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Source: Auckland Council

A property optimisation programme started by Auckland Council and its CCOs in 2018 means that the office space footprint is on track to shrink from 128,000 square metres to under 70,000 by June 2024 and achieve some $13 million in savings per year in reduced operating costs.

Robert Irvine, General Manager for Corporate Support Services says the council group property footprint has reduced significantly over the last few years, and not by chance.

“At the end of June 2024, we expect to have dropped from 17 sites to just five. The property leads across the council and our council-controlled organisations have all worked collaboratively to pinpoint opportunities for property optimisation with our focus on shared use efficiencies. Across the group, we identified an aggressive workplan to rationalise corporate office space.”

The group has made big steps toward reducing its ownership of corporate offices and leased corporate office space.

At the point of the amalgamation of councils in 2010, the council inherited office buildings all over Auckland of varying sizes, ages and conditions. A significant rationalisation of buildings and leased office spaces was targeted. This includes exiting from sites at Hereford Street, Federal Street, Queen Street and Graham Street in the city centre and in Pukekohe, Manukau, Henderson and Takapuna. The council has also sold the Civic Administration Building in Aotea Square and is in the process of exiting from Bledisloe House at Mayoral Drive.

There has been a strong focus on consolidation into a central council-owned site, Auckland House at 135 Albert Street, purchased by the council in 2012 for $104 million. The building is currently valued at $250 million and houses council staff that work across the central isthmus of Auckland.

“Auckland House serves as a home base for the council’s political leadership, management and office staff, as well as frontline workers like building inspectors, biosecurity officers, scientists, event facilitators, planners, engineers, parks and community facilities staff.”

Around 3,500 Auckland Council employees currently identify Auckland House as their ‘home’ work location. Smart desking in the building also means that people may come and go throughout the day depending on meetings, and may work from home at times. Because all of these people don’t require a desk all of the time, there are around 2,500 desks in the building, a ratio which is consistent with other large organisations.

The frontline staff, who make up a large proportion of the council’s workforce, work in community buildings and facilities like libraries, pools and parks.

“We’ve been actively working to release buildings and office space and centralise where possible, such as in Ōrewa, Henderson and Takapuna, by taking advantage of the available technology paired with the council’s agile workforce and changing work practices.”  

“As part of our Corporate Property Optimisation programme, the new Albany Hub is a modern office space for our north and west ‘back office’ council teams. It enables us to exit buildings in Ōrewa and Henderson. The Upper Harbour Local Board will operate from the new Albany Hub, while customer facing services will remain in local areas and the ‘front office’ staff from those locations will relocate to their local libraries.”