The remains of the PricewaterhouseCoopers building is helping Canterbury University become the...
INTERVIEW: “CONSTRUCTION POST EARTHQUAKE”
Q// You have taken on a big role at a difficult time. What are the biggest challenges you are facing at the moment?
Ian// Dealing with the urgency of client requirements. Making buildings safe, getting them operational again if possible and working out what to do with their asset if they’re not.
Growing our team is also a big challenge so we can remain responsive to client’s needs going forward. We have quadrupled in size and now have a team of over 150 which has been very rapid growth over about six months.
Q// Why has demolition taken so long in the CBD?
Ian// There has been control issues; Civil Defence controlled it, then the City Council and now CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority). There are complex insurance issues to resolve. The recent magnitude 6 earthquake is said to have added more damage and there are major access issues. It’s difficult to get engineers and building inspectors into the Red Zone and once they enter there are access issues in many buildings.
Q// What are the challenges to rebuilding in the CBD?
Ian// The new City Plan hasn’t been released yet so the rules are uncertain; There are issues with C and D grade buildings that have been demolished and how this will effect their tenants, they may not be able to afford the increased rent new buildings will demand; There are questions about the feasibility of new spaces; Many tenants and employees are demanding building codes that are higher than what insurance pay-outs may cover before they re-enter buildings. Many of them are also hesitant about working in high rise buildings again.
Q// How have the earthquakes impacted on development outside the CBD?
Ian// There are positives and negatives. Staff that have moved from the CBD to the suburbs have transport issues to face and longer travel times getting to work and going to meetings.
But on the other hand businesses that were struggling in small areas are now thriving and there is new energy and vibrancy in random places. We have all found our new favourite coffee shop!
We have also seen national and international clients commit to about $40million of new build projects in Christchurch over the past few months which is a great vote of confidence in the city!
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PROJECT OF INTEREST
$11M EARTHQUAKE STRENGTHENING IN 10 WEEKS!
$11.5M of work to be completed in 10 weeks is on track to finish on time at Knox College in Dunedin. The work includes earthquake strengthening and a fire protection upgrade to Knox College. 32 new rooms added to sister college Salmond and the complete refurbishment of both colleges including rewiring and new data and security systems. All work will be carried out during the University holidays.
Photo: Knox and Salmond Project Team following a site wide toolbox talk.