It has been reassuring to have Greenstone as a trusted project manager for our clinic builds because every project throws up challenges that need experience and expertise to find good solutions.Alex, Fertility Associates
The ultimate goal of this project was to create a calming, peaceful and tranquil space for the patients of Fertility Associates, Wellington. Environment plays a part in fertility success, as such it was imperative for the client to provide an appropriate setting for its patients in order to create a safe space for their fertility journeys. The client wished to move away from the outdated site on Victoria Street and develop a more modern space, reflecting new life and new opportunities.
Greenstone Group joined forces with the client, Fertility Associates, Wellington, in July 2019 with the objective of redeveloping and relocating Fertility Associates’ world-class fertility clinic. Fertility Associates had outgrown their Victoria Street premises and required a new and more contemporary base for their vital work. Greenstone Group possessed prior experience in this niche field, having successfully collaborated with Fertility Associates on past projects across Aotearoa. The needs of Fertility Associates clearly involve understanding of the technological and medical requirements of the space, as well as the mood and feel the building creates for Fertility Associates’ patients. Greenstone Group worked in tandem with the client from the outset of the project, all the way from leasing through to design and construction.
Like all sectors worldwide, despite the most meticulous planning, the trajectory of the project was sent off onto a tangent with the arrival of COVID-19 and the subsequent lockdown. Greenstone Group and Fertility Associates persevered and worked together to successfully relocate from Victoria Street to The Terrace – no mean feat in such challenging and unprecedented times.
From the outset this was a project laden with challenges. Thankfully, Greenstone Group and Fertility Associates remained optimistic and relentless in their quest for success. The first obstacle was actually finding a blank canvas to lease for their dream clinic. At the time, the majority of available market leases in the Wellington CBD were earthquake prone, too small, had weather tightness issues or present accessibility problems. Greenstone Group and Fertility Associates worked closely with agents through the leasing process, aiding landlord negotiations and liaison. This tenacity paid off, with a fit for purpose site eventually being located and locked in, in the heart of Wellington’s CBD.
Subsequent to site location confirmation, Greenstone Group continued to collaborate, working in conjunction with client-preferred consultants to develop the project concept and delivery plan. This in-depth process required careful consideration to be given to location, timing (particularly in the lead up to Christmas) and relied on Greenstone Group’s extensive knowledge of construction in the Wellington and lower North Island markets. Greenstone Group’s expertise was again called upon in relation to design management and coordination of consultants located across New Zealand.
Juggling the various communication channels continued with Greenstone Group’s involvement in internal communications with Fertility Associates. Due to Fertility Associates’ business structure, it was imperative that clear communication channels were established from the start and monthly internal reporting meetings were adhered to.
This clear communication led to a successful Early Contractor Engagement process taking place in early November, 2019. At this time, Greenstone Group successfully met tight deadline dates and were able to begin construction work in the weeks leading up to Christmas 2019.
Following the commencement of construction, Greenstone Group encountered numerous unique challenges, many related to the structure of human resources within the project. These obstacles included acting as client representative for other tenants within the building, liaison with a multi landlord building with stringent tolerance controls and communication with government tenants for both access and work. In addition to the complex structure of people and authority, there were challenges around the practical aspects of such a technical project. Greenstone Group persevered to achieve compliance with New Zealand Ministry of Health Standards within a compressed timeframe while simultaneously minimising disruption to business, all while working under the constraints of a restricted programme and a tenancy switch over this period. There were also more project-specific challenges such as the design and construction of a positive pressure scientific grade laboratory with specialist mechanical heating and cooling systems. This challenge was conquered through thorough and regular communication with experts and careful documentation of health and safety considerations.
No aspect of 2020 has been untouched or unaffected by COVID-19, including this project. The pandemic and far reaching consequences led to the shutdown of the site for almost two months over April and May 2020. Frequent communication between Greenstone Group, Fertility Associates and key contractors was the key to overcoming this unforeseen event. Regular meetings took place to ensure stakeholders remained both up-to-date and highly engaged with the project. The importance of communication extended into the health and safety considerations, which were discussed among the involved parties who all acknowledged and put government recommendations into practice. Greenstone Group and the key contractor constructed a back to site plan, ensuring safe work could recommence the minute New Zealand entered Level 3.
Following the project’s successful completion, Greenstone Group continued to collaborate with Fertility Associates, assisting in ensuring all lease conditions at the old Victoria Street site were fulfilled. This included the safe transfer of medical and laboratory equipment to the new site on The Terrace. The key to success in these areas was the two parties working together and sharing their expertise in order to make the process as smooth and seamless as possible.
The Fertility Associates fit out was complete in July 2020 and the clinic was officially opened in August 2020. The modern and calming environment in the new site on The Terrace creates a sense of peace and tranquility. This new aura emanating from the site is in stark contrast to the feelings conjured up by the old clinic on Victoria Street. This is a welcome change for Fertility Associates’ patients embarking on often tumultuous journeys. Clients began using the clinic in early August 2020 and since that time, the lab has reported a 70% success of sperm and egg takings, which is up by approximately 10% after vacating the previous clinic. This impressive result speaks volumes of the influence on an appropriate environment in such an important process.
The wider consultation team as currently collating the lessons learnt over the duration of this rewarding project and will surely be used to inform future developments in this space.