Vogel Centre, Wellington

Client: AMP Capital Investors
Timeframe: Completed 2011

Components: Commercial/ Office- multi-storey office complex with a floor area of 35,000 sq m

Project description:

The Vogel Centre is a high-profile office complex in Wellington’s parliamentary precinct designed to provide a ‘campus’ environment for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Education and Accident Compensation Corporation. It was completed in August 2011.

This seven-year project involved constructing a seven-story office building alongside the existing 1960’s Vogel Building (14 storeys), and connecting both buildings by a six-storey atrium..

Location: Aitken Street, Wellington

Lead Tenant: Ministry of Justice

Other Information: Four Green Star Office Design Rating from the NZ Green Building Council

Main challenges

Xigo personnel came on board as project managers in 2006, two years into the project, just prior to commencement of construction. This created some particular challenges as we had to review the design, resource consents and other documents to ensure the benchmark plans and specifications, the Development Agreement, the Agreement to Lease, the Construction Contract and Consultant Agreements were all in order before construction began.

Changes introduced by the client during the construction phase involved considerable variations to the original design brief. These included the introduction of Environmentally Sustainable Design features and modifications to the building to suit each tenant. We had to manage the implementation of these changes, working closely with the developer AMP Capital Investors, the contractor Mainzeal and designers CCM Architects and Beca.

Because the project involved major refurbishment of the existing Vogel Building, we faced the challenge of having to relocate several hundred staff to temporary offices within the project confines while work was carried out. This had to be achieved with minimum disruption to the functioning of the Justice and Education ministries.

Another challenge occurred mid-way through the project when the Ministry of Justice relocated to their new offices and the Ministry of Education located to the space previously occupied by Justice. Two floors were then modified to suit the new tenancy for Education and staff were relocated there. We negotiated with all the parties involved to successfully achieve this.

To add to the project’s challenges, ACC agreed to lease the remainder of the Vogel Centre tower, which required a further Development Agreement and Construction Contract specifically for their floors. ACC’s fit-out requirements also had to be integrated into the overall development. Mallard Cooke managed these works and successfully completed the building to meet ACC’s needs.

Our approach

Due to the size of this project, it was completed in three separate stages.Stage 1 (2006 – 2008): constructing the new seven-storey building and adjoining six-storey atrium, plus a car park and retail area.Stage 2 (2008 – 2009): refurbishing, extending and re-cladding the exterior of the Vogel Building’s lower floors and connecting to the atrium.

Stage 3 (2009 to 2011): refurbishing, extending and re-cladding the upper floors of the Vogel Building. Improving environmental sustainability

When the original design work was undertaken in 2004, the New Zealand Green Building Council had not established the Green Star Office Design rating system. When this rating system was introduced, our client decided the design should be modified to achieve a Four-Star rating, to make the building more environmentally friendly. This involved significant design changes mid-way through the project.

Efficiencies in power consumption were achieved through making greater use of natural light and other factors, and reducing water consumption though use of natural rainwater and recycling.

Towards the end of the project, the Accident Compensation Corporation entered into an agreement to become a tenant. We were involved in negotiating a development agreement with the ACC, which now occupies nine floors.

The Vogel Centre was completed on schedule. It has allowed the Ministry of Justice and ACC to bring all their staff together in one location, which has greatly improved their efficiency.