ORC headquarters

ORC is listening to the public, why not DCC with its stadium…

### ODT Online Fri, 26 Jun 2009
Editorial: ORC headquarters
Credit needs to be given to the Otago Regional Council for responding to public dismay about the spending of $31 million on new waterfront headquarters. The large amount of money for a building for 105 staff would have been hard to sell in the best of times.
Read more


ODT says: While ratepayers do not expect the regional council, particularly because of its resource responsibilities, to be environmentally irresponsible, no other project of any substantial size in Dunedin has had to meet those [five-star green ratings] demands.

Don’t get me started on why we should be voluntarily [thanks Phil] aiming for 5 stars with every large or small building!!!!!!!!

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Design, Economics, Geography, Media, Politics, Project management, Site

41 responses to “ORC headquarters

  1. max_powers

    The DCC is listening to ratepayers. The silent majority want the stadium and the minority don’t.

  2. Alex

    I heard yesterday that there was surprise amongst engineers when they dropped some piles down on the site, they disappeared completely into the ground (sediment?).
    And, that the cost has gone up, $35 million has ‘appeared’ on the cost, beyond what was calculated for interest and inflation.
    Sorry I can’t back this up with facts guys …

  3. Peter

    Then why even bother posting it? I heard yesterday that little green men landed in Mosgiel and were upset to find McDonalds hasn’t opened yet. I can’t back that up with facts either.

  4. Phil

    I’m going to have a good grizzle about ESD and Green Star Ratings. The problem we have in the NZ construction industry today is that ESD and green star ratings are, as someone mentioned earlier, voluntary. Why the hell are they voluntary?? Weathertightness isn’t. Structural stability isn’t. Central government really needs to shift out of the glory of the 1950s and make this MANDATORY. No excuses, no sidestepping.

    I was really disappointed to read the telltale line in one of those peer review reports that ESD components should be considered “if financially viable”. What an Out Clause. And what a cop out. The exact same clause was written into the Wall Street report. So what is the first thing that gets dropped to fit into the budget ? That’s right. This should never be an option. To construct a building of such significance to last into the next century, you need to look beyond what is acceptable today. In fact, I’d say it’s not even acceptable today. The shortsightedness and ignorance displayed in ranking finances over duty of care is simply staggering.

    I think that it was mentioned earlier that the stadium is expected to have 400,000 people pass through it during a 12 month period. I would take a guess and say that would make the stadium the most heavily populated single building in the entire region outside of the hospital. The impact that this one building will have on the environment is not minor. And yet allowance will be made only “if financially viable”. How about dropping a few corporate boxes and reinstating the deleted solar panels. It’s going to cost twice as much to retrofit in 10 years time when the environment no longer allows such things to be voluntary.

  5. Elizabeth

    Yikes. Sorted that little word “voluntarily” in my post.

  6. Phil

    No, you are quite correct, Elizabeth. It’s the fact that it is only a voluntary system, and not the way it was reported. That’s where I have a problem. My apologies there.

  7. David

    Max says “The DCC is listening to ratepayers. The silent majority want the stadium and the minority don’t.”

    There is nothing to back this up – it is at best a hopeful guess.

    However there are surveys to show the opposite.

    Even the DCC’s own website shows their survey results – much skewed against females as three quarters of all surveys went to males – only a quarter to females.

    Even then, it showed that only 40% of respondents wanted ratepayer involvement in the stadium, and 57% did not.

    The supporters, dropped further to 37% if the ratepayer funding is as high as $90m.

    Of course we now know this is to be loaned, so there will be interest, and there’s been blowouts so the ratepayer proportion is now over $200m.

    I wonder how many of those 37% now want to pay over double?

    I would bet that it’s not the mythical “silent majority”.

  8. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Wed, 1 Jul 2009
    Landmark ORC office option

    The former chief post office building has emerged as a serious option for the Otago Regional Council’s headquarters.
    Read more

    Note: The old post office provides 1.46ha of space, where ORC needs around 4000 sq m.

  9. LG

    Jaded that I didn’t win Big Wednesday. The Post Office would have been mine.

    Also, just a thought on the Hunter Centre and the green rating system. I’ve heard that it doesn’t have many toilets, but a surprising number of showers. It’s not entirely clear who is going to have a shower there. However, I’ve also heard that the showers feature an excellent heat recovery system, where the warm water going down the drain pre-heats the water going into the shower. I’d be keen to have such a system at home. Unfortunately, it seems to show a bit of a flaw in the green rating, as there is nothing very green about wasting space to add things which aren’t used.

