DCC Media Release – Contract let for Town Hall upgrade

DCC Media Release
Town Hall UpGrade – Contract Let, Work Due To Start

This item was published on 21 Jul 2010.

Jim Harland, DCC Chief Executive, has announced that the contract to upgrade the Dunedin Centre/Town Hall/ Municipal Chambers complex has been awarded to local company, Amalgamated Builders Limited (ABL).

There were three complying tenders – from ABL, Lund South and Naylor Love. ABL were awarded the contract at $35,660,000.

The contract is a fixed price contract and will include the re-development of the Glenroy Auditorium as an upgraded conference facility with associated break-out spaces in the Municipal Chambers building along with substantial functional and operational improvements, including fire egress, sprinklers and ventilation throughout the Dunedin Centre/Town Hall complex.

The upgrade also includes the installation of new data and theatre services.

Mr Harland said “This is good news for a local business and we are looking forward to working together with ABL on this important project. It’s vital that we have a contractor sympathetic to the needs of upgrading this complex in one of the city’s most important heritage precincts and our past experience of working with ABL gives us every confidence this will be the case. The upgrade is expected to meet the Council’s specific demands for the future use of the Town Hall, Dunedin Centre and Municipal Chambers for generations to come.”

Work is due to start in the next two weeks and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2012 with the expectation of providing up to 150 jobs.

ABL has most recently been the lead contractor on the Chinese Garden and is currently engaged on the Regent Theatre re-development.

There were no tenders received from outside of Dunedin.

Contact DCC on 477 4000.

DCC Link

Post by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Heritage, Project management, Urban design

48 responses to “DCC Media Release – Contract let for Town Hall upgrade

  1. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Thu, 22 Jul 2010
    $35.6m contract to Dunedin company
    By Chris Morris
    Workers at Dunedin company Amalgamated Builders Ltd are celebrating after landing a $35.66 million contract to upgrade the city’s town hall, Dunedin Centre and municipal chambers.
    Read more

  2. Calvin Oaten

    Jim Harland Chief Executive, has announced the contract to upgrade the Dunedin Centre/ TownHall/ Municipal Chambers complex has been awarded to local company, Amalgamated Builders Ltd (ABL).

    Good old ‘King Jim’, Dunedin’s own ‘Rasputin’. Who needs an elected mayor and councillors when every step is so ably managed/manipulated by such a sagacious, all encompassing person. He is such a micro manager that he knows where every cup of coffee is purchased and by whom. He only has to check the monthly statements of 206 credit cards.

    The fact that on the macro management side he is moving the city into insolvency is of little moment compared with the glory of creating international conference centres, white elephant stadiums and harbourside dreams. No money to fulfill these dreams? Debt fund them. It’s just like putting them on the credit card after all. It will all look mighty on the CV when it comes time to move on. Which can’t come soon enough.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Sat, 2 Oct 2010
      Municipal Chambers upgrade in full swing
      By Chris Morris
      Dunedin’s Municipal Chambers building is a mass of broken concrete and bricks, steel beams and scaffolding, but is on schedule to be transformed once the dust settles, Dunedin City Council staff say. Work on the $5 million renovation began in July and is in full swing as part of the wider $45.8 million town hall upgrade.

      The work was being carried out by Dunedin company Amalgamated Builders Ltd, which secured the $35.66 million construction contract in July this year.

      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        OK. Then this happened, as noted in the DCC Annual Plan 2011/12 thread:

        ### ODT Online Fri, 21 Jan 2011
        Town hall upgrade redesign
        By Chris Morris
        Parts of the $45.8 million Dunedin Town Hall upgrade have again been sent back to the drawing board, with a redesign under way that could cut costs and kill plans for a cube-shaped glass entrance.
        Read more


        Then spectacularly, another of the little nightmares from the unheard of one:

        ### ch9.co.nz Wed, 2011-01-26 18:51
        Dramatic addition to the Town Hall proposed
        Dunedin architect Ken Taylor has submitted a proposal to the Dunedin City Council which would see a dramatic addition to the Town Hall. In an email to the mayor and councillors, Taylor offers a series of design concept images.

