Hawkins was the main contractor for the 178-room Hilton Queenstown hotel that is the major component of Stage One of the Kawarau Village development, located on the Reserve North property on the shoreline of Lake Wakatipu.
The Hilton Queenstown consists of approximately 20,000m2 of floor area over eight levels with a curved wall running through the backbone of the hotel, and boasts 178 bedrooms ranging in size between 44 - 52m2. The hotel also has meeting and event facilities (include five conference rooms) catering for up to 300, a lakeside restaurant, a lobby lounge and wine bar, a gymnasium, and 25 metre indoor heated lap pool.
The hotel also houses Queenstown’s largest spa and New Zealand’s first eforea™ Spa at Hilton - a luxury spa with 10 treatment rooms, steam rooms and saunas..
Hawkins spent almost four years on this project with enabling works, construction and fitout of the hotel before practical completion was achieved in February 2011.
The site management team controlled 48 different sub-contractors and their staff including the procurement of specialist materials for a 5 star prestigious complex. In the months leading up to practical completion Hawkins was managing an average 150 workers on site daily.
Following practical completion, Hawkins staff remained on site to assist the developer and Hilton optimise the hotel to meet Hilton’s operational requirements.
Hawkins commenced construction in October 2007, and the project held many challenges unique to Hawkins and was arguably the largest ever commercial building project undertaken in the Central Otago area.
Resource consent included a building height restriction of 10m above the original lay of the land. This posed a number of challenges for the design and construction teams, such as the inclusion of 18m high retaining walls which had to be completed and certified prior to the commencement of construction.
The site set-out involves approximately 130 grids and 135 piles to support the building together with foundation beams. Complex curved façade internal walls including spiral staircases and car park ramps meant that many of the rooms and spaces were unique in shape and dimensions.
This required very stringent quality assurance systems as duplication was limited and complex junctions were continually encountered.
A number of materials used were developed for this project which required careful planning to ensure that they were an “acceptable solution” under the building code. For example the façade consists of a schist stone veneer and the roof membrane that is covered with pebbles to ensure the building blends into the surrounding environment, both developed for use on this project.
Unlike other major centres the supply and logistics were a challenge in Queenstown, requiring critical planning and procurement. The transient nature of the local workforce, in what is effectively a holiday town, was also a significant operational challenge with constant site induction for new staff.
A number of other buildings were being constructed in the near vicinity of Reserve North which required careful planning around access with other contractors.
The position of the construction site on the edge of the pristine and highly visible Lake Wakatipu, meant strict environmental control systems were employed on the project. Located on a sharply sloping site, and at the foot of a large hill, meant water run off into the lake was a major issue handled by strict site management standards. Hawkins adopted mitigation approaches such as truck washout areas, settlement tanks for chemical and plaster cleaning stations.
As the complexity of the project increased on a weekly basis, programming and cost management systems were being continually fine tuned to accommodate ongoing variations. Hawkins was able to drive cost savings during the construction by providing smart and creative alternative build options to the client without compromising key delivery dates.
The health and safety record on the project was exemplary, and the systems introduced on this project have been praised in raising the overall standards within the local contracting market.
The key to Hawkins success in delivering this project defect free was predicated on creating an effective team environment driven by an underlying passion for the project that was fostered by highly experienced leadership from within Hawkins.