Defence House, Wellington

Client: AMP Capital Investors
Timeframe: Completed 2006

Components: Commercial/ Office- Wellington’s purpose-built headquarters for the Ministry of Defence

Project description:

Xigo team member’s skills in managing large and complex projects were amply demonstrated in the construction of Defence House – purpose-built as a new headquarters for the Ministry of Defence in Wellington.

The L-shaped seven-story office block provides 18,500 square metres of net lettable space plus an underground car park. It was completed in 2006.

Location: Aitken Street, Wellington

Client: AMP Capital Investors

Description: 7-storey office building

Floor Area: 18,500 sq m

Lead Tenant: Ministry of Defence

Other Information: Special security requirements

Main challenges

When Xigo personnel took over as project manager in 2003, much of the initial design work had been completed and resource consents were in place. The first challenge was to get up to speed with existing documents as quickly as possible. There was a lot of “history” to catch up on in a short period.At the time Xigo personnel came on board, no formal contracts were in place with the designers and contractors. They had commenced work on informal agreements, so contracts had to be finalised with all parties – the developer AMP Capital Investors, design/build contractors Mainzeal Construction, CCM Architects, structural engineering company Romulus (now Aurecon) and services engineering firm Beca.

Special security requirements
The Ministry of Defence, due to the sensitive nature of its work, had significant security requirements that had to be integrated into the building. These included blast-proof glass, a network of CCTV cameras and strict access protocols, all of which created some unique challenges for Mallard Cooke as project managers. We worked closely with Defence’s own design team to understand these security requirements and ensure they were implemented.

A further complication was the fact different contractors were engaged for the base building and the interior fit-out, with work being carried out concurrently. This created a challenge to keep everything running smoothly and on schedule.

Our approach

During an intense initial three-month period, Xigo team members oversaw the revision of the benchmark design and its completion according to the Defence Ministry’s very detailed specifications. We then worked with the developer’s legal advisers and others to draw up the Development Agreement and Construction Contract.

With so many different parties involved in this large and complex project, one of Xigo’s personnel key roles was to ensure good communication at all times, to smooth out misunderstandings and keep track of a multitude of details.

We were involved in continual liaison with the developer and tenant – attending meetings with the various parties, following up on action points, issuing instructions, certifying completion milestones and tracking all contract documentation.

Our expertise was crucial in keeping the project on track through to its completion in 2006. Defence House now makes a distinctive statement in one of Wellington’s most prestigious precincts near Parliament.