Around 10 per cent of soil has now been removed from the site of the $700 million NZ International Convention Centre and pile driving has begun.
Simon Jamieson, centre group general manager, said 23,000 cubic metres of soil had been trucked from the 1ha Hobson/Nelson/Wellesley/Victoria St block where 3.2ha or 32,500sq m of floorspace will be built.
He and recently-appointed operations general manager Callum Mallett gave an update on progress at the country's largest construction site since work started late last year.
Before building work began, months of excavation and foundation work was done.
"You're probably noticing on site that we've done a lot of demolition that's been done over the last few months and excavation is now under way.
"We're about to take out about 220,000 cubic metres of soil, so that's a really big thing to do and we're at about 23,000 cubes now," Jamieson said of the Fletcher Construction site.
"Most recently, Callum and I have been talking to a lot of customers about the centre and we're getting really positive feedback about the design. We're still on target for first quarter 2019 for completion of the project and looking at having the hotel and laneway completed at the same time," Jamieson said.
Jamieson pointed to Hauraki Piling's big rig working on the Hobson St side near where a new Nelson/Hobson St lane between the hotel and convention centre.
Jamieson said foundations would be 25m to 30m beneath the ground surface, built deep into Waitemata bedrock, although depths varied because the site sloped.
No costs had increased and the job remained on budget and on time, he said.
The historic former headquarters of lingerie company Berlei, has now been reduced to its Nelson St facade. That face has been incorporated into the design of the centre, able to host conferences for 3150 people and one-off events for 4000.
Mallett was previously SkyCity Darwin general manager and said he had worked for SkyCity for almost 10 years.
One of the challenges is we're three years out from completion so to be able to engage with clients and be able to let them see exactly what they'll end up and be able to use...this programme's fantastic.
"We're predominantly completing against the east coast of Australia, from Adelaide to Cairns. Association business is always big for these large conferences so you're getting a lot of medical associations that rotate around Australia and hopefully Australasia coming into New Zealand," Mallett said, also citing corporates as another target market.
Around 200 fulltime staff but 800 people would work at the centre, he said.
An interactive sales tool designed by 3D architectural visualisation business Buildmedia was proving useful is discussions with customers, he said.
"One of the challenges is we're three years out from completion so to be able to engage with clients and be able to let them see exactly what they'll end up and be able to use...this programme's fantastic," Mallett said.
The Big Dig
• Estimated total excavation: 180,000 cubic metres
• Completed excavation to date: 23,000 cubic metres
• An Olympic Size pool volume is: 2500 cubic metres
• Olympic Pools (by volume) removed to date: 9.2
• Olympic Pools (by volume) still to be removed: 62.8
• 3.2ha gross floor area
• 24 meeting rooms
• 1327 underground carparks
• 300-room 5-star hotel
• Catering for up to 4000 people