Good value at just over $8million, says architect

By Alan Tristram

The Kāpiti Coast District Council is getting exceptional value for money with its improved civic building says Neil Kemp, one of the architects who designed it.

Mr Kemp says the building is fit for purpose, fully accessible, earthquake safe and reflects 21st century architecture.  He says there is no comparison with the archaic and grossly inefficient building Council started with.

“The original building was never designed for civic purposes and the Council has ‘made do’ for decades with a place that didn’t fully meet its needs. A council building needs to be able to host community events and provide space where the public can meet the Mayor, councillors and staff. It also needs to provide people working in it with an environment that’s conducive to productivity.

Old building deficient

The old building did none of these things. In terms of structure, it was also deficient in many ways and didn’t comply with current NZ Building Code requirements.”

“The upgraded building is extremely efficient – it has no bells and whistles, but will service the Council and Kāpiti residents really well. Council should be congratulated on the way it’s managed the project and how it’s spent its budget. This is a very economic solution, costing quite a bit less than upgrades of other local authority buildings around the country.”

Kāpiti Coast District Council will spend $8.2 million on the building upgrade with another $1 million on associated town centre projects, such as improving the intersection of Rimu Rd and Iver Trask Place.

Hutt spending three times as much

Hutt City Council will be spending almost three times this, $24 million, on a project to strengthen and modernise its civic administration and town hall complex; the estimate quote for earthquake-proofing Porirua’s civic centre is about $10 million; and Waitakere City Council spent $39 million on its new civic centre which was completed in 2006.

“We’re the largest organisation in Kāpiti by far and, at the very least, we have to provide our employees with a building that’s safe,” Mayor Jenny Rowan says. “The old building was not safe and certainly wouldn’t have stood up in a big earthquake. Just look at the number of lives lost in the Christchurch quake due to unsafe buildings, as well as the cost of repairing or replacing those that were damaged.”

Other deficiencies in Kāpiti’s old civic building included a first floor Council Chamber but no lift, flooding issues, insufficient toilets by today’s Building Code standards, poor facilities, no disabled access and aged air-conditioning systems in immediate attention of HVAC specialists from a reputable service like

Mayor Rowan’s view

“The improved building has addressed all these issues and will meet our needs for years to come,” Mayor Rowan says. “Having the Council chamber on the ground floor means it will be accessible to everyone.

The building will also complement our award-winning library and will act as an appropriate gateway to what will become Paraparaumu’s new town centre. This is a great outcome and an economical one at that.”

The building is now water-tight. External cladding is being installed and a number of tasks need to be completed on the interior. The building also has energy efficient heating system similar to the heating system to warm your home. This includes carpeting, painting and installing furniture, equipment and internal signage. It will be ready to be occupied in early March 2013.


The lesser question ‘Is the council building value for money?’

Answer ‘On the face of it ….perhaps’

The greater question ‘Are the council and its employees value for money?’

Answer ‘Demonstrably no!’