From a workforce of 170 people at its peak, Hawkins Construction had just 25 people on Auckland Art Gallery's $121 million refurbishment and extensions early this month.

The massive project is winding down and workers are leaving the job which Mike Farrelly, project superintendent, said he and Grant Thomas, project manager-engineer, started on September 3, 2007.

"It's all happening. It will be four years to the day since Grant and I started on this," Farrelly says with a tinge of sadness, referring to the gallery's reopening date on September 3.

"Most of the gear is out on the forecourt. It's just the outside stuff that's going on now, like laying paving stones on Kitchener St. Most of it has already been handed over," he said.


The gallery project involved significant civil works.

Retention piling, soil nails and ground anchors were used to allow excavation and construction of new basement levels between the heritage buildings.

"The project features a new structure made of concrete and structural steel that utilises an innovative post-tensioned facade system.

"Significant seismic strengthening of the 1887 and 1916 components of the main building is required to bring the existing heritage buildings up to current design codes," Hawkins said.

"This is also a job that is all about the details. The design aspirations involved with the Auckland Art Gallery development have required Hawkins to procure 2500sq m of New Zealand kauri for the ceiling of the gallery, German jura stone for the exterior, American white oak for the floor and specialised glass from Europe, America and Asia.

"The glass being employed is available from only four factories in the world, as they were the only places that made glass panes large enough," the business says.

Hawkins has had a strong orderbook of civic jobs, having also completed the Aotea Square and carpark upgrade and now finishing the Viaduct Events Centre on the site of the former Oracle America's Cup base, ready for Rugby World Cup. "The 6000sq m multipurpose facility has the capacity to host up to 3600 guests for exhibition, conference and hospitality configurations," Hawkins says.

A new student accommodation block for Auckland University, Christchurch International Airport's new terminal building, the newly-opened Hilton Queenstown and covered Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin are just some of the other jobs completed recently.


Auckland plays
* Auckland Art Gallery

* University of Auckland student accommodation

* Viaduct Events Centre, Auckland

* Novotel Auckland Airport

* Gateway Plaza, Wynyard Quarter

* Meade Clinical Centre, Hamilton

* Christchurch International Airport

* Hilton Queenstown

* Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin
Source: Hawkins Construction