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Mon, 18 Apr 2011
          DCC saves millions on Dunedin Centre
          By David Loughrey
          Some successful investment, and a decision to cut back on “high-level specification” for the Dunedin Centre redevelopment has benefited the city by about $10 million, just two weeks before the city council sits to consider its budget for the next year. While the effect of the news on ratepayers will be limited, it will at least mean the council will have to borrow less than it had budgeted. More savings could also be on the cards.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 30 Apr 2011
          Lighting renewed
          By David Loughrey
          Workers fit exterior lights to the Dunedin Municipal Chambers as part of the building’s redevelopment. Octa Associates project manager David Booth said the lights would wash the building with light at night.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 29 Jun 2011
          Light fittings delay chambers upgrade
          By David Loughrey
          The redevelopment of the Municipal Chambers, in Dunedin, is running about one month behind schedule, after light fittings in the historic council chambers were found to be possible fire threats, resulting in redecoration work.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Glenroy Auditorium (Dunedin Town Hall) redevelopment

          Check out Opus Architecture renders at the bottom of UglyBob’s post

          [understatement warning]
          Not exactly a glorious understanding of multi-use space to include performance… DREADFUL DESIGN

          The tack-on portico is completely graceless, but it’s only a tack-on. Spikes?
          Must be asked though, does Opus not know what elegant sympathetic detailing is?
          Ah, nope. Jeff, please could you have another go.

        • Elizabeth


          ### ODT Online Mon, 1 Aug 2011
          Shedding new light
          The Dunedin City Council’s Municipal Chambers in the Octagon is illuminated during a test at the weekend, by 64 new exterior fluorescent lights, designed to highlight the building’s heritage features. The lights – costing between $100,000 and $150,000 – were part of the $45 million Town Hall upgrade project, including the Municipal Chambers, Dunedin Centre and Town Hall, council city property manager Robert Clark said.
          Read more

          Is it as bad as the photo? Icy white. FFS.

        • Elizabeth

          See comment https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2011/08/13/ridding-dchl-of-conflicts-of-interest-otago-business-monopoly-by-director-and-other-ghouls/#comment-18222


          ### ODT Online Wed, 24 Aug 2011
          Plans for glass cube dropped
          By Chris Morris
          Plans for a glass cube entrance at the front of the Dunedin Town Hall have been abandoned… Dunedin City Council property manager Robert Clark confirmed the glass cube-shaped entrance had been removed from the design of the town hall upgrade as part of a ongoing review of the project’s plans. The move shaved up to $2.6 million off the cost of the town hall upgrade, and – together with other savings already identified – helped reduce its total cost from $45.5 million to about $40 million, he said.
          Read more


          ### ODT Online Wed, 24 Aug 2011
          Chambers already a hit; Glenroy gutted
          By Chris Morris
          Workers have moved from the Dunedin Municipal Chambers to the Glenroy Auditorium next door, as the upgrade of Dunedin’s Town Hall complex continues. Dunedin City Council city property manager Robert Clark said the upgrade included improved lighting, fire systems and other technology, and a dramatic reorganisation of rooms to create more conference space.

          The Town Hall was due to close in late October, after the Rugby World Cup, for work to begin inside, and was not due to reopen until December next year. The upgrade work meant the Glenroy Auditorium would remain closed until the Town Hall reopened. -Robert Clark, City Property

