A large digger drilling holes for new piles to strengthen the 104-year-old hall.
The cost of restoring the Warkworth Town Hall is continuing to climb.
The Rodney Local Board was told during a workshop meeting last week that a number of expensive and unexpected obstacles had arisen during the restoration project, which started in June.
The issues could add another $500,000 to $800,000 to the project costs, but the full impact of this additional work is still being assessed.
Council senior publicity specialist Liz Kirschberg says contractors have found asbestos, the remains of a tree and a stream under the floor of the hall, and issues with the structural design of the building.
“As with any project, a thorough inspection and assessment was carried out on site ahead of construction but despite this preparatory work, old asbestos sheeting was found buried on site as well as cavities and pockets of soft ground previously undetected, all contributing to unexpected ground conditions,” Ms Kirschberg says. “The asbestos posed no health risk to the public.
“It’s not uncommon to discover new information once works begins on buildings of this age and until the project has been fully reassessed it is not possible to estimate additional costs that might eventuate.”
Board member Beth Houlbrooke says the Board will not fund any cost overruns.
The extra money will likely be picked up by Council’s central risk fund, which acts as a kind of insurance scheme for large projects, she says.
“A portion of every Council project is put into the fund as a contingency for these kinds of situations. We have been told that, hypothetically, because the hall is a heritage building, it will meet the criteria and will be covered by the fund.”
She says the fundraising committee will not be expected to cover the extra costs.
“That would be unfair on them.”
Savings could also be made by making changes to the design of stage two of the project, which includes the new gallery/foyer area.
A full update on the project, including the cost of the extra work and how it will be funded, will be presented at the Board’s next business meeting on December 14.
The cost of the hall restoration increased by $1 million in March after tenders for the work were far higher than anticipated. The Board committed a further $1.275 million to cover the shortfall in June, with $675,000 of that to be repaid by the restoration trust.
The hall was closed four years ago this month due to safety concerns and is due to re-open sometime around the middle of next year.