Department of Conservation

The multi-award-winning Department of Conservation (DOC) headquarters in central Wellington was named by a Seattle-based environmental website as the world’s ninth top ‘green’ building, and is the first in New Zealand to incorporate the internationally recognised ‘Green Star’ rating.

Leading the way in ecologically sustainable buildings, Conservation House (Whare Kaupapa Atawhai) is one of New Zealand’s most environmentally friendly buildings, with features strongly connected to the external environment.

Located at 18-32 Manners Street, the new office takes up four floors of the building and is the first 5 Green Star refurbished building in New Zealand. Impact’s role was to manage the design, tender and construction process for the fit-out and new furniture, in parallel with the landlord’s upgrade work.

The challenge was to ensure coordination between these two substantial projects to ensure a minimum of disruption and a maximum of cooperation, all within a tight construction timeframe.

The schedule was made even tighter by one of the worst winters on record, leading to a significant delay in the new building being handed to DOC for the fit-out. As is often the case, the date for relocating staff to the new building couldn’t be moved!

Despite these constraints, a combination of Impact’s extensive project management experience and excellent teamwork ensured the project was completed on time.

The project’s end goal was the relocation of 320 staff from three buildings elsewhere in the city into one ‘green building’. Sustainable design features included:

  • A hybrid natural ventilation and mechanical air-conditioning system
  • Energy-efficient equipment and components
  • Intelligent temperature and light control systems
  • Maximised use of natural light
  • Products that were either recyclable or made of recycled materials
  • Low-emission equipment and products
  • Rainwater harvesting for toilet flushing and irrigation
  • Timber sourced from sustainably managed forests
  • In-house recycling
  • Open-plan office space.

Impact was appointed project manager in 2005, responsible for managing the building’s design, tender, construction, fit-out and furniture procurement process. In addition, Impact had the logistically challenging task of relocating all 320 staff in one weekend. Meticulous planning achieved the result!

In 2008, the building was one of three national winners in the New Zealand Institute of Architects’ Supreme Awards. Impact is immensely proud to have played a major part in this success.

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It was always going to be a challenge to build New Zealand’s first green building; we all had a lot to learn. However, Impact had an excellent reputation for understanding and meeting client requirements, so we were confident the project would be in good hands. The result has exceeded our expectations, setting a new standard for environmentally sustainable design in New Zealand – and Impact played a key role in making it happen.

- Dave Alcock, Project Manager, Department of Conservation