John Wickliffe House – application to paint exterior

Updated post 25.12.14

John Wickliffe House - Baker Garden Architects _1LUC-2014-203 Repair and exterior painting 265 Princes Street
Closes: 18/07/2014

Notification of Application for a Resource Consent – Under Section 93(2) of the Resource Management Act 1991.

The Dunedin City Council has received the following application:
Resource consent is sought for a restricted discretionary activity, being the repair and exterior painting of the John Wickliffe House at 265 Princes Street within the North Princes Street/Moray Place/Exchange Townscape Precinct (TH03). The paint will cover the existing precast concrete, the soffit and vertical concrete fins and the steel window frames.

An assessment of effects is provided with the application.

LUC-2014-203 DCC Planner’s Report (PDF, 4.78 MB)

John Wickliffe House proposed paint colours (1)

John Wickliffe House - 'Assessment of effects' Baker Garden Architects [click to enlarge]

John Wickliffe House [] 1

Related Post and Comments:
13.11.14 John Wickliffe House, 265 Princes Street LUC-2014-203 | Decision

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr

*Images: Baker Garden Architects (via DCC) – extracts from Application; – John Wickliffe House


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Heritage, Media, Name, New Zealand, People, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

32 responses to “John Wickliffe House – application to paint exterior

  1. Will the clock get fixed?

    {Sorry owainjmorris, your comment was automatically sent to spam. The ODT recently commented – might’ve been at The Wash. The building owners plan to fix the clock. -Eds}

  2. Elizabeth

    My submission very quickly rendered, extracted from the Council’s online form… (submission to hearing will elaborate):

    Specify the specific parts of the application that this submission relates to: The application as a whole.

    Explain your reasons for this submission:
    Townscape Precinct: This large ‘cumbersome’ 1970s office building at 265 Princes Street, is located in the district plan listed North Princes Street/Moray Place/Exchange Townscape Precinct (TH03). This is not a listed heritage precinct, despite the Application which states: ‘The building is located within the Central Activity Zone and also within the Townscape and Heritage Precinct.’ There are heritage values quite obviously present in TH03. Further, there are in this vicinity buildings including this one that have nineteenth and twentieth century architectural heritage values that are well recognised and promoted by those of us with architectural training and credentials and or expertise in architectural history and architectural criticism. Furthermore, there are inherent streetscape character values and precinct values that have yet to be properly described and advocated for, if not protected, in the district plan, for Princes Street and The Exchange.
    John Wickliffe House – Architectural Heritage, Character and Amenity Values: Despite the choice of concrete aggregate cladding for the exterior of John Wickliffe House, the building now looks tired, weathered, stained and unprepossessing. It is located in a prominent historic quarter of the CBD (the old city centre, The Exchange – on the site of the former iconic Stock Exchange building), an area which is regenerating well through sensitive motivated ownership and investment – as such, work to the exterior of John Wickliffe House is not only welcome but greatly encouraged for enhanced Sense of Place. However, the proposed “repaint” method applied to the precast concrete panels, in a predominately flat dark colour as a weather seal and cosmetic application, is inappropriate for the building as well as to the surrounding built environment – given the bulk, scale, style, and location of John Wickliffe House.
    John Wickliffe House – Concrete Repair & Protection: The proposed remedial work to the precast concrete panels followed by their painting as well as painting to the soffit and vertical concrete fins, and the steel window frames, might ensure that the building exterior is adequately weather-sealed to prevent concrete cracking, spalling and ultimately, concrete failure – if this is a critical structural issue for John Wickliffe House. The Applicant has failed to supply a report from a nationally recognised and suitably qualified expert in the engineering, conservation and maintenance of twentieth century concrete and steel buildings; there is no condition report for John Wickliffe House; and there is no environmental impact assessment report. Without these the application removes opportunity for immediate peer review. Therefore, submitters on the application and the hearings committee have very little to go on – the application is too minimal, it fails to provide an explanation of not only building condition but also other options for rehabilitation of the building exterior, as built. There are no comparative statements or analyses of the building’s architectural merits, the availability of other treatments and applications for the maintenance of external surfaces to achieve a ‘sympathetic’ weather seal – if indeed applied finishes are necessary in this case. The application as a whole is deficient.
    Adverse Effects: Applying paint to exterior surfaces on such a large and upscale building is likely to have adverse effects for our street view readings of John Wickliffe House as much as for the receiving environment, effects that can’t be mitigated. The Ramset specification provided in the absence of full reporting and discussion, like the application as a whole, fails to elaborate the effects on existing heritage values and precinct values, as well as amenity values in this increasingly popular location for business people, residents and visitors – instead it points unconvincingly to (generic) industry accepted best practice for concrete repair and refurbishment of commercial properties – it is regrettable that the architects propose a flat dark paint application to cover the aggregate precast panels which together with the fenestration are a defining aesthetic feature of the original architect’s design for the building’s external modulation and banding.

