Civic Centre

  • Project typeNew build
  • Project value$48 million
  • Project schedulePlanned completion - November 2022
  • Contractor nameCanam Commercial
Whangarei new civic building preliminary design

Whangārei District's new civic building will be a fit-for-purpose building, designed to provide a welcoming, inclusive and easily accessible customer experience. The building will be designed to be sustainable and to strongly reflect our cultural identity and heritage.

The building will be a central hub for local government-related activities, including:

  • democratic processes
  • customer services
  • administrative functions
  • council staff
  • Northland Transport Alliance staff.

Preliminary designs of the new Civic Centre building

Why do we need a new civic building?

To put it simply, we outgrew the current facility about 20 years ago and we have been struggling to get by since then.

Our District has continued to grow over the last 20 years, and while we've tried to keep our staff numbers down, in order to adequately serve our community, Council staff numbers have grown too. With population growth expected to continue we need to ensure we have a central place for our community and to support staff in delivering outcomes for our District.

While Forum North has served us well, it is far too small for the staff we need for a district our size, meaning we have had to rent more space and spread our staff across separate locations – which is really inefficient and costly to the ratepayer.

We looked at extending and refurbishing the existing building, but because of its design (and the cost to bring it up to current building and earthquake standards) this was going to be the most expensive option.

This civic building will be a community hub for all local government-related activity, with enough space to house all of our current staff under one roof, while providing an open and engaging customer interface. First and foremost, the civic centre is about bringing our team together in one building and enabling us to deliver a more efficient service for our community. 

What happens in a civic centre?

A civic centre is a hub for all local government-related activities.

There will be a customer service centre, Council Chambers and offices for our District's staff – the things that are in every local government building around the world.

Whangārei's civic centre will be where we draw up plans and strategies to support future growth and to make Whangārei a desirable place to live, play and work.

Essentially, a civic centre is where everything that needs to be done in order for our city to function in a positive and productive way gets done.

We want to make the new civic building as welcoming and accessible as budget allows, so our whole community finds it easy to interact with Council staff – whether that's talking to a Councillor, making enquiries about your property or our services, applying to do something or attending a meeting.

How much is the project costing, and what does that include?

The budget that was allowed for in the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan was $38 million for a building with a footprint of 5000 sq.m. At a full Council meeting on 27 February 2020, Council moved to increase the size to 7000 sq.m. The new total budget for the completed project (including construction, fit out, land purchase and all professional services and compliance activities) is $48 million.

The change in scope will future-proof the construction for high projected growth of Whangarei District (revealed in the latest Census data), ensuring we have a civic building that is fit for purpose now and on in to the future. The new scope also allows for the Northland Transportation Alliance to be housed within the Whangarei District Council civic space.

We recognise this is a huge amount of money. This budget is to cover construction and base fitout costs of this project, not just the physical building shell. This is why the amount might seem higher in comparison to other projects.

This budget includes:

  • $3.4 million land purchase from Returned and Services Association (RSA)
  • demolition
  • architectural design and building plans
  • resource consents and building consents
  • access and parking
  • internal fit-out and
  • building construction.

We will be totally transparent about the cost of this new community asset – which is why we have grouped all costs together in one place – rather than break it into smaller bits.

We're one of the largest organisations in Whangārei, so putting us all into one home is a big project!

Why aren't we using local contractors?

In short, we are!

The lead contract was won by Canam Commercial, who have been doing an increasing amount of work in Northland and want to use our project as a springboard to establish a permanent operation in Whangārei. We're sitting at an average of 84% local contractors, suppliers and consultants onsite, you can see a list of some of these companies below.  

We have also established a partnership with NorthTec to ensure a minimum of 10% (we're currently averaging 15%) of all workers onsite are local apprentices or trainees. That means that one in every ten people working on the new civic building will be either learning a new trade, or getting practical experience in a trade they're currently studying.

In fact, there are already many local firms on the team, and the intention is to use as many other local trades (e.g. tiling, painting etc.) as possible. One way or another, there will be plenty of locals employed on this project.

Here's a brief list of some of the local contractors, suppliers and consultants currently involved in the project: 

Local contractors

  • Barfoote Construction
  • Treescape
  • Culham Engineering
  • McKay Electrical
  • Airzone
  • Gasworks & Plumbing
  • Northland Scaffold
  • Traffic Management NZ

Local consultants

  • Cuesco
  • Littoralis Landscape Architecture
  • Cato Bolam
  • Reyburn and Bryant
  • Telfer Young
  • Matakohe Architecture + Urbanism
  • Landform Consulting
  • JAS Civil (sub consultant to T&T fro proof piling)
  • Geometria

Local suppliers

  • Carters
  • Hirepool Whangārei
  • Northland Waste



9 Rust Ave, Whangārei 0140  View Map

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