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Student accommodation gets major upgrade

Student accommodation gets major upgrade
The Logic Group and their selected contractors had only three months to complete the major upgrade project.

Adhering to a demanding three month, critical contract deadline, Dunedin-based project management specialists, The Logic Group, are nearing completion of a major upgrade project to the University of Otago’s Hayward College.

Home-away-from-home for over 170 first-year students, the residential college has undergone seismic strengthening, improved fire safety and complete internal refurbishment just in time for the start of the academic year.

Built in 1959 as Queen Mary Maternity Ward, the five-storey building was taken over by the university in 1991 and converted to student accommodation with 162 bedrooms.

An assessment undertaken by the university of all its buildings to ensure they met at least 67% of the New Building Standard (NBS) for seismic strength found that Hayward College fell below that level.

Requiring extensive and invasive work to complete seismic strengthening, along with installing a new sprinkler system, the university took the opportunity to make significant improvements to the building, bringing it up to 21st century student accommodation standards.

Removing all non-structural internal walls, project scope included increasing accommodation from 162 to 176 bedrooms along with enhancing disability accessibility beyond code requirements, increasing the number of toilets and showers, increasing the dining area by 50% and building on student collegiality by increasing the common area.

Environmental improvements include changing to LED lighting, insulating exterior walls and providing some internal thermal comfort and noise reduction.

While most bedrooms are comprised of an 11sqm space, 25% are a very generous 13sqm. Every bedroom has its own router guaranteeing the all-important internet connectivity.

Engaged to manage the $11m project from the very early stages, The Logic Group’s role changed to lead contractor assuming all the same terms and conditions, strict deadlines and liquidated damages that apply to a contractor, given the complexity of the project.

Sam Cadden, project manager for The Logic Group explains; “We were so intimately involved in the design, we knew the building exceptionally well and given the project’s contract value the risk profile was too high for other contractors in Dunedin. So in conjunction with the University we decided to treat it as a construction management project. We broke the work down into packages and called for tenders.”

With the academic year ending the 15th of November and resuming the 15th of February, The Logic Group and their selected subcontractors had three months to complete the project.

Sam says that on the 15th of November they were assisting students to move out of their accommodation, commencing work immediately afterwards.

“Before construction started, we took out 500tonne of demolition waste and 20tonne of reclaimable timber. The first four weeks we had fourwheel machines on the floor demolishing walls and pushing the material out the front of the building. We also loaded back in 15000sqm of gib board.”

Working from 6.00am to 10.00pm, on average 120 – 140 tradesmen are on site every day bringing the project home.

“We’re absolutely 100% on track; on programme. We will have a certificate of public use a week before the 15th of February but the finishing touches will go right to the wire. The students will be back on the 15th of February and it’s inconceivable that the project will not be completed by that date.”

Sam stresses the point that while The Logic Group has been the main contractor enabling everyone to do their jobs, without the trades the work doesn’t happen.

Student accommodation gets major upgrade

“I’m not the one that’s lugging gib or pulling timber about. The tradesmen are the ones who are actually delivering this project.”

Providing an enjoyable working environment has been a key focus for Sam who arranged for the University kitchen to remain open throughout the project providing hearty meals at subsidised prices. An army marches on its stomach, it has been said.

The Logic Group has offices in Dunedin and Christchurch, providing project management, quantity surveying and facilities management expertise the depth and breadth of New Zealand including the Chatham Islands.

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