Blog

DEC 09 2021

Building Remediation - With Challenge Comes Opportunity

If there’s anything we’ve learnt over the years, it’s that with challenge, comes opportunity.

It’s a mentality that’s become even more relevant as we steer our way through and out of the pandemic, navigating the affects and challenges wrought by COVID-19.

At its inception, Creative Arch’s sister company, Resolution Arch, took on building remediation as its core challenge. Over the years, it’s become clear that with that challenge comes huge opportunity to add value, create clever solutions and to genuinely make a positive impact on the lives of the people we work with.

At the end of the whirlwind of change that is 2021, we’re looking back at the last 13 years of business. We’re reflecting on our projects, the impact we’ve had and what’s next for the future of building remediation.

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The construction industry is a massive contributor to the New Zealand way of life.

It’s estimated we spend 70% of our time in our built environment, so our spaces have a significant impact on our wellbeing. Add to that the contribution of hundreds of thousands of jobs, and billions to the economy, and you have a sector that influences us socially, financially, and emotionally.

So, when that built environment is defective, it can be devastating.

At Resolution Arch, we’ve seen first-hand how building defects affect the lives of the people who live and work in them. From the first signs that something is amiss, through mediation, remediation and construction, it’s an emotional rollercoaster.

Since its inception in 2009, Resolution Arch has been at the centre of this complicated and challenging world of building remediation.

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In 2009, the ‘leaky building crisis’ was ramping up in New Zealand. The late 1980s and 1990s had seen an increase in risky designs built with substandard materials and overly complicated systems. Buildings were designed and constructed with monolithic cladding, inadequate rooves and convoluted junctions and as a result, they were not protected from the elements. Water ingress caused significant damage, and Resolution Arch was formed to be part of the solution, using architectural remediation to implement redesigns.

The team quickly realised that their designs would be a fresh start for their clients and with thoughtful architectural techniques, they could significantly improve the lives of these people, financially and emotionally.

In the beginning, the team honed their skills with residential recladdings of homes affected by the leaky buildings crisis. At the centre of this was a close client-architect relationship, to ensure that the design solution not only fixed the defects, but revitalised and bought new life to their home.

Simply removing and replacing an external deck that was contributing to water ingress may have solved the problem, but enclosing it, converting it to an internal system increases the usable internal floor area and often the value of the house. Changing a flat roof to a pitched roof not only fixes issues of drainage, but lifts ceiling heights.

It’s these lines of thought that have informed Resolution Arch’s design process through the years as the projects have increased in size and scope.

These days, projects range in size from multi-unit developments to apartment buildings with hundreds of apartments within them. For large scale projects, it’s important to work just as closely, and with the same amount of care with Body Corporates as we did with individual clients. And the core values of the team remain the same.

If design and our built environment directly affects our quality of life, then remediation is an opportunity to add value, financially and emotionally, with intelligent solutions. 

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Architectural remediation is technically challenging, a puzzle of sorts that requires the designer to find solutions that work within the existing building. It’s a skill honed over many years and multiple types of projects, and it’s safe to say we’re experts in the field.

As we near the end of a troubled 2021, architectural remediation is just as important as it was in 2009, and just as tumultuous for the people involved. The construction industry has come a long way since the early 2000s, but building defects remain prevalent in New Zealand. While it was weathertightness issues that wrought havoc a decade ago, today we face a future of buildings built during the pandemic, where supply chains are severely disrupted, and labour and material costs are rising rapidly. As the industry tries to keep up with housing demand, the quality of building is beginning to dip, and the need for remediation in the future increases.

For Resolution Arch, through the challenges and changes of the industry, and the madness of the pandemic, our core values have remained steadfast. We want to use our skills in architectural remediation to create solutions that really improve the lives of our clients.

While the future of the industry remains uncertain, the team at Resolution Arch is ready and excited for the challenge.