    State the decision you wish the Council to make: Decline the application in its entirety.

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Yes, how much has the concrete degraded and cracked, and is this the best way of fixing it? Proof NOT from product manufacturer’s info sheet req’d.
    Is there an unpigmented sealer that would do the same job?

    I’m so-so about painting brick, stone & concrete buildings because if subsequently neglected, they look twice as tatty with scabby peeling old paint than with discoloured original material. And there can be a risk that today’s smart Statement doesn’t look like Jack and Vera Duckworth’s home a few years hence.

  4. You sure ‘dribbled a bib-full’ here Elizabeth. See if they take any notice.

  5. Elizabeth

    It’s just flagging where I might chose to go at hearing – might….
    The planning, structural and aesthetic arguments were explored for the paint job to the Forsyth Barr Building on the Octagon. I expect there will be new product information, and more, available from various colleague submitters this time round.

  6. Jacob

    Is it true that Veggie Boys are the applicants?

  7. John Wickliffe House’s twins have been fully reclad (Microbiology) or tagged for demolition (Adams)

  8. Elizabeth

    The plan brought a strong response from an architect [Rodney Dalziel] involved in the design of the building. (ODT)

    ### ODT Online Tue, 29 Jul 2014
    Displeasure at plan to paint panels
    By David Loughrey
    The company that owns John Wickliffe House has applied for resource consent to repair and paint the building, which is in a protected townscape precinct zone. At the heart of the issue is a plan to paint the panels – which are covered with exposed and polished West Coast serpentine stone – black and grey.
    Read more

    As sent to ODT Online:

    Submitter notes
    Submitted by ej kerr on Tue, 29/07/2014 – 12:48pm.

    The application for resource consent lacks supporting information. There is no condition report for the modern concrete and steel building; and no professional opinion from a structural engineer on the building’s proneness to concrete cracking, spalling and ultimately, concrete failure – if this is a critical structural issue for John Wickliffe House, we’re not told.

    The applicant, an architect, acting on behalf of the building owner, provides only a specification – and no satisfactory assessment of environmental effects (AEE), that might include discussion of the environmental impact for the listed townscape precinct (TH03) and the Central Activity Zone.

    In particular, the effects of using flat dark colour on such a large fenestrated banded building in a prominent position at The Exchange are not discussed in the application. The hope might be that the proposed applied paint finish is not merely cosmetic.

    Leave wrangling on building style and history to the academics, perhaps (the building isn’t listed for protection). But let’s hear more from retired architect Mr Rodney Dalziel, experts in building construction, and those qualified to discuss the maintenance of townscape precinct values in planning terms.

  9. Peter.

    John Wickliffe Building is hideous in my opinion. It would make a great candidate for demolition by neglect.
    Paint it pink.

  10. Elizabeth

    Following up on a note from one of my colleagues today, as sent to ODT Online:

    Graphic representation
    Submitted by ej kerr on Tue, 29/07/2014 – 6:32pm.
    On checking this story in the print edition of Otago Daily Times today, I notice the ‘graphic representation of what the building would look like once painted’ (see also the ‘graphic supplied’ online) is vastly lighter in colour than that specified in the application for resource consent, especially with regard to where the Resene colours are used. I trust no one is bending facts for a politics of convenience or misrepresentation. The publicly notified documentation of the consent application must stand; otherwise, the application should be withdrawn and a new application submitted to City Planning for consideration.

    • Elizabeth

      Helpful email received from City Planning today:

      Hi Elizabeth,
      Thank you for your query and observation. We contacted ODT yesterday with the correct image, apparently the image they had was sourced from the owners. The hearing date was also incorrect. The ODT responded by saying that they would make a correction however I’m not sure if they have or not yet.
      I hope this helps. I look forward to your submission at the hearing.
      Kind Regards,
      Sophie Lord
      Planner, City Planning
      Dunedin City Council

  11. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Sun, 10 Aug 2014
    Proposed colour scheme not set in stone
    By David Loughrey
    The owners of John Wickliffe House say no final decision has been made on colours for a proposed paint job for the building. That follows a noticeable difference between colours in a graphic released by the Plaza Property Trust to the Otago Daily Times, and those in a resource consent application.
    Read more

    ODT highlights RUBBISH from the owners of John Wickliffe House.
    (ODT Sat, 9 Aug 2014 – page 9)

    “Asked about the difference between the colours …. Tony Offen said the consent was “about whether any of the building exterior can be painted at all”. […] There were “a number of colour options” considered and, if painting became an option, the most appropriate colour, or colours, would be decided “in consultation with DCC”.

