“When TwentyTwo was approached in February 2018 to assist the NZ Defence Force with developing a new facility for their Youth Development Unit (YDU) for the Wellington region in Trentham, Upper Hutt, we jumped at the chance to be involved”, says Paul Mautz, Associate Principal.
“The exciting challenge of this project was not only the site with its existing run-down structures and the varied design brief, but the project required multiple stakeholders to work closely and cohesively together - landlord, contractor, project manager and tenant,” says Paul.
“Our role was to negotiate the commercial deal with the owners of the land/buildings, The Heretaunga Company Limited, to provide input into the design of the new facility and to provide independent advice and guidance to the NZDF during the construction and fitout phases.”
What is the YDU?
The YDU re-establishes the Limited Service Volunteer (LSV) course back in Wellington after an absence of four years. The course is a Government funded programme targeting 18-25 year old people looking to learn new skills to help them into employment or further training. Courses run for six weeks and are manned by personnel from the three branches of the military – Army, Navy and Air Force.
The new facility has been established at the NZ Campus of Innovation and Sport (NZCIS) in Trentham, adjacent to the Trentham Army Camp. The location enables the camp to provide support facilities to the courses.
Adding Value, Tackling Challenges
TwentyTwo’s well tested process to procure new commercial premises helped guide the NZ Defence Force through the challenges of negotiating the commercial terms of lease. “As there is no comparative facility in the Hutt Valley that could be used as a benchmark when negotiating the market rent and key terms, we had to call upon our past experience and property expertise of ‘one of a kind’ deals to be able to reach agreement with the landlord and get the lease over the line,” explained Paul. “NZDF were then able to prepare their supporting business case with the comfort of knowing that the terms were a fair commercial outcome for the organisation”.
Once commercial terms were agreed, and the project moved into the design and planning phase, NZDF were able to tap into TwentyTwo’s extensive knowledge of workplace planning. Paul took the accommodation brief prepared by NZDF and worked alongside the landlord’s architects, HDT Architecture, to design a facility that not only meet the brief, but provided a well configured layout that supported a mix of dormitory sleeping accommodation (90 beds), residential amenities, classroom and training facilities, and support offices facilities for 40 YDU staff from the NZDF, NZ Police and Ministry of Social Development.
“A further challenge was to design the facility to fit into an existing former barracks building in poor condition and three prefab building relocated to the site” says Paul. “We had limited space to ensure the brief could be accommodated, and this required some out of the box thinking to see how we could fit everything in, in a way that met operational restrictions”.
The development resulted in an extensive refurbishment of the former barracks building into high standard dormitory accommodation and supporting amenities, with the office and classroom facilities located within interconnecting prefab buildings. The construction work was undertaken on a turn-key basis by the landlord using Armstrong Downes Commercial Limited as the main contractor.
Testament to the strong working relationship between NZDF, the landlord and the contractor was the completion of the facility on time in mid-June 2019. “It was important to maintain good communication between all parties throughout when the landlord is managing the fitout as well as the building refurbishment” commented Paul. “ It’s easy for changes to be proposed by the tenant but not translated into building variations when you’re not in charge of the works. Gillies Group, acting on behalf of the landlord, project managed the development well and were responsive throughout the construction works”.
The facility was opened by the Honourable Ron Mark, Minister of Defence on 9 August 2019.