Customer: Eke Panuku
Contract: Construct only
Location: Wynyard Quarter, Auckland, New Zealand
The cement silos in Wynyard Quarter are a striking feature of downtown Auckland’s skyline. They were originally erected by A & G Price in 1961 and were upgraded and repurposed as part of a project to revitalise the area for the Rugby World Cup in 2011.
McConnell Dowell’s Mechanical Team was awarded the contract to urgently repair this heritage structure to ensure the 33m high silos remain a prominent feature at Silo Park for years to come.
- The urgent nature of work required fast but effective management
- A custom scaffolding design
- Working at heights – 33m high in high winds and heavy rain
- Strict controls to ensure public safety
- Coordinating work around ongoing exhibitions within the building
The team was asked to look into the cause of the cladding failure and the conclusion was that the residential polycarbonate coating wasn't robust enough so the team recommended switching to a commercial-grade gel-coated GRP product. The materials used in the rehabilitation works were chosen for their longevity and high quality and the cladding colour was selected to match the colour of the concrete to help blend the new work with the existing.
Designing and installing suitable access to reach the full height of the silos at 33m was the first challenge the team resolved. An innovative scaffolding design with a custom anchoring system enabled the team to reach all areas.
When you are working at heights adverse weather conditions compound the challenges. On this project, the scaffolding needed to be able to withstand the high wind loads as well as provide protection for the team from heavy rain while they were carrying out the remedial works and applying the new concrete cladding. The custom solution was robust and withstood the high winds and heavy rains over the winter.
The silos are used as a gallery space to exhibit art to the public and the best way to manage the safety risk was to programme work around the gallery operations. We coordinated with the client and stakeholders to plan works that mitigated risk to the public and minimised any impact on the exhibitions.
The silos are surrounded by a public park so the team also needed to be mindful of the people using the spaces nearby. The team calculated the space required for effective safety mitigations carefully reducing the site footprint where possible, which minimised the disruption to the park users as much as possible. Secure fencing and clear signage also communicated the work underway and helped keep park users safe.
The newly upgraded silos are now fit for purpose and will remain a feature of the Auckland skyline for years to come.