Kapiti Coast District Council ‘Civic Building’

Kapiti Coast District Council
Construction value: 
$6.3 million
Scope of Works: 

This rabbit warren of a 1970’s building had seismic, maintenance and flooding issues, and a severe lack of public facilities. Armstrong Downes Commercial transformed it into a striking, totally refurbished civic administration centre that is fit for purpose, fully accessible, earthquake safe and reflects 21st Century architecture.

The existing two-storey, 1970’s Council Building (originally a Bank) was stripped back to its bare bones to enable seismic strengthening and redevelopment of the complex. A third of the building was demolished and a new extension added bringing the combined final footprint of old and new building to 2000m2.

Features of the completed building include:

  • New council chambers.
  • Open plan office space for 150+ staff with various sized meeting rooms - all with full interior fitout.
  • Kitchens with recycling facilities to feed the council worm farms.
  • Double glazed façade on the Northern face with laminated cedar fins
  • Concrete floors.
  • Precast feature panels on the East and West ends of the building.
  • Trespa Meteon exterior cladding in a variety of complementary colours and finishes.


Seismic strengthening was undertaken using K bracing and Macalloy high tensile bolts. The old building had already settled into the ground across the whole floor plate and up to 160mm at one end. The new building foundations were preloaded with 18 concrete blocks weighing 50 tonnes to fast-track the settlement before the final stitch jointing between the old and new structures took place.

Significant attention was given to sustainable building processes and the long term performance of the building. Environmental considerations were integral to the upgrade of the Civic Buildings. All the roofing material and aluminium window frames from the original structure were recycled, along with 95% of the structural steel and 90% of the cabling. All the fire protection pipe work was reused or recycled and approximately 10% of the window glass was recycled.

The new meeting rooms were fitted with occupancy sensors to control the air conditioning system. Passive and responsive lighting, heating and cooling techniques are also features of the complex.

The local community and cultural spirit were also important considerations for this project. The laminated cedar fins on the North face are installed to create shade and reduce solar gain. The fins have a facet in them to create the contours to reflect those of Kapiti Island. The base of the timber fins are illuminated by blue LED lights to give the illusion of the sea. Three Maori carvings (Pou) , representing the three iwi of Kāpiti who signed the Treaty of Waitangi, adorn the main entrance of the Civic Building.


The Kapiti Coast District Council Building is now an impressively stunning gateway to the future civic heart of the Kapiti Coast, is respectful of the local marine environment, the form and scale of the adjacent public buildings and the culture of the three local iwi.


Special Info / Challenges: 

Being such a high profile build with considerable community interest and local media attention, Armstrong Downes Commercial undertook community communication and engagement activities to ensure the public was well informed and supportive throughout the construction period. The level of interest both during and after the project is clearly demonstrated by the number of media stories published.