  10. Elizabeth

    Perhaps the new Psychology building will do better.

  11. “Jaded that I didn’t win Big Wednesday. The Post Office would have been mine.”

    What a classic, it was going to be mine too…

    The old Post Office doesn’t meet any of the requirements set out in the original brief of the ORC I’m not sure why they are considering it now – unless there is a good mortgagee sale going on.

    Mosgiel would have been the business? It’s Otago Regional Council, it would have been a symbolic move. Besides bring back the commuter train…

    Sounds like we need a blog all about this and other topics – we have! Keep an eye out for http://duned.in it’s on it’s way baby!

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 28 May 2011
      No ORC building plans
      By Rebecca Fox
      Otago Regional Council staff are still struggling with cramped and inefficient office facilities two years on from councillors’ decision to “park” its multimillion-dollar waterfront proposal.

      Chairman Stephen Woodhead said there was $150,000 in the 2011-12 draft annual plan for discussions on the building issues but that had yet to be approved by the council. Whatever the outcome, it would still be two or three years before a solution was found.

      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Tue, 13 Sep 2011
        4 options for ORC offices
        By Rebecca Fox
        A removable council chamber or a new multistoreyed attachment are among options costing between $400,000 and $1.2 million being considered to ease space constraints in the Otago Regional Council’s Dunedin headquarters. A plan to deal with the overcrowded Stafford St offices by building a new multimillion-dollar waterfront headquarters was abandoned by the council two years ago in favour of looking at other options.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Thu, 15 Sep 2011
          Decision on ORC space issue delayed
          By Rebecca Fox
          While readily admitting it was “crunch time” for overcrowding at the Otago Regional Council’s headquarters, councillors yesterday delayed a decision about it for another six weeks. The decision was deferred because councillors believed they could not decide about easing overcrowding in the short term until they had a long-term plan for handling the problem.
          Read more

  12. Elizabeth

    Does this mean Naylor Love doesn’t want the job?

    ### ODT Online Thu, 27 Oct 2011
    More debate on ORC building project
    By Rebecca Fox
    Ill-feeling over the future of Otago Regional Council’s headquarters recurred yesterday as councillors debated the next step in dealing with the issue. Cr Doug Brown, who led the challenge against the proposed multimillion-dollar waterfront office block two years ago and succeeded in getting it dropped, has again protested – this time against the make-up of a small project control group to be appointed to get the accommodation project moving again.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 4 Feb 2012
      ORC to hold talks in private
      By Rebecca Fox
      The Otago Regional Council will meet in private on Wednesday to discuss a confidential report on plans and likely costs to overcome overcrowding in its Stafford St office block. It will also consider putting off consulting the public on the financial implications of any option it chooses until next year and instead build a new council chamber and meeting rooms in its lower car park.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### ODT Online Tue, 13 Mar 2012
        ‘Grumpy’ incidents spark ORC security review
        By Rebecca Fox
        “Grumpy” customers setting upon receptionists has led the Otago Regional Council to review its security and plan a $300,000 overhaul of its reception area including installing CCTV. It is another cost the council is facing for its overcrowded Stafford St office block after its inability to come to a decision on a new headquarters.
        Read more

  13. “He was concerned those on the group would “filter” the information that came back to the full council…….”

    Something like that wouldn’t happen would it? No, surely not.

  14. Anonymous

    I was just wondering what the slippery devils were up to at the ORC. They’ve been awful quiet while the DCC has come under fire. No surprises the ORC wants to do things in private and minimise involvement with the public. No surprise at all. Not a lot of change has happened there at the top. They really wanted a new office and although practical in some parts of the institution, was really a smoke screen for Harland’s visions.

    The other thing that has gone quiet there is its interest in gold down Central way. It seemed to be spending significant money on “research”. At least one executive manager appeared to have a case of gold-fever based on his responses in local media. This was about the time they ignored broad public disapproval when they spent public funds on their damned stadium too.

  15. I can fix that wee issue they have. Do they need so many staff? NO. Ergo no new building needed…

  16. “Initial estimates of the cost of the work was $300,000”

    So that means well over 400K. So employ a security guard/firm. I’m sure over 4 maybe 5 years they could come in under that.