    The hearing is this Friday, 15 August.

    I have news for the disreputable Offen and friends, about the fact of colour publicly notified and submitted on. Application documents gave no hint of multiple colour schemes being up for grabs’ for DCC to make a decision on. DCC and submitters were presented with one scheme only.

    If it was Mr Offen’s, or indeed Mr Broad’s ‘strategy’ to dish up a dark scheme first so to make a lighter scheme seem alright for painting the building’s aggregate precast panels – well, SORRY NO. No painting of the panels, fins and soffits is appropriate in view of the district plan’s stated Townscape Precinct values.

    Baker Garden Architects - JW House paint schemes [screenshots][screenshots blend – images via ODT Online]

    Left as first printed in ODT (Baker Garden Architects, Colour Scheme 3); right, darker scheme from the notified application – three named Resene colours specified for use on particular sections of the building, as arrowed.

    I note property owner Al Broad’s submission on his own application – revealed in the City Planner’s report received yesterday ~!!

    • Hype O'Thermia

      Why does it need painting, “the panels … are covered with exposed and polished West Coast serpentine stone”? New paint may look better, but paint does not last forever. We risk later having a big somewhat shabby building in a very visible position. Future owners may not be in position to repaint as often as necessary to maintain it’s appearance. Changes of owners and of taste would likely see the paint removed from the building, for which it would be covered with fine mesh and scaffolding for months on end. I cannot see any good reason for painting it now, and many good reasons for leaving it alone.

  12. Elizabeth

    ### ODT Online Tue, 12 Aug 2014
    Planner opposes painting building panels
    By Debbie Porteous
    A Dunedin city planner has added her disapproval to a proposal to paint the concrete panels of John Wickliffe House. To paint them black would be inappropriate for the building’s architecture and in its setting, Dunedin City Council planner Sophie Lord says in a report to the hearings panel considering the application. […] She recommended the application to paint the building be declined, but consent be granted for the repairs, subject to appropriate conditions.
    Read more

    █ Hearings panel: Crs Kate Wilson, David Benson-Pope and Aaron Hawkins.

  13. Elizabeth

    DCC Planner’s Report added to post at top of thread.

  14. Elizabeth

    In which Mr Page rejects that the serpentine aggregate precast panels are “stone” and “natural material”.

    And Mr Loughrey for the ODT does not report, and in fact denies coverage to, the relevance of the District Plan’s Sustainability (Section 4) and Townscape (Section 13) objectives, policies and precinct rules (TH03) that apply to the application. He also denies coverage to the council planner’s report (which provides a technical peer review by a chartered building surveyor who specialises in conservational concrete repair methodology); and the submissions of three other people who each called for repairs to be effected in kind, which methodology Mr Macknight, as a submitter, independently elaborated to the panel.

    Much of the information from Mr Page’s team failed to deliver as anything more than “hearsay” – few if any of his team provided detailed written evidence to support their position. It is called a snow job. Just another instance of the suited Mr Page’s circus at hearings, in which “old boy pals” attempt to manipulate DCC to their own ends.

    Mr Loughrey also omits to say that when the further information is received it will be provided to all submitters for to make further submissions.

    The “five times” claim made on cost of conservational repair was not supported by written evidence and was provided by two men from Titus Waterproofing who recommended application of a proprietary product solution to building repairs without any consideration of alternative methods. They provided no written evidence.

    An unsatisfactory day at hearing. The Hearing Committee (lay people without expertise in building construction or building conservation) may or may not be awake to the manipulations of the applicant. We shall see as further information arrives.

    The standard of information provided by the applicant is at an all time low for the resource consent hearing process.

    There is no need for expensive scaffolding to provide a factual condition report on the building – temporary use of a crane, extendable ladder or snorkel would provide the information needed on the extent (as claimed by the applicant, without a building survey) of damage to existing building fabric. The application to paint the panels and other building components is in large part purely a cosmetic exercise, after forty years of deferred building maintenance.