          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Sat, 27 Aug 2011
          Editorial: A sorry symbol of profligacy
          What was described as the centrepiece of the redevelopment of Dunedin’s town hall is officially no more. The glass cube that was to replace the main Moray Pl entrance to the Dunedin Town Hall has been dropped from the plans, and it will not be missed. In a way, the cube represented the serious weakness at the council over recent years; grandiose plans and little expense spared. The council had to pick and choose carefully its projects when faced with sewerage and water upgrades and stadium spending. It not only had to be smart and frugal but also be prepared to reject many worthy ideas, let alone flights of fancy.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Wed, 2 Nov 2011
          Blacked-out town hall windows to be uncovered
          By David Loughrey
          Large rose-coloured windows that have been covered for years may soon flood the Dunedin Town Hall with light, as the Dunedin Centre and town hall redevelopment progresses. Scaffolding surrounds the roof of the Dunedin Centre, which Dunedin City Council city property manager Robert Clark said was part of work to incorporate air conditioning, plant and ventilation.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### ODT Online Mon, 5 Dec 2011
          Names sought for new spaces
          By David Loughrey
          Dunedin’s Municipal Chambers and Dunedin Centre should soon have three newly named rooms, as spaces in the complex are transformed or created as part of an upgrade. Councillors have been given ideas from Dunedin’s sister cities, past mayors, Maori names and the city’s heritage features to consider for the names. Work on the renovation of the Municipal Chambers was completed earlier this year and is part of a wider $45.8 million Dunedin Centre and town hall upgrade.
          Read more

  3. Peter

    Now what happened to Rasputin, again? I’ve forgotten.

  4. Calvin Oaten

    Peter, Rasputin was the guy who took over the brain of the Empress of Russia (think Peter Chin in his wife’s wedding dress) and the control of the palace. The courtiers woke up to his evil doings and set about to dispose of him. They poisoned him, they knifed him, they shot him but the inconsiderate sod wouldn’t die. Finally I think they tossed him in the Volga. That is roughly as I remember it. I might be slightly inaccurate.
    Our bloke, come to think of it is less like ‘Rasputin’, and more like ‘Rumplestiltskin’, you know, the guy who spun straw into gold. In fact, that might be what ‘Jimbo’ is thinking of doing. What do you reckon?

  5. Peter

    I prefer the Rasputin story, Calvin. It has a happier ending.

  6. Calvin Oaten

    You’re probably right. Anyway, the ‘Rumplestiltskin’ outcome would be all wrong as ‘Jimbo’, by a process of osmosis has managed to spin gold into straw. Awatea St is littered with the stuff, as indeed is soon to be the Octagon/Town Hall precinct.

  7. Peter

    At least the DCC showed its loyalty to a local firm with awarding the contract to ABL. I’m worried mainly about the potential cost blowouts for this project and it is unfortunate that the upgrade has been left, to this time, with the debt burden we already have to contend with. The argument could be how far the upgrade needs to go. ‘Rolls Royce’ or something more modest – not necessarily ‘Mini’. My main concern was mainly the glass clip-on in Harrop St which the council eventually listened to and dropped. Talk about glass fixtures, isn’t the glass cube on the main entrance something that could be easily dropped for budgetary reasons? In terms of being sympathetic to the rest of the building, it doesn’t seem to fit. The present ‘eyebrow’ is sufficient. What other cost cuts could be envisaged to minimise the debt burden/cost blowout potential of this project?

  8. Calvin Oaten

    It had been suggested that the upgrade of the Town Hall alone would cost some $22 million. I find that a staggering amount for what is essentially some structural maintenance and a paint and paper job. But again, never underestimate the propensity to overestimate at the outset and then keep going. Again it is part of the problem of being in the hands of independent consultants. They tend to design for fees, not necessarily the best outcome. The following stages of the Glenroy and conference rooms could be easily deferred, saving $25 to $30 million of borrowing just like that. We the citizens would not be disadvantaged one bit. The international conference scene is just a concocted myth anyway, as Kate Styles report amply demonstrates. But not to worry the ‘visionaries’ will have their way regardless. Prudence is not a word they recognise.

  9. Phil

    Nice to see a genuine competitive tender awarded for a change. Haven’t seen one of those come out of DCC for a while now. Certainly not in terms of construction contracts. Most in recent times have been negotiated contracts with “preferred” contractors. Edgar Centre and Regent Theatre come to mind there. A refreshing change, possibly influenced by the new City Property manager. Well done.

