Feature Project - Commercial - Undercroft

Client University of Canterbury
Consultants Architect: Warren & Mahoney
Planner: DO Projects
Electrical, Mechanical, Hydraulic: BECA
Structural: Holmes Consulting
Fire: Cosgroves
Value $1.9 million - Stage 1
$3.3 million - Stage 2
Programme 10.5 weeks - Stage 1
17 weeks - Stage 2
Media Canterbury University's Undercroft Development
University of Canterbury
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Undercroft Stage 1 & 2 Brief:

We were first introduced to this project with a project concept, timeline and budget. The project started 1.5 weeks later as a collaborative project between the client, consultants and Image Construction with project documents becoming available as the design progressed - the 2 No and building consents being lodged retrospectively. The brief was to create "an airport lounge" for students to congregate and relax, the 1200m2 space being transformed from a large bike stand and thoroughfare area to an indoor space.

From site establishment to handover, the Stage One of the project was undertaken in 10.5 weeks; Stage Two in 17 weeks.

Contract Management:

Image provided full contract management of the project in 3 main capacities:

  1. Project Management - Image provided various key attributes to the project's success including implementation of our internal quality management systems, critical path programming, subcontractor management and consultant team liaison to ensure the project could meet it's time, quality and budget constraints.
  2. Quantity Surveyor - budget estimates, subcontractor evaluation to full cost management of the project
  3. Site Management - a dedicated Site Manager who let the team on site, implemented construction programmes, upheld health & safety and managed the daily interactions of all site works.

The project consisted of the following:

  • $7 million (Stage 1 & 2) - this includes separate contracts managed by Image
  • 28 weeks from start to completion
  • 5300m2 site area
  • 2 building consents
  • Staged handovers to enable public occupation
  • The project started without any design documents with our team on site 2 weeks before issuing of any drawings
  • Image was part of a design team and were often asked to consult on build ability; cost and budget; and procurement to meet programme
  • Both stages were undertaken on a cost plus basis with fixed price contractors (once we were able to secure a subcontract package) as the design documentation was evolving
  • Consenting and compliance:
    • Stage One had 2 no consents with 3 amendments
    • Stage Two had 1 consent, 3 amendments and 3 Certificate of Public Use applications
  • Undertook budget estimates for the client and provided cost engineering where required for cost savings or budget constraints


"James Woods' management skills ensured that this complicated project ran smoothly. There were hurdles to overcome but James' ownership of the project led to a successful conclusion. James had to navigate his way through various parties maintaining effective working relationships with all. He managed these relationships extremely well, having an understanding of each parties motives and finding solutions to the changing challenges. Communication both written and verbal was clear. James' collaborative approach, positive attitude and ownership of the challenges ensured the project maintained momentum."

Darryl Haines
Warren and Mahoney Architects Ltd

"I have worked with Image in my capacity as Project Architect with Warren and Mahoney for the recently completed University of Canterbury James Hight Undercroft, Phase 2 (UC JH P2) project."

"Image had developed a collaborative working relationship with UC for Phase 1 and our client was keen to retain the services of Image for Phase 2. As Image were engaged, whilst design and documentation was ongoing, they became part of the design team and provided input into cost options and buildability."

"A demanding programme was set by our client to shoe horn design and construction between November [University] exams and the academic year restart. Image responded by managing the daily activity of their direct works and subcontractors. Extended hours were worked and out of hours work was required for concrete pours and noisy demolition works.

The handover dates that Image met given the ever changing scope and scale of the project were outstanding and a direct result of Image taking ownership of the programme and the project."

Project feedback from Warren and Mahoney Project Architect

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