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Project:e Apartments, Auckland
Life Apartments is Auckland’s tallest social housing highrise, with 18 levels and 92 apartments built on Auckland’s steepest one-way street. The apartments consist of three levels of privately-owned penthouses with the balance leased to the Government for social housing. The building also had to achieve the NZ Green Building Council Homestar Level 6 standard, which meant on-site recycling of materials and waste minimisation during and after construction.
42 Liverpool Street had been seen as un-buildable given the steepness of the street, and neighbouring buildings extending into the site boundaries. James Sutherland was chosen as Project Manager due to his strengths in design, construction planning, and risk mitigation on complex projects.
The project faced multiple site-imposed challenges. Having a loading bay on the steep Auckland street posed a high risk, without strict loading bay and lifting protocols being developed and implemented. Deliveries had to be restricted in size, and concrete trucks could only be loaded to 75% of capacity due to the gradient of the street and the risk of losing the load on the slope. In addition, excavation trucks entering the site at 35 degrees created risks requiring mitigation to prevent roll-overs. Then, partway through the fitout, the partitioning subcontractor went into liquidation requiring the project team to undertake the role themselves.
Due to the high cost of the foundation and groundworks, James had to value engineer the project to ensure its feasibility. This was achieved through the procurement of alternative products such as kitchens, tapware, and whiteware, and painting rather than lining concrete walls in the hallways.
The judges noted that James owned the project across construction, design and commercials. With very good problem resolution he was able to achieve an excellent outcome on a difficult site.