  17. Elizabeth

    Submitted on 2012/08/09 at 6:41 pm

    And dammit. It won’t be “$926,000”. It will be $1.23M. $1.5M. $1.78M. $2.5M. Maybe it will stop at $3M. Maybe not. There will be plenty of endless bureaucratic excuses for over-runs. Then ask yourself: Which mate or cousin is being rewarded this contract?


    Submitted on 2012/08/09 at 6:12 pm

    Where’s the ORC post? I would like to hurl a whole heap of profanities at those douschebag councillors. Terms like scuzbuckets, slimebags, filthy bastards, and Stadium Councillors (by far the worse insult in this city) come immediately to mind. The only difference between them and someone stealing from the public purse is they warm their very expensive seats with old stink inventing shite votes to make it legal.

    “One million dollars is not insignificant” so one of them spouts. Well bull-shit it isn’t! That’s another MILLION DOLLARS wasted by a useless bureaucracy full of useless stadium fools with their hands deep into other peoples’ money.


    ### ODT Online Thu, 9 Aug 2012
    $926,000 for ORC interim chamber
    By Rebecca Fox
    The Otago Regional Council yesterday decided to spend nearly $1 million building a temporary council chamber in its Stafford St car park, one councillor describing the project as a “no-brainer”. All but Cr Gerry Eckhoff voted in favour of the building, touted as an “interim” measure. Crs Doug Brown, Gretchen Robertson and Duncan Butcher were not at the meeting.
    Read more

    Russell Garbutt
    Submitted on 2012/08/09 at 7:26 pm
    Look at the plans. This is smaller than the average house and doesn’t have bedrooms, elaborate kitchens and the like. For goodness sake, I could tender to build a portable construction and do it for less than $200k. Is Laurie Mains and his company building it?

  18. Pedant

    I really wish people would stop saying “no-brainer”.

  19. Anonymous

    Oh, I just figured it out! That hat is made from 24 carat gold. Dr Selvarajah must have struck gold in Central and all along I was thinking he just had gold fever with unlimited access to public funds to look for it.

  20. I believe a phone conversation should happen about this and the final script would look something like……
    Dave Cull, we’ll call him Tosspot.
    Some head idiot at ORC, we”ll call him The Idiot.

    The Idiot “Yo Tosspot, we’re in a spot”
    Tosspot “How’s that?”
    The Idiot “Need a room that seats about X amount of people for meeting n shit”
    Tosspot “No worries mate, how long for?”
    The Idiot “Who the hell would know, maybe a year, maybe five”
    Tosspot “Sweet as, just let us know when and we’ll work something out as we go”
    The Idiot “Good on ya mate”

    Remember, ORC kicked in on that place we just built so I can’t see why they can’t use a room here n there. It’s not like it’s over run with bookings…
    In fact I’ll lay odds on there is a suitable building within 1km at the absolute outside.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Tue, 21 Aug 2012
      Building plan ‘best decision’ at present
      By Rebecca Fox
      A decision to build a council chamber and civil defence headquarters in the car park of its Stafford St office block is not “inappropriate”, Otago Regional Council chairman Stephen Woodhead says. While admitting its near $1 million price tag was a “lot of money”, he was completely confident in the costings provided by staff, architects Oakley Grey and their quantity surveyors, he said yesterday.
      Read more

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s all in the point of view.
    “Bogged-up Corolla rustbucket ‘a good buy’,” says dodgy used car salesman.

  22. Elizabeth

    Comment at ODT Online:

    ORC wastefulness
    Submitted by JimmyJones on Tue, 21/08/2012 – 2:27pm.

    ORC chairman Stephen Woodhead should not be regarded as a good judge of what is, or isn’t, appropriate. Mr Woodhead’s judgement led him to believe that it was a good idea to waste $31 million building an unnecessary new headquarters. The same judgement saw him support wasting $7 million planning the same building, without bothering to ask the people who would have to pay for it. Once we were asked, we said no.
    Read more

  23. What the.

    ### ODT Online Fri, 5 Apr 2013
    Reserve account might fund building
    By Rebecca Fox
    A multimillion-dollar reserve account may be set up to possibly fund a future Otago Regional Council head office facility. The council has proposed in this year’s draft annual plan that $5.2 million be put aside from its reserves into a building reserve fund. The move comes after the council “parked” its $31 million waterfront proposal due to its cost and then decided to spend $615,000 on a new council chamber and civil defence headquarters in its Stafford St car park. That facility is due to be opened on May 8, the day of the next full council meeting.
    Council chairman Stephen Woodhead said the proposed fund might not necessarily be used for a new building, as no decision on future facilities for the council had been made. “This gives the council more flexibility to undertake programmes it deems necessary at that time.”
    Read more

