Kumutoto Site 9

Project Summary

Client: Willis Bond

Project Type: Commercial Office And Retail

Project Timeframe: 2019-2022

Architects: Athfield Architects


Project Description

Site 9 sits on the Wellington waterfront wedged between key civil infrastructure and a busy arterial road. Challenging height restrictions required a unique and complex design.

The development abuts two view shafts. Site 9 had to respect the adjacent heritage buildings while taking care not to impact views from neighbouring buildings. It is low-rise and base-isolated for superior seismic resilience, and features a unique out-of-ground seismic plane located underside of Level 1. 

This avoided construction of a basement or secondary foundation layer below the water table. It significantly reduced the construction cost and saved time on the build program. The building is well in excess of 100% NBS.

The site’s height restrictions had meant that a three-storey building was the most likely option.

However, with careful coordination, the project team delivered a four-storey building. There was just 50mm between ceiling and structural beams, so every pipe, cable and duct penetration had to be carefully planned to ensure services’ runs were achieved and costly alterations to steelwork avoided.

Significant civil infrastructure, including a stormwater culvert and major sewerage pump chamber, is at each end of the site and its foundations are directly adjacent. The team had to work carefully to mitigate the risk of damage.

Running from late 2019 to 2022, the project faced constant H&S challenges from Covid. Strict policies were implemented to avoid losing staff to covid isolation. The site management team was split into two with separate onsite office spaces and communicated via Zoom, so if one team was infected the other could continue managing the site.

Remote working was encouraged for suitable staff, onsite workers were organised into various bubbles or workgroups, lunch breaks were rostered and staggered, and the site was extensively cleaned every two hours. As a result, apart from government-required lockdowns, the site remained operational throughout the pandemic.

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