Solomon Water New Office and Workshop Facility

Location: Solomon Islands
Client: Solomon Islands Water Authority
Status: Due 2020/21

The proposed new Solomon Islands Water Authority (SIWA, trading as Solomon Water) Matanikau Office Facility is considered essential in providing Solomon Water purpose designed facilities capable of improving operational and functional efficiencies within the business and reinforcing the organisations ambition for the future through a contemporary building design. JCA were engaged by SIWA to undertake the design and documentation of the proposed new facility, working with the stakeholders to develop a design outcome that not only delivered on the functional and budget requirements but one that understood and respected the challenging conditions and location in central Honiara.

Solomon Water is currently located across a number of facilities within Honiara including at the BJS Building on Commonwealth Avenue, the proposed site at Matanikau and the Depot Facility located at Tuvaruhu. Whilst the Depot will remain isolated and provide a larger secure storage facility, the offices and activities within the BJS building were to be relocated to the new Matanikau Office.

Strategically the consolidation of the BJS Offices and the Operations Facilities at Matanikau within a purpose designed new building will offer the organisation significant short and long term benefits. Noticeably and with immediate affect once the development is completed will be the savings made through a reduction in leasing costs. 

More importantly however will be the long term benefits gained through the improved efficiencies in which Solomon Water will be able to operate and provide the necessary services. With staff all collocated there remains increased opportunity for regular internal coordination, cooperation and collaboration. This has been proven to show considerable improvements in the delivery of organisational services and remains one of Solomon Waters’ ambitions within its Strategic Plan.

The development of a new purpose designed and built complex will enable new operational practices to become integrated into the project from the outset and form the direction from which functional planning will progress. The design is required to achieve a number of complex operational outcomes driven by the diversity in roles and services provided by Solomon Water capturing not only the office related activities but incorporated laboratory testing, field work and warehouse storage. In addition elements of the building will remain open to the public providing much need services.

The proposed site at Matanikau creates further challenges compounded by the need to safely provide parking for the public, staff and field related vehicles including excavators and trucks. 

Solomon Water in seeking to commence the project have adopted a long term strategic vision for the development one that is seeking flexibility for both growth and technological advancements in the future that are addressed from the outset and reduce the impact of change in the future.

The project design approach for Solomon Water must provide a long term, cost effective design that respects and considers the robust nature of the operational demands, whilst remaining respectful of the harsh environmental and climatic conditions of the region in addition to the difficulty in successfully implementing maintenance regimes. 

The design works hard to maxmise the usable space within the awkward site shape, providing both a new office building with adjoining workshops but also a new staff amenities facility allowing staff access to change rooms and lockers prior to and after shifts. The design has been developed to address the environmental conditions of Honiara with large overhangs and buildings orientated as much as possible to the north and south. With the limited site area, the old leaf Haus will be replaced with a large covered area, allowing for a double height volume whilst retaining protection from the sun and rain. Giant ceiling fans offer coolth with the space orientated away from the busy main road to offer a sense of privacy and peacefulness.

The completed design owes much to the success of the consultation process with JCA working closely with SIWA initially to develop the functional and operational planning of the building. This process allowed for more clarity when assessing the need to manage cost against desired outcomes.

The project is seeking to commence construction towards the end of 2019.