Raising the standard of student flats

Raising the standard of student flats
The two-storey accommodation block has front and rear units, built on a challenging, compact site.

Dunedin business H & D Builders is benefitting from a local construction boom expected to last several years.
The business was established in 2010 by Hamish Pierre on the back of his motivation to “get ahead” and to chisel out his own career path in the trade.
“It was a bit of a learning curve, but we had enough work to keep us going, but it took about a year to get established and get more regular clients. Ever since then I’ve had a steady fl ow of work coming in.”
Hamish now employs three trade staff, including an apprentice which he sees as a way of giving back to the industry, as well as training someone to fit with his company’s culture.
H & D Builders is focused on residential work such as renovations and new builds.
There is currently no shortage of work available and Hamish anticipates it will become even busier.
“The last four or five years has been really, really busy. During the past two years it has stepped up again; there’s a lot of subdivisions in Mosgiel opening up, and there’s been a big influx of people.”
The start of construction of the first stage of Dunedin’s new hospital next year will put even more pressure on the local labour force, drawing trades-men away from residential construction, he says.
Additionally, the University of Otago is a large user of trades in the city.
While the state of Dunedin’s student accomodation has sometimes drawn national media attention, H & D Builders has been playing its part in raising the standard through an existing landlord client.
H & D Builders recently completed a project for the client, two storey accommodation split for two tenants into front and rear units, on a challenging, compact site on part of State Highway 1 in Dunedin.
Its location and traffic noise were key factors in its design.
“Because it’s on the State Highway we had an acoustics report undertaken. There is only allowed to be a specific noise level inside the building.”
This meant interior linings had to be 13mm instead of the usual 10mm in both the walls and ceiling.
“We weren’t able to have any opening windows either in certain rooms because of the noise. Even the aluminium joinery had to accommodate a certain thickness of glass panel.”
Hamish says the lack of opening windows necessitated the installation of a ventilation system which incorporates both heating and cooling to maintain an even temperature, regardless of the outside temperature.
Because the original house on the site was built about 1870, an archaeological inspection was required before construction could start.
The building was designed by award-winning Dunedin practice Stevenson Design.
As well as being separated by an intertenancy wall, the rear unit has a 400mm step in its roof line in order to meet height regulations.
The nature of the site meant there was no storage space for materials and joinery outside the building’s footprint which meant coordinating their timely supply was crucial.
“It’s been fairly tight, but the staff I have and all the subcontractors and suppliers, everyone’s worked well together.”
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