The refurbished Blenheim District Court has been held up by the Ministry of Justice as a benchmark in terms of both process and results.
The original courthouse fell well short of modern requirements. In bringing the building up to a standard that met those requirements, The Building Intelligence Group brought in a conservation architect and worked with the Historic Places Trust to determine elements of key significance based on their social, heritage and architectural merits.
The Building Intelligence Group also developed a management plan to balance conservation requirements with functional requirements, and to achieve an outcome that met the objectives of both the Ministry of Justice and the Historic Places Trust.
The result is a facility that has the space and design to meet modern day court needs, but which retains the important features that give it a new future as a historic court building.
During the 14-month construction period, the court remained fully functional. The Building Intelligence Group pulled all stops to meet the Ministry of Justice’s need to continue operating the court as usual, including reducing demand on the court house during refurbishment by constructing a temporary Family Court facility off-site.
Critically, The Building Intelligence Group also ensured a high level of stakeholder management to ensure the needs of all those who utilise the court rooms were managed through the transition period. The project ran smoothly, with minimal interruption to the court functions.
A key challenge of this refurbishment was to honour the heritage significance of the 1937 building, while meeting the building and system needs of current day court operations, and to do all this while maintaining business as usual for an operational court.