The Justice & Emergency Services Precinct (the Precinct) is a $300 million project led by the Ministry of Justice, to bring together all justice and emergency services in one purpose-built, leading-edge precinct in Christchurch’s central business district.
Expected to be operational by the end of 2017, the Precinct will be used by an estimated 2,000 people daily. Set to be the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history, and the first major public building to be built in Christchurch by the Government since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.
The Precinct will combine:
- New Zealand Police
- Ministry of Justice
- Department of Corrections
- Fire and Emergency New Zealand
- Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management Group (National, Regional and Local)
- St John New Zealand
Behind the scenes
We spoke with some of the team working for the main contractor Fletcher Construction on the Precinct project, including John Leen of John Leen Plumbing (JLP), and Steve Skidmore of Marley NZ, to get their insights on the unique challenges this 42,000m2 area commercial build presented.
“We set in place a strategic plan back in 2013 which included a watching brief on the rebuild works in Christchurch post-earthquake.” says John Leen, owner of JLP.
“In November 2013 I came to Christchurch and set up a new JLP division.”
JLP initially tendered and won the in-slab and civil works, before securing the full plumbing package for the balance of the building, seeking Marley’s products, planning and design expertise for the siphonic rainwater system: Marley Akasison Siphonic Drainage.
“JLP started in-slab works in July 2014 and we’ve had a presence on the site since then.” John says. “We celebrated 30 years in business last October and we are thinking of taking up plumbing full time!”
BIM for the win
Steve Skidmore is Marley’s NZ-based National Technical Sales Engineer, assisting architects, developers, engineers and specifiers in designing the Akasison siphonic roof drainage systems for projects NZ-wide.
The Precinct certainly posed more than a few challenges. “The buildings are complex, with inputs and requirements to consider for all disciplines,” said Steve, adding “JLP’s use of Building Information Modelling [BIM] meant coordination between the requirements of architecture, structural, plumbing, mechanical, electrical, data, and HVAC [heating, ventilation, air conditioning] could all be modelled in advance to secure a route for siphonic pipework through the ‘busy’ building ceiling spaces and service risers.”
If a section of work is not modelled then you don’t know if you might have a clash.
John adds, “We worked very closely with the project team to complete the plumbing install in the 3D world of BIM.”
“The software allowed us to create the full plumbing install in conjunction with the structure and other sub trades, and review the clashes on desktop in 3D.” John said. “This is an exceptionally good process to ensure the bulk of the works are coordinated prior to site install.”
This enabled JLP to install major pipe runs very early in the construction stage, working around other trades without major conflict issues.
“Like all new technologies, there were some fish hooks so to speak,” says John, “But they were well outweighed by our ability to get in front of the installation programme.”
“The greatest learning is that you need everyone in the waka paddling in the same direction, if a section of work is not modelled then you don’t know that you might have a clash, but if you were in the waka you had a lead on those that were not!” says John.
Size & seismic
A lot of complexity came down to the sheer size of the project, however Christchurch’s high seismic activity brought with it additional requirements. The allowance for movement in the design of the buildings meant the many soil, stormwater, water and gas pipes that crossed this plane also had seismic considerations.
“They had to have seismic joints installed from fixed-up to fixed-down, literally hundreds of them, which also meant all in-ceiling services had to have seismic restraints and hangers fitted, so in a major seismic event, these services not only survive but continue to operate.” John explains.
“This meant there was significant emphasis put into services having dual standby and duty type, including dual water supplied from adjacent streets, water storage supply tanks, sewer storage tanks, dual gas supplies, backup power supply via generators, fire system backup supply, and various security, data, communications, and BMS type support.”
In excess of a thousand onsite
With the project’s size also came the complication of getting sufficient staff. At the height of the project, JLP had around 30 staff onsite at one time, including contracts admin, quality assurance, site foreman and a variety of trades. This included around 12 Filipinos, 4 Frenchmen, various English and Irishmen and a base of Kiwis.
“If it were not for our ability to employ overseas immigrant tradespeople, we could never have completed this type of project.” John says.
Marley’s team, led by Steve Skidmore, provides a unique service in New Zealand, with Marley NZ able to carry out siphonic designs locally and liaise directly with expertise within the wider Aliaxis group (Marley’s parent company), with 15,700 staff across 40 countries.
The Achilles heel of other siphonic systems is the design team being offshore, often delaying installs when changes are required. Marley’s behind-the-scenes support team are always exceptionally helpful with technical answers and support for whatever we may require
“We place all our orders though Plumbing World, our preferred plumbing supplier, who supplied all of the ‘behind the wall’ plumbing requirements for this project and have provided strong support.” says John. “Between Marley and Plumbing World we always get a great response.”
As well as many other suppliers and contractors, JLP also worked with Mico for ‘front of wall’ fixtures, as well as Humes for the bulk of the civil work requirements, Tauranga-based Hose Supplies for seismic requirements, and Viaco for special seismic fixings.
Heaps of roof
Over 9,000m2 of roof area bought its own unique challenges.
Pipe runs with NO falls excites architects and consultants
Heaps of roof meant heaps of gutters and outlets, somewhere around 2.5kms of pipe, the equivalent Unirail support system, and around 110 outlets, all acoustically wrapped, seismically supported, air tested, then water tested from ground to flood level.
JLP also installed a complete Marley uPVC overflow secondary path system to deal with any water if for some reason all siphonic outlets managed to get blocked.
“The roof areas were all dual layer torch-on products which also determined the minimum falls from high points to outlets in the box gutters,” John says. “This kept all the outlets at approx. 8m centres so the fall in the gutters maintained the torch-on guarantee requirements.”
“The Akasison siphonic system allows you to run all the horizontal pipes in the ceiling space level, so with the size of the building that meant very long runs, which if falls were required, would have meant most of the system would be hanging through ceilings!”
“Pipe runs with NO falls excites architects and consultants, as this means less space required for services and high ceiling heights. Plumbers do not need to work out falls and it is easy to install.” says John.
The Marley Akasison Siphonic Drainage system saves space, frees up design, and reduces material and installation costs.
The concealed system rapidly drains water, siphoning through small pipes close to the roof to maximise space, allowing more flexibility for routing of pipework, giving more usable space inside the building due to small pipework that can be installed horizontally with zero gradient.
Find out more about the Akasison Siphonic Drainage system for your next commercial project.
Pictured above: Steve Skidmore, Marley & John Leen, John Leen Plumbing