New building update: It’s business as usual for the Wanganui team

For the next eight months, the 16 staff are working in temporary offices in Victoria Avenue but come April, the team will be back in their original site on Wicksteed Street, albeit in a newly built office building.

Practice manager Cathy Barrett says the company had to leave its 1930s home in Wicksteed Street – Moore Stephens Markhams Wanganui’s home for the past 35 years – because of issues associated with rising damp and the need for the building to be earthquake strengthened.

“In March 2013 we were advised that structural strengthening was required as per local council bylaws. That would have meant strengthening and renovating our building.  The building also suffered badly with rising damp, which started in my office!” says Cathy.

“We’ve battled with the problem for the past seven years and about a year ago we noticed it had crept up to one metre up the walls. There was 40 percent dampness down one side of the building and across the front, which made the building not only unhealthy, but unstable.

“After many attempts to remedy the problem including sealing one side of the building twice, the damp returned.  We realised there were no guarantees that any further action would fix the problem so the partners crunched the numbers and made the decision it would be better to demolish the building and start again.”

On 2 August, the demolition crew moved in and flattened the building.  What will be built in its place pays homage to the original 1930s bungalow. The partners’ intention is to use clients for the project’s supply and trade, with Houghton Gemini Pepper Construction as the main contractor.

“What has been designed is a single-storey building in keeping with the look of the old building, which was very important to the partners.  Like its predecessor, it will have a tiled roof, stucco outside, a brick fence and brick trims on the windows.

“The new office building will be significantly bigger, which is welcomed by all.  The old building wasn’t functional and we had run out of room.  Nine Richard Millward business advisory staff will also move in with us so everyone will be on one site. It will be great to have more space.”

Moving into the new offices in April will bring some changes to the work environment for the staff, due to the open plan layout. There will be meeting rooms for privacy and a board room equipped with latest technology available for clients to use at any time.

According to Cathy, moving into the temporary offices in Victoria Avenue has taught everyone some good lessons.

“We didn’t realise how much gear we had!  It took four days to move out of our building, even with a moving company.

“We learned that we keep a lot of paper we don’t need, which has pushed us to modernise our processes and work towards being a more paperless operation.

“The partners have also used the move as a catalyst to adopt more technology. For everyone, it’s been an opportunity to look at the business and improve the way we do things.

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