The Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre Charitable Trust are excited to announce a further $2.2million in funding by the Otago Community Trust, combined with recent contributions from the Alexander McMillan Trust and Clutha Foundation it will have a significant benefit to the project, further reducing risks associated with increasing construction costs and allowing us to commit to important fitout components. The current construction environment means timely cashflow on projects is critical with the large lead times in procuring materials.
The Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre Charitable Trust has successfully raised grants and fundraising totalling $17,195,714. $7.4 million to date through a successful application and a generous contribution from Central Government Kanoa’ via the Crown Infrastructure Partners “shovel ready” projects fund and $7.5million as part of the Trust’s request through the 2020/2021 Annual Plan process to the Clutha District Council. The balance provided via the following organisations:
- Alexander McMillan – $75,000
- Otago Community Trust – $2.2million
- Committee Fundraising – $12,000 to date.
- Clutha Foundation – $8,000
In light of recent questions and the current community consultation by the Clutha District Council the Clutha District War Memorial & Community Centre Charitable Trust wished also to share some background to the current position of the project.
The project has never been a $15million project. The publicly released feasibility study indicated $20 million. The initial conceptual design process indicated $16.5million – $19.95million across the submissions. The $15 million figure that has been presented in the media came from the Clutha District Councils community consultation material as a figure that Council would contribute 50% of the total project cost up to $15 million as a limit for the rate payers commitment to the project within the context of the 2020/2021 annual plan. Total project costs could not be finalised at this point as the project was yet to go to tender and the detailed design stage of the process had not been completed.
The Trust had made a commitment to the community that we would secure a fixed price contract. We were fortunate to be working with Calder Stewart in the current climate who accepted the risk of the $11.114million base build engagement and allowed us to sign a fixed contract for the base build, especially given a high portion of tender responses having a limited confirmation window at best with a number of contractors now only committing to fixed labour figures and passing on material costs. The remainder of the construction (fitout) is being committed to via contract instructions for fixed portions of work as funding allows us – to lock in costs as soon as it is available.
In regard to cost increases over the initially proposed $16.5million conceptual design, the Trust had worked with design and construction teams to make sure the final design met the community requirements which resulted in a scope increase of ~ $3.1million. Subsequently, a value engineering exercise had been performed with the same group to reduce capital costs by ~$1.8million without compromising the ability to meet the vision of the project nor impact ongoing maintenance costs.
By the time construction commenced in August 2021 the project had however seen a $1.6million in Covid 19 related increases, and as at 31st March 2022 that figure is sitting at ~$3.7million. It is estimated that in the 2 years since Covid impacted the world, overall construction costs have increased by 30%1.
This is far from the suggestion of a ‘budget blowout’ – this has been a conscious effort by a dedicated group of volunteers and a committed construction partner to keep costs in check and get the project across the line in an unprecedented construction environment on what is a complex project.
An increase in the facilities footprint from 3189m2 to 3624m2 and the changes including but not limited to the following aspects below were behind the scope increase:
- Specialist Theatre engagement/fitout.
- Plant changes to support Civil Defence use.
- Increase in mezzanine floor area to allow additional tenancy.
- HVAC changes to allow for Small Bore event use.
- Auditorium flooring enhancements.
- Landscaping changes to tie into streetscape.
- Enhanced acoustic performance to allow multiple events concurrently.
- Variations to spec and fitout to support wider engagement.
- Wool carpet tiles.
- Additional audio in public space to enhance visitor experience.
- Facility automation to aid operational costs.
- Thermal performance enhancements to reduce operational costs.
- Exposed Aggregate to better reference the Clutha.
- Seating Improvements (both comfort and numbers – now 481 in the retractable seating system alone ).
¹ Supported by Te Waihanga New Zealand Infrastructure Commission
- Design changes for Tenancies ( specific storage requirements etc ).
An independent Quantity Surveyor was contracted to review the figures – both post conceptual design and pre construction and found all costs were in line with market expectations at the given time.
The project has already had a positive impact on the local community – aiding in securing roles during the initial lockdowns, supporting the case for other redevelopment’s and relationships formed during the development of the facility aiding current projects advancing the districts tamariki and rangatahi – and the doors are yet to open.
As mentioned we have already received questions from local groups, we encourage you to do so also should you have concerns regarding the project.
The Trust can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org and via @cluthacommunityhub on Facebook or Instagram.