  24. ### ODT Online Wed, 1 May 2013
    ORC chambers nearly ready
    By Vaughan Elder
    Work is almost complete on the Otago Regional Council’s new chambers, with the cost of construction expected to come in about $176,000 under budget. As well as housing the council during meetings, it would be the region’s civil defence headquarters and a public meeting venue. Council support services manager Gerard Collings said the cost of the chambers – built in what used to be part of the car park of its Stafford St offices – was expected to be about $750,000, 19% lower than the initial budget of $926,000. Just over $600,000 went towards the ”base build”, with the rest going towards fit-out costs, he said. The project, which was approved last August, was slightly behind schedule, but would be finished in time for the official opening and the May council meeting, next Wednesday.
    Read more

    Related Post and Comments:
    11.8.12 ODT editorial (spot on!) — ORC temporary headquarters

    • ### ch9.co.nz May 8, 2013 – 7:01pm
      New Otago Regional Council Chambers reach completion
      The days of hiring out the Salvation Army’s Haven Hall for Council meetings are over, as the new Otago Regional Council Chambers reaches completion. The building was approved last August and construction began prior to Christmas in the ORC’s car park. The structure was badly needed due to overcrowding on site – and the good news is that it’s been completed under budget.

  25. Hype O'Thermia

    Story about ORC from many years ago when I had a friend working there. Don’t worry, he managed to escape and now lives & works happily elsewhere.
    Being down with capital C Compliance, they spent large to make wheelchair access, ramp, big doors, to their building… on Stafford Street. Not a lot of parking there. Steep street. Find park, manoeuvre out of car and into – whooosh, blast those brakes.

  26. Elizabeth

    The council’s looking at alternatives, including the reuse of existing heritage properties in the city.

    ### dunedintv.co.nz Wed, 9 Mar 2016
    ORC outgrows Dunedin headquarters
    The Otago Regional Council is getting too big for its headquarters in Stafford Street. The issue was highlighted in a report for councillors to consider at their meeting today. […] Staff have allocated funding from building reserves towards planning and designing a new space. The council’s wanting about 3000 square metres plus parking room, and an open office area. It’s expecting to vacate the Stafford Street building within three years.
    Ch39 Video

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Perhaps the building is adequate but staffing levels aren’t, ie they are victims of organisational bloat.

    • Diane Yeldon

      Rather paradoxical that I don’t find the current ORC offices well located for public transport. Or particularly accessible for people with disabilities who are required to go there not once but twice to get a discounted bus card. Typical bloody bureaucracy that you can’t access a place that is supposed to help you get access. Catch 22.

      • Hype O'Thermia

        A friend was working there when great disruptions took place, vital alterations to achieve disabled-access compliance. Eventually doors and ramps and all this good stuff was finished, so far so admirable! So considerate! So inclusive!
        Except that, as he pointed out, disabled people still have to get out of cars on a steep slope with their walking sticks and crutches. As a special challenge, independent wheelchair users who drive their own cars and have to make their way from car seat to wheelchair without the empty chair or, for maximum effect, person in chair whooshing down to Princes Street!

        He was among many good people who left as soon as they could afford to – some so desperate to escape the toxic workplace that with the wholehearted support of partners the family took a big dive in income for the sake of a massive rise in mental health.

        Neil Johnstone was one of my friend’s colleagues and friends.
        I hereby claim fame by distant association, good try eh?

  27. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 10 Mar 2016
    ORC votes for new base by 2019
    By John Gibb
    ….Chairman Stephen Woodhead told the finance and corporate committee the council’s Stafford St, Dunedin, premises were not “fit for purpose”.
    “I support the recommendations. Let’s get on with it,” Mr Woodhead said. […] Several councillors referred, sometimes partly in jest, to a potential public backlash, or the potential for misinterpretation of moves, backed by councillors yesterday, to seek new headquarters.
    Read more

    ● The recommendations will be formally considered by the full council at a meeting on March 23 and will then be subject to full public consultation, including hearings in May.

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