Revitalising Auckland's Civic Administration Building

Lead Primer Removal and Intumescent Coating

This project aimed to reinvent Auckland’s iconic Civic Administration Building from a stalwart of local government to a vibrant mixed-use development in the heart of the central business district – the cornerstone of the Civic Quarter development. By renovating the building whose original use no longer best fit the location or design, the developer opted to repurpose the property and retain most of its internal structure and steelwork.

What we did

InterGroup was initially engaged by Naylor Love to undertake corrosion protection and intumescent coatings on the in-situ steelwork, initially beginning work on the perimeter of one of the towers. The scope of works was increased to include fireproofing and corrosion protection of the entire tower and adjacent basement area.


During the demolition process, it was discovered all steel within the building had been coated with a primer containing lead during the initial construction in the mid 1960’s. This significantly impacted on the construction programme and extended the scope of works to include the encapsulation, extraction and urgent removal of lead affected areas. The work was further complicated and delayed by the Level 4 COVID-19 lockdown enforced in Auckland in August 2021.

Management and removal of the lead primer became a very expensive and drawn-out process, with the implementation of lead contamination protocols such as capturing all airborne contaminants from the manual scraping and removal of the affected primer and the requirement for decontamination showers, PPE and additional manpower for the manual removal method initially adopted.

The Level 4 lockdown in August 2021 put a halt to all works on site. Once Auckland was moved to Alert Level 3, contractors were allowed back on site but working under strict Covid-19 safety protocols with restrictions on the number of contractors able to be on site at any given time, and additional PPE and precautionary protocols put in place and stringently adhered to.

Adding value through innovation

InterGroup investigated and offered an alternate removal process to assist the client in mitigating the cost and time impact to the project of continuing the manual lead primer removal process. We introduced the use of a revolutionary paint removal system specifically formulated product designed to remove multiple layers of paint in one application. The product was applied to the steel components, encapsulating, lifting, and removing the lead primer. The use of this system meant a reduction in the level of management required to remove contaminants, providing cost and time efficiencies for the client by reducing the labour requirement and encapsulation costs.

Overall performance

Despite the delays to the overall programme caused by the lead primer, InterGroup completed our scope of work on time and to budget maintaining a strong health, safety, quality and environmental focus.

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