“Clients are themselves becoming ever more mindful of the environment and the need for sustainability.”
Newly completed in central Christchurch, a $5.6 million office, administration and classroom building at Catholic Cathedral College sets a new benchmark in its use of sustainable and resilient materials and technologies.
Award winning commercial construction company Hanham & Philp Contractors was engaged from the start of the project under an Early Contractor Involvement (ECI) agreement and played a pivotal role in both procurement of materials and quantity surveying right from the design stage.
The college community’s commitment to the environment and sustainability guided the selection of Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) to form the structural framework of the three-storey building, with specialised seismic base connections anchoring the building.
Such extensive use of ‘floor to ceiling’ CLT is still rare in New Zealand, with this building really showing the way forward for sustainable construction. “It has been an exciting first for our team,” says Hanham & Philp Director John Parish. “Clients are themselves becoming ever more mindful of the environment and the need for sustainability.”
CLT is made from renewable pine and offers an alternative to traditional concrete and steel with added environmental benefits.”
As well as procuring materials, Hanham & Philp determined a fixed price for constructing the building, based on the drawings, before starting a value engineering process to ensure the project would come in on budget.
“There was a lot of coordination with the design team at WSP; we worked closely with them on finding cost effective solutions that would still allow key design requirements to be met.”
Working in this way, paying close attention to detail at the front end, paved the way to a smooth construction phase with no unwelcome surprises.
Hanham & Philp was the main contractor on site, off Ferry Rd, with construction getting underway last September 2019.
Upholding rigorous health and safety practices was a core priority. The team liaised regularly with school staff and fenced off the worksite, with regular safety audits also working to minimise potential risks.
“We had a lot of heavy machinery going in and out of the same entrance used by college staff and students, plus passing foot traffic, so we spent a lot of time and resource on ensuring that everyone would be safe. We also timed some work to take place over school holiday periods and weekends.”
Completed in late October 2020, the building’s layout includes a new administration area, reception, offices and staffroom on the ground floor, with the first and second floors each having four teaching spaces and offices.
Special acoustic linings and acoustically rated ceiling fittings have delivered a very quiet building for both staff and students.
Classroom spaces are configurable, with each one able to be expanded into a double-classroom space if needed. Other special features include full height windows, a heat recovery mechanical ventilation system, and low energy lighting.
“This is a unique and forward thinking building.”