  10. Anonymous

    Who got the $168K contract for “handrail refurbishment” at St Clair?

  11. Calvin Oaten

    “Handrail refurbishment” at St Clair? Surely, that should be under warranty. As indeed should be the ramp replacement. The DCC have handled that abysmally. The consultants DWK are the party which should be rectifying that. Shoddy design at the outset. Again DCC staff fall down on their responsibility.

  12. Anonymous

    The steelwork is in a dreadful state – shot with rust. There are scaffolding rails up for safety and a big sign: “St Clair Handrail Refurbushment. Dunedin City Council: Working for you, contract value $168K”.

    Wonder which budget this is under and why they think that refurbishment is going to last any longer. Anyone with half a brain knows that area is the harshest sea-air environment and materials take an absolute hammering.

  13. JimmyJones

    Spinning gold into straw definitely seems to be the DCC’s business strategy. The Town Hall project would have to be about the second most foolish business decision of our elected representatives (after the stadium). Our investment of $45·8 million (May 2010) will reward us with an annual loss of about $5 million (from memory).
    Excessive debt is bad enough, but it is much worse when each new project requires additional ongoing ratepayer funding.
    Some other businesses making losses are the Airport, Edgar Centre, Railway Station, Citybus and City Forests. They definitely have the touch of King Midas in reverse.

  14. Calvin Oaten

    Jimmy Jones; there is nothing business like, foolish or otherwise about the Town Hall project. It is a history of constantly upgrading the projections as the project escalated in cost. It started around 2001 at $14 million, escalated to $18.5 million at which point there was to be an additional 6 conferences per year with a $3.6 million economic benefit to the city. When costs moved to $29.2 million it was then said there would be an additional 16 conferences per year providing economic benefits to the city of some $16 million. When the costs moved on to the current $45.4 million we are told there will be a total of 36 conferences in 2016, as opposed to 16 actual events in 2008 (see report prepared for Kate Styles by Horwath HTL in 2008). That option shows over the years 2012-16 an average total revenue $1.215 million over average total expenditure $1.106 million leaving an average cash surplus of $108,800. Total other charges and depreciation bring the total to ($709,000). Loan repayment per year is $4.339 million. This would see a negative return per year of some ($5 million). How can that be a good move at this time?

  15. Anonymous

    If they were part of the Town Hall (managed by Dunedin Venues) then there wouldn’t be a lot of washing going on, since they don’t appear to have budget for power…

  16. Hype O'Thermia

    Plenty of suggestions here thanks to Wikipedia:
    Notable London debtors’ prisons
    Coldbath Fields Prison
    Fleet Prison
    Giltspur Street Compter
    King’s Bench Prison
    Marshalsea Prison
    Poultry Compter
    Wood Street Counter

    • Elizabeth

      Typically clever… at ODT Online (Link)

      Submitted by farsighted on Mon, 05/12/2011 – 3:05pm.


      Hudson’s Bay

      Chamber of Secrets

      • Elizabeth

        This could turn out to be offensive.

        ### ODT Online Tue, 6 Dec 2011
        DCC mulls naming rights for municipal chambers
        By John Lewis
        In a move resembling the naming of Forsyth Barr Stadium, the Dunedin City Council is exploring the possibility of financial gain from Dunedin business naming rights on rooms in the upgraded Municipal Chambers and Dunedin Centre.
        But [town hall complex] subcommittee chairman Cr Syd Brown, Cr Chris Staynes, Mayor Dave Cull, chief executive Paul Orders, city property manager Robert Clark, Darren Burden, of Dunedin Venues Management Ltd, and David Booth, of Octa Associates Ltd, decided to explore the commercial potential and impact of giving naming rights to Dunedin businesses.
        Read more

  17. Mike

    Naming something the “Chambers chamber” seems a little strange I’m sure it would just end up called “The Chamber”

    But then we could call the collective set of council features installed over the past few years to keep the public away from the decision makers “The Wall” after the recently departed …

