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Clocktower clockThursday 11 August 2016 1:10pm

Dental school exterior image
An artist's rendering of the state-of-the-art concept for the new Dental Building. Image courtesy of Jasmax.

The University of Otago has appointed construction firm Leighs Cockram JV to build its new Dental School.

The University's Project Working Party approved the appointment of the contractor on Wednesday 3 August, and Leighs Cockram JV, a joint venture company made up of Christchurch-based Leigh's Construction, and Australian-based Cockram's Construction, was subsequently notified.

The appointment comes after a two-stage open tender process run via the Government tendering website over 12 weeks. At the conclusion of the process, which evaluated price and non-price attributes of tenders such as construction methodology, quality management, experience with similar projects and managing the links between the existing operations, services, and the new build, Leighs Cockram JV scored the highest and were recommended as contractor. The total value of the project, which includes demolition, the construction tender just announced, and then fit-out with all equipment and furnishings, has been estimated at around $125 million.

University Chief Operating Officer Stephen Willis says the joint venture of Leighs and Cockram brings a unique level of experience and appreciation for health-related facilities, and they are “among a few in New Zealand that we believe are capable of successfully delivering a project of this size and complexity.”

“Leighs Cockram JV brings with them recent relevant experience with a number of the team having just completed the Burwood Hospital project in Christchurch. We also know there will be significant engagement locally from the sub-contract and labour market, which is fantastic for Dunedin, and the local economy.

“It's great to see all the hard work paying off to get to this stage. All the stakeholders, including the Faculty of Dentistry, the Division of Health Sciences, University Property Services and our students, are incredibly excited to finally be starting construction,” he says.

Work is expected to begin this month.

The project managers, Aurecon, who were appointed late last year have, in conjunction with the Dental School and University, re-thought the staging and decanting methodology resulting in a single-stage redevelopment of the Walsh Building. Previously this was going to be done in two stages, with half the building occupied during construction.

Now a new almost-finalised decant strategy will see research, dental technology, histology and some teaching temporarily relocated predominately to the northern end of the campus. The project team has focused on utilising existing space, as opposed to building new temporary space. It is likely the temporary facilities will be in use for 18 months to two years.

“This (strategy) will result in a shorter programme as well as making it safer and more comfortable for students, staff and patients during the works. The new clinical school building will be constructed first and is anticipated to be complete mid-2018, at which point the existing Walsh building will be vacated and refurbished with completion expected in mid-2019.”

A list of Otago experts available for media comment is available elsewhere on this website.

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