Christchurch Earthquake Reconnaissance and Reporting
Jubilee Clocktower Strengthening, Christchurch CBD
Wynn Williams House, Christchurch (St Elmo Courts)
Christchurch Art Gallery Base-Isolation Retrofit Project
Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings Stabilisation, Strengthening and Restoration, Christchurch
Public Trust Strengthening, Christchurch CBD
Student Services Building Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Angus Tait Building Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Mount Peel Homestead Station Strengthening, Canterbury
Woohoo Offices, 1 Durham Street, Christchurch
Ashburton Clocktower Strengthening, Ashburton
Akaroa War Memorial Strengthening, Akaroa
Bishop Julius Hall Miscellaneous Seismic Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch
Lyttelton War Memorial Relocation and Restoration, Lyttelton
Christchurch Earthquake Reconnaissance and Reporting

Project Description:

Prior to the  devastating February 2011 Earthquake, Ruamoko Solutions was located in the well-known Manchester Unity building in the Christchurch CBD. As some staff members were trained in Urban Search and Rescue (USAR), they immediately were put to use as part of the combined Christchurch City Council/Civil Defence reconnaissance team. They remained working for the Civil Defence for weeks after the earthquakes, using their specialist knowledge and expertise to assess and stabilise critical buildings such as the Hotel Grand Chancellor, Education House, Copthorne Hotel, and they managed to provide a scheme to save the landmark Jubilee Clock tower. This voluntary work  by Ruamoko Solutions resulted in several staff members being awarded the 2011 IPENZ Fulton Downer Presidents Gold Medal Award.

Jubilee Clocktower Strengthening, Christchurch CBD

Project Cost: $1M

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

Following the recent Canterbury earthquakes, this landmark clock tower was earmarked for demolition. Grant Wilkinson proposed both a temporary and permanent strengthening scheme which involved careful support while a concrete base and legs were constructed. This work ultimately saved this heritage piece which re-opened in 2014.

Wynn Williams House, Christchurch (St Elmo Courts)

Project Cost: $15M

Architect: Richard Proko Ltd

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

Wynn Williams House is a pioneering new central Christchurch office building using a combination of structural seismic technology never used before anywhere in the world. While the structural elements in the building have been used before, it is the specific combination of methods chosen for the six-storey building that make it unique. The multiple layers of innovation include the use of lead-rubber base isolators, novel tension tie downs at the building corners and use of a post-tensioned frame structure with LVL timber beams and precast concrete columns.

The building replaces the former St Elmo Courts building on the corner of Hereford and Montreal Streets which was badly damaged in the September 2010 and February 2011 earthquakes. For the owner, a resilient a building was a must. The combined use of the structural elements means that the building will survive a 100% code earthquake (1-in-500 year event) with little or no structural damage and will remain safe and stable in a 1-in-2,500 year earthquake event. Despite the innovation present in the building, it remains a very cost-effective building.

Click here for more details on this building.

Christchurch Art Gallery Base-Isolation Retrofit Project

Project Cost: $20M

Client: Fulton Hogan Ltd

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson, Cameron MacPherson

Project Description:

Ruamoko Solutions was chosen by contractor Fulton Hogan as structural design engineers on one of the largest and most complex projects completed by Ruamoko to date - the seismic retrofit of the landmark Christchurch Art Gallery building with base isolators.

The project involved the installation of 140 triple-curvature friction pendulum bearings below the ground floor of the existing Art Gallery Building. These base isolation bearings significantly reduce the seismic actions transferred to the building in an earthquake, greatly improving the expected performance of the building and its valuable artwork in earthquakes.

The base isolation design ensures that the building can move up to 550mm in each direction during a large earthquake. The actions from the isolators, including the large eccentricities, induce significant actions on the existing structure different to its original design. The retrofit covered a wide range of column strengthening, beam strengthening, wall strengthening, seismic joint rattle spaces, cover plates, suspended lifts and stairs and many other unique aspects. Together with the tight timeframe and construction constraints, the project provided many structural challenges for the Ruamoko Solutions team and required a high level of innovation and specialist knowledge.

