Construction will soon get underway at Taranaki Regional Council to replace an earthquake-prone building and carry out long-overdue upgrades.
The Council buildings on Cloten Road, Stratford have a long history and in the 1900s were the site of the Stratford Co-Operative Dairy Factory.
Inspections in recent years revealed the office block west of the main administration building does not meet earthquake standards. Asbestos and toxic mould were also found to be present in that building.
A review identified that refurbishment of that office block was too costly and concluded the best option was to demolish and replace it.
An accommodation upgrade project had been consulted upon in the preparation and adoption of the Council’s 2021/2031 Long-Term Plan, with the Council subsequently approving a budget of $10.4 million.
The budget covers the cost of demolition and rebuilding the earthquake-prone building, temporary office space for the duration of the build, as well as required heating, ventilation, air conditioning (HVAC) and electrical upgrades for the main administration building.
Ready for the project to get underway, Director - Corporate Services Mike Nield says the new building is long overdue.
“There is a lot of history about this place, but it’s well past its use-by date. Due to asbestos, moisture issues and earthquake concerns, upgrading was the only cost-effective option. ”
The upgrade and flexibility of the new building will benefit current and future staff and our community, he says.
“There’s no question that this work has to be done so our focus is on doing it in the most cost-effective way to meet the needs of our staff, Council and region.”
Mr Nield says the Council's vision for the new building is for it to be functional, fit for purpose and sustainable.
“We are prioritising the use of sustainable materials and aim to have a flexible design that meets current and future needs. We want to improve workflow between departments, which are currently situated in four separate buildings onsite.”
The Council will work with contractors to salvage and repurpose as much material as possible from the demolition.
Contractors will be on site from next week, with the main demolition scheduled for January and February. Construction will begin in 2024 and is expected to take approximately 18-24 months.