History in the Making

20-12-17

History in the Making

Balancing the lodge next door with what lies beneath

 

Creating a new multi-storey building in a restricted area always brings exciting challenges, and Arrow’s $28 million, 18-level apartment project on Airedale Street, in the heart of Auckland’s CBD, proves the rule. The building site is next door to the historic Ara Lodge (Lodge No 348, Irish Constitution), the first lodge in New Zealand to be granted dispensation to practice freemasonry. The lodge, purpose-built for its practitioners, was completed in 1928, from a design by Malcolm Draffin, whose architectural firm Grierson, Aimer and Draffin won the design competition for the Auckland War Memorial Museum that opened the following year.

Sizeable new construction next to a nearly century-old building can be destabilising in more ways than one, and Arrow’s remit includes seismic strengthening of Ara Lodge, whose earlier remedial work was found to be incomplete. First, during the initial construction phase, project director Glenn Carter and his team added a new concrete ring beam to tie two together of the main supporting columns, then added metal collars to each column to brace them together. This work allowed the temporary retaining and main building piles to be completed to the side of the Ara Lodge building.

Another hiccup to test the team’s adroitness was the detection of asbestos, lead and zinc in the site’s soil, whereupon Arrow had to obtain a short-term discharge notification from Auckland Council to remove 17,000m³ of contaminated soil and send it to a specialised landfill site.

When asked what’s unusual about the project, which is due for completion in April 2019, Glenn says, “Nothing, really. It’s a typical Arrow job! It’s never nice and simple but that’s why we love building. We like to take on the jobs that others say are too difficult and can’t be done.

“Aside from the seismic and soil issues there is a major logistical hurdle in that the only road we can use for access is a tiny side street, which can’t accommodate a lot of heavy machinery or loads. As a result, during the initial build the panels will be split down and a crawler crane will be used to erect the first three floors. For the upper floors we will be erecting a static crane.

“The sloping site means all foundations are staggered, with retaining piles put in place to support them, and good planning is needed to ensure we don’t box ourselves in.”

It’s nothing new for Glenn, who rejoined Arrow recently after 17 months in Perth. In his first stint with Arrow, as the senior project manager of the Queenstown operations, he led the $45 million Remarkables ski field upgrade works, which redeveloped the existing ski field and constructed a new base.

External commentators — including competitors — said the full works couldn’t be done in less than 12 months. Glenn’s team did it in nine — even allowing for 41 days of downed tools due to inclement weather.

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