The concept for the Novotel Palmerston North was to take a three storey, 1927 heritage building, The Carlton Hotel, and add to it to provide modern guest facilities to compliment the original features.
Our client had purchased the partially developed site after an earlier developer could not complete the project. One thing was for sure – we did not want to see our client fail in the same way. We were determined to make it a success.
After extensive feasibility work that tested the cost benefit of varying room numbers, together with a value engineering exercise, we developed a concept in conjunction with the architect and quantity surveyor that would be successful. The client committed to the next stage of the project and design for a new five storey accommodation block commenced.
However, before we could complete negotiation of a construction contract, steel prices started to rise rapidly due to world demand. We knew that if we did not act quickly the project viability could become marginal, so we convinced the client to pre-order and pay the deposit for all the steel for the project prior to awarding a construction contract. This removed a major cost risk.
Construction progressed smoothly until late in the project when, because of a buoyant Manawatu market, the main contractor faced a shortage of skilled labour.
When it became apparent that the shortage was severely compromising progress, in our typical hands out manner we scoured the North Island, eventually assisting the contractor to source additional labour from Hamilton and Wellington.
To maximise the client’s revenue, the existing Carlton Hotel and conference facilities remained operational throughout, and the new floors were handed over and occupied on a floor-by-floor basis.
We made sure there was always a floor between the Contractors and the occupied accommodation suites, to ensure guest comfort.
The final floor of guest rooms was opened in April 2005, providing the client with an 85 room hotel and conference facilities completed to a high standard of workmanship, achieved within budget.