Project Management

The Great War Exhibition Decommissioning

CLIENT Ministry of Culture and Heritage
LOCATION Wellington
VALUE c.$9 million
COMPLETED Completed 2019
SERVICES Building Surveying, Quantity Surveying, Design, Structural Engineering, Project Management, 3D Building Scanning

The task

The Great War Exhibition was held at Wellington’s historic Dominion Building which is owned by Massey University and was leased for the exhibition by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage. The Great War Exhibition was created to mark the centenary commemorations of World War I and featured a large-scale recreation of Belgian street scenes and battlegrounds with many pieces of World War I memorabilia, including artillery pieces and a tank loaned by Sir Peter Jackson.

The exhibition was created in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, Peter Jackson and his film company WingNut Films. Opening in 2015, the exhibition was to run for at least 4 years, but Massey University elected not to extend the lease beyond November 2018.

Following the closure of the exhibition, Hampton Jones was engaged by the Ministry of Culture and Heritage to provide an accurate dilapidations assessment for the government auditors, as previous estimates provided had ranged from $6m to $12.7m! Hampton Jones’s detailed assessment of $9m gave the client the budget certainty they needed. When the lease was not extended, Hampton Jones then developed the assessment into a comprehensive project budget, programme and scope of works for the reinstatement of the heritage building.

Our thinking

This project involved numerous challenges including there being no accurate record of what was there previously or as-built drawings, which needed extensive investigation, contingency planning and subsequent 3D building scanning; the removal of large artefacts (tank, bus, canons etc) required the use of a mobile crane and road closures, along with our sensitive selection of the right sub-contractors to get the job done; the conflicting requirements of the various parties, along with that of the National Heritage Trust and their advisors which complicated the design and quality of the finishes required and working within a functioning campus building which affected access and egress routes, noise, dust, privacy, security, IT/Data, fire systems etc.

This high-profile project held considerable emotional and political interest as The Great War Exhibition meant a lot to those attached to the military (past and present) and was a tourist draw card for the region. It required a high level of confidentiality and sensitive management of all persons associated with attending to this project, therefore strict adherence to RICS best practice and Codes of Ethics was critical in successfully delivering this project.

Overcoming these challenges also required Hampton Jones to provide our full range of services including building surveying, structural engineering, project management, quantity surveying and architectural design to get the job done right – the project truly was a showcase for the range and benefits of Hampton Jones’s multi-disciplinary team approach!

The result

This heritage building was tired and worn prior to the exhibition and this project has led to its full refurbishment. It has been returned to the landlord, Massey University in better condition than it was at lease commencement, which has extended the life of the building and its amenities for the future use and enjoyment of the University and beyond!

The Great War Exhibition Decommissioning was completed in the agreed timeframe and came in under budget, despite the added complexity of a substantial number of disparate stakeholders requiring careful stakeholder management.

Client testimonial

“In my role at the Ministry for Culture and Heritage as Programme Lead for the Decommissioning and Make-good of the Great War Exhibition Project I worked closely with the team from Hampton Jones.

The project was extremely complex – technically challenging with the added complexity of being a heritage building; and also with the nature of the stakeholders involved. The team at Hampton Jones were able to wrap a level of support around the Ministry that meant we were always confident with the advice we received. The technical nature of the decommissioning work meant Hampton Jones drew on a number of internal areas of expertise including building surveying, project management, quantity surveying and engineering.

With Hampton Jones’ support we were able to deliver an end product that was of a high quality, met the needs of stakeholders and was within budget. I am confident that we would not have been able to deliver the project without their support.”

– Sarah Davies, Programme Lead – GWE Decommissioning, Ministry of Culture and Heritage