Taking on the smallest room(s) in the multi-storey BNZ Tower

Taking on the smallest room(s) in the multi-storey BNZ Tower

The bathroom might be the smallest room in a home (or in this case, office tower) but it’s often the trickiest to plan and renovate. Since  it involves ripping out old fixtures, upgrading plumbing, hardware, walls and floors, a bathroom renovation can quickly blow out to become a huge (and expensive) job.

Imagine then, if you were tasked to take on ten such bathroom renovations across multiple floors of an inner-city office building – all while it’s occupied, and being used Monday to Friday. Daunting for most, but challenges like these are all in a day’s work for Datum Projects’ expert fit-out team.

Planning to upgrade the bathroom facilities in downtown Auckland’s BNZ Tower began over two and a half years ago, just as Covid was making itself known on NZ shores. Due to inevitable postponements, it’s only been recently that the Datum crew have been able to undertake the project to take BNZ’s bathrooms from acceptable to amazing. The stunning high-end finish with porcelain tiling and granite worktops is a world away from the lacklustre cubicles that used to be there.

Datum Projects’ Managing Director Seth Gleeson picks up the story; “Once we got the go-ahead to start work, we were very conscious that this was a trading building, so the goal was to create as little disruption as possible.”

With a 24-hour call centre in the building, Datum planned any noisy demo work for the quieter times, and minimised dust, mess and removal of materials by only working on two floors at a time.

“This way, we were able to really hone our processes to complete them within a very short window. Then once we got the sign-off for those spaces, we’d move on to the next two,”
explains Seth.

With this incremental approach, both the client and Seth’s team were able to make sure they were happy with the result, and ensure all the finishes and layout worked.

“We made a couple of changes to our initial design, such as moving a mirror, so it didn’t reflect the bathroom’s occupants going about their business,” Datum’s General Manager Adrian Donlan says with a grin. “We’ve been able to evolve the design and get it to a point where everyone is happy with it. It reflects well on the landlord – BNZ – to provide such great services for their staff and tenants.”

Maintaining flexibility is also pivotal when it comes to supply of materials in this Covid environment. “There’s a bit of a gap in completing a few floors because we are waiting for more stone to come into the country,” Seth notes. “Materials procurement is keeping us on our toes, for sure, despite us ordering them seven months in advance.”

Project delivery, even in challenging times, is a hallmark of the Datum experience. Seth cites excellent management of expectations and constant liaison with stakeholders as mandatory. “We have our own incredibly high standards we bring to every job,” he states, “so we aim to meet our clients’ expectations and more.

“At the end of the day, to pull off a project like this, across multiple storeys, with serious constraints around supply and delivery – plus the added disruption of people getting sick with Covid…,” Seth shakes his head in wonder. “I think it just reflects the diversity of work we carry out and that we can master (and deliver) any form of interior project.”