    ### ODT Online Sat, 16 Aug 2014
    Building repair advice rejected
    By David Loughrey
    Owners of John Wickliffe House say the building has ”concrete cancer”, which is rusting reinforcing steel and causing safety issues. The company that owns John Wickliffe House has baulked at the idea of being forced to spend what it says is five times more than it planned to repair the building.
    Read more

    • Elizabeth

      Hearing Committee: Kate Wilson (Chair), Aaron Hawkins and David Benson-Pope

      Submitters, in order of appearance: Stephen Macknight, David Murray, Elizabeth Kerr, Michael Findlay

      For the Applicant: Phil Page (counsel), Tony Offen (Building Manager), Nick Baker (Baker Garden Architects), John Heenan (Beca), Titus Waterproofing (two men), and one or two others…

      Informal notes (mine), paraphrased, from hearing following the Hearing Committee’s lunch time site visit:

      The result of the panel’s site visit in the lunch hour seemed to be that they thought the number of cracks and panel issues was a MUCH larger problem than they had previously guessed… (yeah right).

      After the hearing adjourned later in the afternoon I took another look at the building. To be honest, nothing I saw gave me headaches – and simply, because you can’t get close enough – without a crane, extending ladder or snorkel – to form any ‘shocked’ or ‘sobering’ opinion of building condition in the context of the application. [The morning having been based on (some) knowledge from the applicant and of course a lot more hearsay, so clearly the site visit had turned into a major lobby exercise…]

      To their credit the panel reconvened with questions about alternative methods of repair – primarily, they want to receive further information from the applicant about alternative methods of repair and alternative products available, in particular, clear sealants that are warrantied.

      David Benson-Pope strongly stated – given Phil Page was still ferreting on that the only decision DCC had to make was on colour palette, not on repairs… – that he needed information on clear sealants (in relation to submitter (structural engineer) Stephen Macknight’s suggested methodology) as this would strongly affect his decision on the application.

      Things went round in circles a bit. The applicant was asked what consideration had been given to alternative methods of repair? The reply was not convincing – a short yes, consideration had been given back in 2009 apparently, on “the back wall” (meaning to Water Street), and the same for the front (presumably the façade to John Wickliffe Square – more or less above the coffee cart)… using different applications and different attempts (Huh?)… no detail.

      This had all come to a head when Phil Page invited Nick Baker, the two Titus guys, and John Heenan back to the table (with permission of the Chair) “to dialogue” where to from here…

      In dialogue then… Nick Baker made clear he was not a structural engineer and because this was a technical matter he, as an architect would expect to take advice – this from product manufacturers (see their specifications – they being the ones to provide the warranties…) and engineers.

      We heard from the panel that the views held by Stephen Macknight and Titus were “oppositional”.

      John Heenan said the repair process was much the same for any product. Asked if the panels could be restored, he said it depends on how the panels were formed and whether you can replicate the aggregate texture and colours of the concrete, in situ, to get the same density of stone and same mortar colour. He said he was nervous about this, and that it would be extremely expensive to do in situ.

      The Chair sought further information for clarity – two questions needed to be answered by the applicant:
      1. How you intend to do repair?
      2. The costs for repair if the aggregate precast panels are restored [in like kind]?

      When asked for a cost comparison between adoption of (Stephen Macknight’s) methodology for repair and theirs, the Titus men claimed that Stephen Macknight’s would be approximately FIVE TIMES (mainly labour) the cost of their preferred method using an engineered paint application.

      Nick Baker claimed that by following Stephen Macknight’s methodology for repair the final grinding work would need to involve a much larger area of existing fabric (if not the whole panel) to make good the finish.

      Phil Page told the panel, “You can’t compel us to repair the building in the way that Stephen Macknight suggests. You can decide what colour.”

      The Chair still wasn’t clear where/what paint colours would be applied on the building… given there are also raw concrete sections evident to the Water Street façade and concrete beams over doors.

      Phil Page was asked if he wants to do right of reply in writing or by reconvened hearing session. This question didn’t get answered owing to the slightly contorted process that evolved to request the further information.

      The panel has adjourned to await the information from Phil Page. This ‘proprietary’ information will then be distributed to DCC and all submitters.

  15. Hype O'Thermia

    “The applicant was asked what consideration had been given to alternative methods of repair? The reply was not convincing – a short yes, consideration had been given back in 2009 apparently……..” I had a flashback to Malcolm Farry’s first presentation to the public of why a brand new stadium, on that one particular site, was the one and only way forward. “Alternatives had been considered” – yeah, brief mentions of them were made with even briefer tissue-thin reasons given in his assertion that they wouldn’t work.

