Dial 111 on the Kapiti Coast, its Wellington Free Ambulance who responds. They are proud to be New Zealand’s only free Ambulance service – attendin
around 50,000 incidents every year. Helping people from north of Waikanae, across to the top of Mount Bruce and down to the Cook Strait. The service costs $23m per year to run, $4million from public donations.
Kapiti services include 24/7 emergency ambulance response, urgent community care for people who need help but not an ambulance, patient transfers, first aid and triaging at community events. In the last year Wellington Free Ambulance responded to over 7,350 calls from around the Kapiti Coast.
Operations have been run from the 1970’s C.W. Johns architecturally designed building. By 2014 it required upgrading and expanding to deal with a growing population and to improve conditions for the ambulance crews.
The brief was to provide a modern fit for purpose facility which was robust, warm and light. The building needed strengthening to 100% NBS for an Importance Level 4 (IL4) Building which is a requirement for buildings that are essential to post-disaster recovery. As response time is crucial for WFA, special attention was required when designing the garage spaces and garage doors.
The first question was whether to demolish the station or simply renovate and extend the existing building. With a one million construction budget the renovation and addition route was deemed the most viable.
The rebuild involved stripping out and replanning the existing spaces and the addition of five bedrooms on the Southern side. The garage was also extended allowing all pre operational checks and procedures to be carried out by the crews with the garage doors remaining closed. This was not possible within the original garage.
There are always challenges when re-using existing buildings, in this case the building’s heavy concrete blockwork construction, and the risk posed by liquefaction during a seismic event required careful consideration. The usual issues came up on site from soft spots under foundations, through to serious amounts of rain at the end of the construction stage applying some pressure to finishing the car parking and site works.
A great team effort from the WFA staff, the specialist building consultants and the main contractor ensured the project was delivered on time and on budget, with the 28 May 2016 opening day, although very wet, a great success.
We would like to congratulate the Kapiti Communiity on their fantastic fundraising. From sausage sizzles, individual donations and children’s discos they raised the funds to make this project a reality. We look forward to seeing you all in ten years at the opening of the time capsule.
We would like to thank our Wellington Free Ambulance, the project consultants and main contractor on the project who made this project an enjoyable process on the way through with a fantastic outcome at the end.
Our thanks to:
Client: Wellington Free Ambulance
Architect: Vorstermans Architects Ltd
Geotechnical Engineer: Engeo Ltd
Structural Engineer: Silvester Clark Consulting Engineers
Services Engineer: E Cubed Building Workshop Ltd
Civil Engineer: Cuttriss Consultants Kapiti
Quantity Surveyor: Ortus International Ltd
Fire Engineer: Ignite Fire Engineering Services Ltd
Main Contractor:Freear Philip Ltd
Please support the ongoing Free Ambulance service. https://donate.wfa.org.nz/