  18. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sat, 21 Apr 2012
    Contamination delays project
    By Chris Morris
    Contractors clearing contaminated material from inside the Dunedin Town Hall are unearthing more carcinogenic tar, pushing the building’s refurbishment behind schedule and forcing up costs. Dunedin City Council city property manager Robert Clark said contractors had found more of the coal-tar contamination, and had so far removed 150 tonnes of the substance and surrounding dirt and gravel. That followed the discovery of a 10m by 5m, 400mm-deep patch of the offensive-smelling tar under a concrete pad in the basement last month.
    Read more



  19. Peter

    ‘deep patch of the offensive-smelling tar’. A metaphor for what has been going on for far too long at the town hall complex? The present unearthing, to extend the metaphor, will hopefully reveal more.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Thu, 17 May 2012
      Dunedin Centre gets another $2.5m
      By Debbie Porteous
      Dunedin city councillors yesterday agreed, subject to final approval, to borrow an additional $2.5 million to complete the redevelopment of the Dunedin Centre. Council property manager Robert Clark told councillors considering the council’s long-term budget, that earlier this year staff had indicated to council the project was going to come in $5 million under its original $45,835,000 budget, which was reduced in the draft long-term budget and the savings on debt servicing recognised.
      Read more

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Mon, 16 Jul 2012
      Town hall becoming ‘world class’ facility
      By Chris Morris
      Concert-goers will enjoy a “world class” facility when the Dunedin Town Hall finally reopens early next year – even if they do not immediately notice it. That was the pledge from Octa Associates director David Booth as he showed off progress on the refurbishment to the Otago Daily Times on Friday. Both the town hall and neighbouring Dunedin Centre – including the Glenroy Auditorium – remain hives of activity, with up to 70 workers from 20 companies busy on site each day.
      Read more + Images

  20. Phil

    Buggar off. You do not sell naming rights to public buildings. Major conflict of interest when you consider the official activities carried out and decisions made inside of those rooms. Bad call, Boothy. You should have stayed at Telecom.

  21. Hype O'Thermia

    Agreed, Phil. Yet another grabby and sucky idea.
    Just wait for the “clean zone” with nobody else’s goods, services and functions permitted within several blocks………

  22. Anonymous

    Does anyone know what is going on with the excavating in the town hall? For weeks a small digger has been driven in and out of that cavernous space dropping rubble, goop and what now looks like a heavy clay mixture, something usually associated with foundation, onto a waiting truck. Each day those trucks keep coming back for more. That’s some serious excavation and people are starting to wonder just how big of a hole they are digging.

    There has been a noticeable absence of media interest over this massive public-funded work. A reporter should be in there doing regular follow ups, getting a picture or two, given ratepayers are sinking tens of millions of dollars into that hole too.

    • Elizabeth

      Anonymous, presumably you know about the contaminated site underneath the Town Hall and the change of legislation covering contaminated sites that kicked in in January of this year. City Property have said the project contingency fund covers the excavation work. The material being removed has been subject to lab tests but nothing has been published on the matter since these were conducted. The site was formerly in use as a council yard and the theory goes that the material is possibly ‘coal tar’.

      See https://dunedinstadium.wordpress.com/2010/07/21/dcc-media-release-contract-let-for-town-hall-upgrade/#comment-23201

      It’s presumptuous to describe the substance as carcinogenic, as ODT states, without the results of chemical analysis being known. Better to say ‘potentially carcinogenic’. However, if it is coal tar – an aside – the history of this man-made substance and the effects of its early uses in relation to human health and medical diagnosis are really interesting.

  23. Anonymous

    Yes, but it does not appear the staff are working in a manner you might assume when dealing with “contaminated” and “carcinogenic” materials. It looks like an entrance to a mine at the front of the hall. Low light and cavernous if you try looking through the door where the theatre was. But in recent weeks they’ve been hauling out dirt and clay. Nothing sinister looking about it and it’s being dumped out right beside a heavy pedestrian zone. The ODT would print whatever it is told to by the DCC, particularly the Spooks, and hard questions be damned. Those terms would be perfect for justifying a blown budget.