  16. Elizabeth

    New comment:

    Expert evidence at hearing
    Submitted by ej kerr on Sat, 16/08/2014 – 7:05pm.

    If as the applicant or the applicant’s counsel you have invited experts to give evidence on your behalf, it would be good if the evidence presented at least had a base in writing and was signed and dated by each independent expert utilised. Otherwise there is the flavour of hearsay marched as truth, in public. Of which the hearing panel must be aware.

  17. Elizabeth,
    Well said. I’m sure Crs Kate Wilson, ‘heavyweight’ Benson-Pope and Aaron Hawkins will take into account all your points.

    • Elizabeth

      It was a coup having Stephen Macknight independently submit to hearing – he was able to practically and professionally capture what the other three opposing submitters strongly alluded to and referenced about conservational care and repair of modern concrete and steel buildings, in a listed townscape precinct. Later I will scan the submissions and post, including evidence tabled by the applicant such as it was. Just need a colleague to give me a scan of the product specification material put up by Titus Waterproofing.

  18. Anonymous

    Mr Page has been on the losing side a few times lately…

  19. Elizabeth

    Received today by post from City Planning:
    [click to enlarge or Ctrl +]

    DCC Letter 25.9.15  LUC-2014-203_lowres

    Downloads: (poor copy quality before scanning)

    DCC Letter 25.9.14 LUC-2014-203 (PDF, 155 KB)

    Addendum Report 22.8.14 – Phillip Hartley (Salmond Reed) (PDF, 1.94 MB)

    Review Clear Coating Option 4.9.14 – Phillip Hartley (Salmond Reed) (PDF, 506 KB)

  20. Elizabeth

    This morning we had the reconvened hearing on the application to repair and paint the exterior of John Wickliffe House.

    Commissioners: Kate Wilson (Chair), David Benson-Pope and Aaron Hawkins.

    No condition report for the building giving the type and scope of repairs required to the ‘high quality’ polished (stone) aggregate precast panels has been received from the applicant who appears to want to paint the building on a fashion whim.

    Purpose of the reconvened hearing: the Commissioners requested further information on clear coating options for the aggregate precast panels.

    Opposing submitters for the application in order of appearance were: Stephen Macknight (structural engineer), and Elizabeth Kerr who called expert Russell Lund (construction manager).

    The summing up by the council’s processing planner Sophie Lord followed. Ms Lord recommended that the application for painting and repairing of John Wickliffe House should be “declined in full”. She gave weight to the discussion held today; stated the building requires more thorough investigation and was of the view the Salmond Reed Architects (craftsman) approach to repair methodology should be given some weight; noted the technical issues raised by submitters “expert in their own right”; and placed “most weight” on precinct values and effects from the proposed altered appearance of the building.

    Counsel Phil Page gave his right of reply for the applicant, Plaza Property Trust. By the counsel’s unexplained contrivance, elements of the closing sparked utter incredulity. More on this tomorrow.

    I wondered if Mr Page was at all well.

  21. Elizabeth

    ODT 25.10.14 (page 9)

    ODT 25.10.14 JWHouse - Decision looms on building p9 (2)[click to enlarge]

    █ When the Commissioners’ decision on the resource consent application is made and following the period for appeal, the submissions, evidence and other relevant documents (already in public domain) will be uploaded to this website. [This should be the work of DCC at its website for every notified application, but the council isn’t yet this efficient and transparent. Shame on DCC !!]

    Note: the panel repair in like kind and water-repellent clear coat option suggested by Salmond Reed Architects (Auckland), supported in principle by opposing submitters Macknight, Kerr and Lund, comes at a mere fraction of the cost of the repair-and-paint option preferred by the applicant; this cost effectiveness pertains for the longer term.

  22. Elizabeth

    The most appropriate product for use, recommended in evidence by construction manager Russell Lund – researched for and currently being used on the Clinical Services Building and Ward Block at Dunedin Hospital – is Sikagard®-740 W. This is a clear coat water-repellent impregnation applied by spray, roller and brush. Sikagard®-740 W would contribute in part to a corrosion management strategy for John Wickliffe House. Effecting panel repairs, restoring the surfaces in like kind using aggregate repair specialists, and applying clear coat water-repellent (NOT sealing the precast panels by painting…) is about enhancing building performance in the most cost effective way for the longer term. Russell Lund’s evidence is detailed and astute.

    Structural engineer Stephen Macknight also recommended Sika water-repellent impregnations – one he has used on Consultancy House to good effect, Sikagard®-705 L; and Sika® FerroGard®-903.

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