Wellington City Council (WCC) is the second largest landlord in New Zealand, catering to a demographic that is vulnerable or on low incomes. The upgrade of the Kotuku Apartments is an excellent example of the council's social housing program and Maycroft is proud to partner with the WCC on this and many other projects.
The Kotuku Apartments were renovated as part of the Housing Upgrade Project (HUP) to better meet the current and future needs of the community. Built in the 1960s, the four-building complex previously consisted of bedsits; these were transformed into 33 studio, 30 one-bedroom, five two-bedroom, and five four-bedroom apartments. The mix in unit sizes and types gives the complex a better community environment.
The community atmosphere has been further encouraged by new centralised gardens, a vegetable garden and fruit trees. The ground-floor apartments have access to the lawn and grounds. In addition, the exterior landscape aims to reduce the public traffic flow through the site, to make it safer and more private for the tenants.
This is Maycroft’s fifth HUP project, having previously completed the Enabling Project for Regent Park Flats, the Demolition and New Build Projects for Marshall Court Flats and the Hanson Court Upgrade Project. Our role included a reconfiguration of the existing internal floor plans, external facade building works, new site services and landscaping, construction of a communal laundry, and earthquake strengthening
Two main challenges arose during the build, namely asbestos and the replacement of the main windows.
Before the project began, detailed asbestos reports were issued and we were reasonably confident on where asbestos would be found. Early on in the demolition phase, however, it became apparent that the extent of materials containing asbestos was far greater than previously understood. Extensive testing and specialist removal was introduced into the programme of works. Although an elongated programme was inevitable, this was mitigated by the asbestos removal company working extended hours.
During the course of the build, it became apparent that the existing windows were not up to standard, due to age-related deterioration. The decision was made to replace all of the windows with new double-glazed units; to mitigate any further risks, two prototype windows were installed and extensively weather-tested to give the client confidence that these new windows met the highest performance and durability standards. The new windows function exceedingly well and complement the new façade to the extent that the building is barely indistinguishable from a new-build.
The Kotuku Apartments now offers its residents warm, safe accommodation in a format best-suited to their needs. Maycroft was pleased to continue our contribution to the HUP project, partnering with Wellington City Council once again.