Builders begin on Hill home

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The first stage of Oamaru’s Observatory Retirement Village construction starts in earnest on Monday.
A 12-person team from Roger Gilchrist Building Services and Fulton Hogan will begin building the platform for the heart of the long-awaited rest-home, which is projected to cost $23 million.
Work to prepare the 3700sq m site began before Christmas. It included building a tiered retaining wall at the boundary of the site and preparing the ground.
The platform will support two buildings _ an apartment block and the community centre and bed-care facility, which will be linked by a walkway.
Observatory Village Trust chairman Ken Scott said consent was granted to begin construction last week and he was excited to it about to start.
“The community centre and bed care facility is the heart of the village and I’m pleased it will be finished first, along with the 12 apartments in the other block.”The first stage will include laying roads and drains, and building retaining walls and other infrastructure.
Project manager Michael Forgie said time and effort would go into making sure the project remained on schedule and within budget.
“This is a big thing for all of us. It’s a complex project and also one we’re doing for the community, so we’ve got two very good reasons right there to keep close tabs on everything.”Mr Forgie said 50,000m of framing timber would be used, as well as 40,000m of electrical cabling and 600 cubic metres of concrete _ nearly enough to fill the 750,000-litre main pool at the Waitaki Aquatic Centre.
The project will use 3900 sheets of plaster board, 600 bales of insulation and 375 doors and windows.
Stage one will take 18 months to complete, with up to 60 tradespeople on site.
Work on independent living villas will begin after the community centre, care facility and apartment block are complete, which is expected to be in August 2017.
However, Mr Scott said that may change.
There was a “strong possibility” that work on the villas might begin sooner if demand continued to grow.
So far, 46 people or couples had expressed an interest in a villa or apartment.
“That’s very encouraging at this early stage and it could easily see us build some villas sooner than planned,” Mr Scott said.

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