A foundation was poured for the new Mount Maunganui Lifeguard Service building this week, using 46 truckloads of concrete.
The original plan was to rebuild the leaky club on the existing foundations, but the club said a geotechnical survey in June 2017 revealed that was not possible and significant remedial work was required.
A $900,000 funding shortfall for the project was mainly due to the unexpected foundation work.
Club chairman Paul Manning said, however, there were significant advantages in starting from scratch.
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He said the new tilt-slab building technology meant there would be more usable space in the basement for larger changing rooms and space for craft and emergency vehicle storage.
"The entire basement slab has also been lifted up 300mm, meaning there will be no more drainage issues in heavy rain. This is a huge relief for members and the public alike.
"Having the basement flood during heavy rain not only added to the workload of our dedicated volunteers but also contributed to wear and tear on our equipment."
The new foundations also allowed the design of the top levels to be tweaked to include greater visibility from the lifeguard tower, more common space, better access to equipment and more usable space for community hire.
Manning was confident the basement would be accessible by Labour weekend ready for response and rescue services during the season.
The rest of the structure was expected to be completed in early 2019.
Manning said the club was still fundraising for the build, and that people could donate at www.mountlifeguards.co.nz/donate/