Preserving this heritage asset, while avoiding disruption to the court timetable

High Court, Auckland

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The Auckland High Court Building, recognised by Heritage New Zealand as a Category 1 Historic Place, was designed by English-born architect, Edward Rumsey, and was first constructed in 1868. There were concerns about localised dampness affecting the timber paneling in an ‘original’ court room and we were asked to investigate.

The project:

Working in collaboration with a skilled heritage contractor, we carried out a detailed invasive inspection and quickly diagnosed the cause of moisture transfer and its consequences in this highly sensitive part of a sitting court, within the original Victorian heritage building.

It was vital that we developed an appropriate repair solution within tight programme timeframes, to enable further examinations and construction repairs to start and fit in with the court timetable. Due to the age and potential for hazardous materials, these areas were surveyed and assessed by sampling, which were then sent to a laboratory for analysis.


Our value add:

During the initial repairs, it became clear to us that additional fabric repair responses would be needed to cracking and spalling brickwork caused by embedded seismic strengthening works from the early 1990s. This confirmed our assumption that significant capital repair works would be needed, and we were engaged to carry out a widespread and detailed site survey of the building fabric. We set up a planned long-term capital works maintenance programme recommending appropriate complementary repairs for the next 10 years, including the future refit for upgrading facilities to new Supreme Court status.

We liaised throughout with the Ministry of Justice property group, the on-site property manager and took the lead consultant role in working with the Ministry’s advisors WSP/OPUS, their engineers and heritage architect.

Given the conservation needs and heritage status of the building, all works needed to be in keeping and seamless repairs completed in matching materials. This required specialist materials analysis and UK resourced stone masonry to complete the works.

Utilising our detailed knowledge and experience of building conservation processes, traditional building materials and conservation techniques, we delivered bespoke documentation and project management services. Working within this high-profile building, we enabled safe and accurate conservation and repairs to be carried out in accordance with expected and agreed standards including the ICOMOS Charter New Zealand 2010 and Heritage New Zealand Pouhere Taonga Act 2014.

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