Council approves new process to repair library roof

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Published: 14 Aug 2019

Timaru District Council has agreed to pursue a cheaper, medium term solution to fix the Timaru Library Roof.

The new option, which will involve a dual layer spray membrane on the roof and decommissioning of the old boiler system, will be significantly cheaper than replacing the roof and give around 8-10 years life.

The roof fix will be accompanied by heating upgrades and a refresh of the library interior, as well as the creation of a new community room for groups to use. The solution favoured has been used on other buildings in the area, and will ensure the roof is watertight going forward.

Group Manager Community Services Sharon Taylor said that they pursued the new path after professional consultation and testing showed it unlikely that the full re-roofing project could be completed in a cost effective and timely manner.

“The overall aim of the project is to provide a warmer, drier and fresher library for the community.

“Through what has been an incredibly rigorous process we have come to a medium term solution that will provide these outcomes at a reasonable cost, with a reasonable lifespan and reasonably quickly. It will also cause minimal disruption to library services.

“Few council services have transformed over the years as much as libraries, and we don’t know what sort of facility the community will need a decade from now.

“This solution gives us the opportunity to meet the immediate needs of the community quickly and more cheaply, enabling us to plan a long term solution further down the track.

“We can then take the time to look at the building as a whole, rather than trying to find solutions to acute issues.”

The building, which was designed in the brutalist style in the 70s by New Zealand architect firm Warren and Mahoney, features a complex fan-shaped roof with minimal interior supports, multiple sky-lights and a specialist cable support system.

“Rather than working against the fabric of the building and trying to impose a new roof upon an old design, through our investigations we have determined that it would be better to work with what we’ve got.

“Using new products to seal the roof, removing the complex and failing heating system to lessen the weight the roof has to carry and replacing it with heat pumps, we can get a solution that works while staying true to the design of the building.”

As part of the council agreement, the budget allocation for the roof that’s no longer needed will be transferred to the Aigantighe strengthening project to help ensure the house is saved in the long term.

Following this decision the project will be taken to tender, with physical works programmed to start late spring 2019, with targeted refurbishment completion by end of summer 2020.

Last updated: 24 Feb 2021