Keola won its first National award this month for building the Magic Kingdom Childcare Centre in Blockhouse Bay, Auckland
This was in the Commercial Project Awards’ Education category – a hotly contested division, where we were up against large corporations such as Fletcher Construction, Hawkins Construction and Naylor Love.
“It’s incredibly satisfying to be recognised for innovative and excellent building practices, especially against such large competitors,” says Keola’ Director, Sanjesh Lal.
“This project is a bit different to our normal niche of architecturally-designed homes, but it needed the exact same skillset of solid engineering and innovation as a luxury home. The project management for the Magic Kingdom Childcare Centre was more complex than usual too, and the project was constructed on time; and with zero health and safety issues.”
What did the project entail?
A derelict two-storey home was transformed into a state-of-the-art childcare centre. The innovative design blends the existing and new structures into a low-maintenance building.
Spaces have been designed with the needs of children and staff in mind. Play areas are sunny and warm, whilst sleep areas are quiet and dimly lit. Strategically placed storage areas provide natural noise buffers.
The childcare centre’s environmentally-friendly credentials
Energy-efficiency is a key feature of the project:
- Solar panels: The solar panels are out of sight and provide continuous power.
- Rainwater recycling: A vast 27,000L water tank (hidden underground) supplies the laundry, toilets and garden tanks with re-useable rainwater.
- Recycled materials: Many materials were recycled and re-used on site, including the broken concrete driveway, which was re-used as hard fill for car parks.
- Re-use of trees: Large trees that had to be felled on the site were also re-used. Some of the large tree trunks were kept and later transformed into carvings for the outside play area. Smaller trunks were used for kids standing blocks. Trees were also chipped and later used as bark for landscaping.
Of course, a Keola project isn’t complete without some site-related challenges!
The site presented a number of challenges: it was in a flood zone; had geotechnical issues; and there were resource consent issues to contend with.
The client also had to start marketing the facility one month prior to construction being completed, and he needed to obtain Ministry of Education certification at the same time. So the furniture was being delivered and installed, and the exterior landscaping taking place, while the construction work was still in progress!
Stressful? Just a tad! Extremely careful project management was needed to ensure that all the contractors could fulfil their commitments.
What does the client say?
The client, Darius Singh, says, “The childcare centre is already a big success for us. It opened on time, despite geotechnical issues complicating the project schedule in the early stages. In fact, the centre was oversubscribed at the time of opening – we are thrilled with that outcome!”
“The last month of the project was crazy. We had to get Ministry of Education approval one month before opening, and of course the construction work was still taking place. Keola was very helpful in the way they adjusted the work schedule, and were very mindful of our commercial priorities. Not only were they good to work with, but also the building work is of a very high standard. I wanted an industry-leading childcare facility, and thanks to Keola, I have that.”