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University of Auckland International House, Window Condition Assessment

After forty-five years of use the external timber joinery (including doors), was presenting a number of maintenance problems in this University accommodation building The late 1960s building was the first major building designed by Ivan Mercep of the JASMaD architectural practice. Purpose built as a student hall of residence it was sponsored partly by the New Zealand Government through the Colombo Plan and partly by the University of Auckland and, upon completion in 1971, it was awarded an NZIA silver medal. It was therefore important to the University that any repairs to the building be carried out in a manner befitting its architectural origins and historical status and so Salmond Reed was engaged to inspect and assess the condition of the joinery, explain the nature of the material defects, deterioration and wear and tear and make recommendations on remedial works.

Located on a steep site within Grafton gulley, the building includes living accommodation, study and recreation spaces plus kitchen dining and r service spaces. As an integral part of the design intent, the multi-level brick-clad structure includes numerous types of timber windows, both fixed and opening, over-looking courtyards and the more distant view. Exterior doors include both glazed single-leaf and large fully glazed and sliding panels.

Salmond Reed’s inspection assessed the external joinery across four defined criteria, including operation (opening and closing, and hardware), timber joints and end grain, external putties, and external paint finishes.

Their subsequent Condition Report described in detail the range of window and door types and the relevant hardware, identifying common defects such as poorly operating friction stays due to a build-up of paint and dirt across the surface of the stay-guides, worn and loose hardware, deterioration of glazing putties and surface paint failure. A relatively recent re-paint project had been clearly been undertaken without prior repair to timber damage, so the report offered not just a detailed set of recommendations regarding the repair / replacement of window and door hardware, the repair of damaged timbers, and replacement of putties, but also advised on a comprehensive repainting programme based on stripping unstable paint and thoroughly preparing repaired timber surfaces prior to using an appropriate paint system. 

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