgrade of a four-storey building built in the 1920’s.

The new three-storey teaching block included a maze of rooms, atriums, corridors, suspended bridges and open courtyards, using a number of materials – the exterior alone had precast panels, zinc cladding, bricks, corrugated iron, curtain walling, and aluminium perforated sheeting.

The historic Backhouse building, now known as the Henry D Bennett Centre, was fitted with a new central concrete core. The exterior also needed specialist concrete repairs, while the interior timber panelling was painstakingly removed, restored and replaced.

This was a particularly challenging project completed in a tight programme, demanding total focus to minimise the impact on the community and the college. There were sensitivities with local Iwi, and an array of geological, heritage and archaeological issues, all of which were successfully overcome by our collaborative approach with the stakeholders.


Categories: Education, Heritage, Pre-Construction, Seismic, Wellington