    It is possible that the corrupted and desperate at DCC are hoping to strike a coal vein or oil under there, possibly even ORC has put its gold fever on hold in Central and is in the hole too.

    Seriously though, it is news but not as far as the media is concerned. It’s pressing Send & Receive waiting for the next press release to arrive.

    • Elizabeth

      It’s a question for Robert Clark (City Property Manager). Nobody at ODT is doing follow-up. What if(?) Cull has no idea – then we’re in real bother.

  24. Anonymous

    It is interesting no further information has been forthcoming on the coal tar. I figure it would take a couple of months for results on generic materials but surely for something potentially “carcinogenic” would be prioritised and available within weeks, if not days. That’s a real health and safety issue. Maybe the Council Daily Times knows that already hence its usual silence on newsworthiness.

  25. Calvin Oaten

    Coal tar? What’s to worry about coal tar? Jeez, there is an underground storage tank at the old gasworks site containing thousands of litres of the stuff. Back in 2002 former Cr Jeremy Belcher found out about it and carried out an in-depth investigation. He came up with a plan for the DCC to pump it out and sell it. He even had found a market in Christchurch for it. It would have brought in many thousands of dollars. What happened? The Senior Manager of the time quashed the whole idea. Result? It still lies in the tank (hopefully) quietly festering until such time as the tank gives out (if not already) and it all just seeps away into the South Dunedin water table (which is not very deep). So don’t worry about a little coal tar impregnated dirt under the Town Hall. The truth is, it is just an excuse for the contractors to gouge out a contract extra. In a word, ‘a nice little earner’.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Fri, 12 Oct 2012
      Dunedin Centre upgrade on track despite surprises
      By Dan Hutchinson
      The $45.8 million redevelopment of the Dunedin Centre is on target to be officially opened by April next year despite a few good and bad surprises. The Dunedin Town Hall, the Glenroy Auditorium and the Municipal Chambers are undergoing a major renovation. Problems with soil contamination (coal tar) uncovered during excavation delayed construction by about two weeks in April this year. The $300,000 clean-up cost was covered by a contingency fund in the original budget and the project’s timeframe has about three months’ leeway built in.
      Read more (learn about some heritage detail discoveries)

  26. Anonymous

    It’s interesting reminders like those Calvin that must make certain individuals and the ODT shake a bit in their boots. They must flop down into their cushy seats quite regularly now and hope the latest posts quickly roll off the front pages too. I agree with the gouge, hence the quotes around the terms. It is just a beat-up for the company heads to rip a little more out of Dunedin and the ODT is very helpful at carrying their message. It’s funny how the current question in education is, “How do we teach our kids the value of a dollar?” when it really needs to be taught to councillors, chiefs and directors of public boards, and stakeholders. Although one difference there is stakeholders already understand but they don’t value the consequences.

  27. Rob Hamlin

    Comment moved to relevant thread.

  28. Anonymous

    For a while they appeared to stop digging up the ground under the town hall but this week started up again. A number of truckloads came away from the pit and it’s some heavy work to fill something of that size. So “nearing completion” came as a surprise.

    The squandered millions wasted on this town hall upgrade continues to confirm this council’s madness of digging itself deeper into debt. The running joke is still their marketing spin they will make it back in increased conferences.

    How many conference centres are there in Dunedin now?

    I have often wondered who were the Friends of Stakeholders in this ratepayer rort.

  29. Hype O'Thermia

    It’s an underground bunker for when a critical mass of ratepayers wake up to the fact we’ve been done like a dinner. Has to hold enough provisions for 18 months or a significant AB win in the Fubar Stadium, whichever comes first. If Neil Collins is misdirected before they lock it they should be able to last a couple of years, and don’t think this hasn’t been discussed already, public excluded.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s