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No ordinary office move!

At Crown our Business Relocations team is known for taking on the biggest and most difficult projects you can imagine. When the ASB Bank made the decision to relocate staff over 1200 and their headquarters from downtown Auckland to a new ‘state of the art’ facility at the Wynyard Quarter on Auckland’s waterfront they faced one of the biggest logistical challenges Auckland has ever seen. After all, the downside of one of New Zealand’s biggest banks getting this wrong would be catastrophic in terms of their morale, business continuity and public image.  After a lengthy consultation process we were delighted when Crown was chosen to carry out this important and significant relocation project.

The new ASB Bank North Quarter Building is no ordinary office complex. Its distinctive circular exterior boasts a world class façade system and includes a plethora of state-of-the-art sustainable design features. These include energy efficient lighting and air conditioning systems, rain water recycling, eco friendly building materials and many other features that reduce heating and cooling demands. By changing to ‘activity based’ work areas where no employee has an assigned work station they have reduced from an inner city high rise to a 6 level complex where employees can more readily engage, interact and socialise with each other and their customers.

The physical move was not without its challenges and Crown had to call on all of their resources and experience to keep things on track. The biggest hurdle was that there was only one goods lift at the downtown high rise site, this meant everything had to go through a bottle neck that slowed things down considerably. Not just furniture was relocated; there was artwork, the contents of 1200 staff workstations, kitchen, glassware and even an entire gymnasium. Another key aspect of Crown’s role was to package and remove IT equipment from downtown; this was either delivered to the ASB Bank warehouse or reinstalled at the new North Wharf complex.

The project itself took 6 weeks from start to finish. The 1st week involved the clearing out of a 3rd building in Freeman’s Bay, followed by the relocation of the first 65 staff and their effects to North Wharf. During the 6 week period Crown staff worked over 6000 man hours and drove nearly 12,000kms to and from ASB Bank sites in Auckland city. Not only were the buildings emptied but they had to be ‘cleared and cleaned’ for leasing and new occupancies. A major focus was reducing the environmental impact of such a big move which typically would produce hundreds of tonnes of waste for landfill. All of the surplus was tagged for recycling and reuse. A warehouse was leased where 125 tonnes of unwanted furniture and IT equipment was stored and offered to charities and iwi groups for reuse. Over 75 tonnes of metal was stripped down and sent for recycling, surplus stationery was gifted to schools and over 50 tonnes of wood was chipped for reuse.

The last 6 days of the project were the most intense as this involved clearing the majority of the fittings while working to a time deadline. At one time Crown had over 70 staff working 24 hours a day, with 8 vehicles being used to shuttle between the downtown building and the Wynyard Quarter. Bringing a move of this magnitude together is ‘collaboration’ in the true sense of the word and we were very appreciative of the support, direction and expertise offered by the ASB Bank’s Project Manager Alan Barber. Both parties can be very satisfied with the outcome.

This article was written by Stephen Lynch, Quality Support Manager for Crown Worldwide. You can contact Stephen via email: [email protected] if you would like to respond to this article.