Kerikeri Primary School 

New junior block


Kerikeri Primary School is a fast-growing primary situated in the Far North. Their long-term vision is to develop collaborative learning spaces across the school to enable
learning environments that fit their inquiry, play based learning focus.

The block was designed as an open plan, innovative learning environment with four teaching spaces, a centrally located
shared space housing a kitchen, and an art bay, a 6-cubicle toilet block and two large covered outdoor learning areas.

The concept was Avail Pacific’s, with working drawings by
School Support Ltd. The majority of the consultants, main
contractors and subcontractors were local.

We worked closely with the school property team to design a new four teaching space junior block with a shared open common art and food science area. The open, flexible spaces integrate with the existing landscaping area outside.

We tendered out the working drawings and managed the
secondary consultants through to Building Consent. We then managed the procurement and construction of the development.

The resulting new building has been designed to create two outdoor large covered areas and four teaching spaces which flow into a central multipurpose space that has an art sink/wet area to one side with a small kitchen bench for simple food tech/science work on the other.

Challenges met and value/benefits provided:

Open book process - The project was approved in the
school’s 10 Year Property Plan which was issued four years prior to the start of construction. Although we had a solid QS and potential contractor costings from the period of approval, the substantial rise in construction costs left us without adequate project funds when tender responses were received. We worked through an open book process with the chosen contractor and received additional funds from the MOE prior to awarding contract. The construction was delivered within the revised budget.


New solutions - During procurement, we found that the
main sewer line that the new build was to connect to had
collapsed. We quickly found a new solution to connect the building to the reticulated system via a new gravity-fed line.

Stakeholders engaged – A Project Control Group was
initiated early in the process and roles and responsibilities
were clearly designated within the PCG’s terms of
reference. A stakeholder strategy was agreed and the PCG included key contacts from the identified factions (BOT, school, community, MOE). A clear plan with well-defined deliverables was socialised and additional stakeholder voices were heard and managed through an invitation to provide feedback to the PCG.

Safe operations – The construction period took place over two school terms, which meant the school had to operate with a construction site on its premises. Keeping the school open and fully operational is critical, so a detailed programme of works was drawn up and reviewed weekly to ensure that essential services were not shut down during construction, closing the school.


Communication – It was crucial to engage the Board of
Trustees, senior executive and wider school community
from the start. A change of principal and BOT part way
through the project then led to conflicting design visions.
We set out clear goals and objectives in a formal communication plan and built visible responsibility into the ongoing management of the project.

Outcome: The construction was delivered within the revised budget and was noted by the MOE as achieving a lower $ per sqm figure than multiple, similar-sized project.

The project includes:

• Strategic and master planning
• Architectural design
• New build and internal refurbishments
• Managing tender process and procurement
• Managing construction
• Stakeholder engagement and management
• Open Book processes

Quality outcomes were achieved through:

• Identifying and engaging key stakeholders early in the process.
• Defining the roles and responsibilities of the PCG and
enabling sound decision making and a no surprises environment.
• Allowing adequate time and flexibility to ensure the wider community was communicated with and engaged.
• Including regular input from senior executive, teachers,
ancillary staff and students into the design brief.