Repair work on the Nautilus apartment block in Orewa has made good progress, with completion expected in a year’s time.
Prendos NZ is project managing the work and contractors began repairing the 12-storey leaky structure in November 2016 after the High Court ordered Auckland Council to pay around $25 million for repairs.
The project, which includes completely re-cladding the structure and repairs to the roof and podium, was expected to take two years but the damage was found to be more extensive than initially thought, leading to the time and cost overrun (HM November 2017).
A further complication is that the cladding originally used on the building was the type that has become notorious after the tragic fire at Grenfell Tower in London last year, where many lives were lost.
Prendos director Philip O’Sullivan, who has oversight of the repair work, says the replacement cladding is fire-resistant laminated solid aluminium.
Another key difference created by the repairs is the fully drained and ventilated cavity behind the cladding. There are also open gaps between each panel to let air in (but keep water out) to pressurise the rear cavity.
Mr O’Sullivan says that the building’s shape creates a number of unique angles, junctions and challenges for the builders and the cladding installers to overcome along the way.
The works programme will soon include replacing the roof and work on the inside has already commenced – improving fire barriers and penetrations. Next on the list is remedial work to the podium.
“Remediation of buildings can be a can of worms, but with a great crew on site, good clients and excellent neighbours, the Nautilus continues to be an enjoyable and rewarding project,” Mr O’Sullivan says. “After a tentative start, things are now really steaming ahead - we are starting to glimpse the finish line; sometime around July 2019. This can’t come too soon for the owners who have had to endure years of litigation, followed by remediation.”