Ruamoko Solutions won a Silver Award at the 2016 ACENZ Innovate NZ Award of Excellence for their work on this project.

Grant Wilkinson was project director for the original construction of the Christchurch Art Gallery project whilst a director at Holmes Consulting Group in 2003.

Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings Stabilisation, Strengthening and Restoration, Christchurch

Conservation Architect: Tony Ussher

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

The Canterbury Provincial Council Buildings were the buildings of the Canterbury Provincial Council that administered the Canterbury Province from 1853 until the abolition of provincial government in 1876. The buildings form the only purpose-built provincial government building complex in New Zealand still in existence and have a Category 1 heritage rating.

As specialist seismic engineers with a wealth of experience on heritage buildings, Ruamoko Solutions has been heavily involved with these buildings from the beginning of the Canterbury earthquakes when the buildings were significantly damaged.

Work to date has been consisted primarily of stabilisation work. However, as these buildings are some of the most highly valued heritage buildings in Christchurch, full restoration and strengthening is proposed which is soon to commence.

Public Trust Strengthening, Christchurch CBD

Project Cost: $5M

Architect: Three Sixty Architecture

Project Director: Julian Ramsay

Project Description:

Ruamoko Solutions are currently carrying out the strengthening scheme of this iconic Christchurch building to a minimum of 67%NBS, having previously completed strengthening work in 2008 to 33%NBS. This earlier strengthening work performed well and ultimately prevented the collapse of this building in the Canterbury earthquakes and has allowed it to continue to remain an iconic part of the built environment in Christchurch.

Student Services Building Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Project Cost: $2.5M

Architect: Warren & Mahoney

Project Director: Cameron MacPherson

Project Description:

Ruamoko Solutions was engaged to seismically assess and strengthen the two-storey former physical sciences library at the University of Canterbury. As part of a larger refurbishment of the building, it was decided to strengthen the building in two phases, the low-strength ground floor columns and the remaining structure.

The innovative and  cost-effective solution to strengthen the ground floor columns used a glass fibre wrap (Fibre Reinforced Polymer or FRP) around the tops and bottoms of the columns to increase the ductility available to the columns, and therefore increase the building’s resilience. The work was completed days prior to the September 2010 earthquake. Flexural cracking of fibres at the tops and bottoms of the columns was observed,  confirming that the strengthening had performed  well and had significantly reduced damage to the building. Following the successful FRP strengthening, the remainder of the building and level 2 link bridge to another building was strengthened as part of building alterations and refurbishment.

Angus Tait Building Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Project Cost: $2.5M

Architect: Warren & Mahoney

Project Director: Julian Ramsay

Project Description:

Following the successful work carried out by Ruamoko Solutions on the Primary Data Centre at the University of Canterbury, they were then commissioned to strengthen to Importance Level 3 (IL3) the oldest building on the Ilam Campus to serve as the secondary Data Centre. This strengthening required innovative approaches such as "horseshoe" clips to frames, and tanked subterranean foundation beams to spread seismic load to existing piles. These strengthening methods were successfully implemented to so they were minimally intrusive to this iconic building which was one of the first on campus to be strengthened post-earthquake.

This building won an award in the Heritage Category at the 2015 New Zealand Institute of Architects Awards, and won a Merit Award at the 2016 ACENZ Innovate NZ Award of Excellence.

Mount Peel Homestead Station Strengthening, Canterbury

Architect: Wilkie + Bruce Architects Ltd

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

The Mount Peel Station Homestead is a large two-storey brick building constructed in several stages from the late 1800s. Strengthening involved discrete in situ concrete timber diaphragm to wall connections through the brick wythes, roof and ceiling bracing diaphragms, large brick chimney steel support, and helifix ties between the outer double brick wythes and inner single brick veneer. The strengthening work was constrained by on-site conditions and the building’s heritage rating. However, it was completed successfully and with little damage  in the 2010/11 Canterbury earthquakes.

Woohoo Offices, 1 Durham Street, Christchurch

Project Cost: $3M

Architect: Noordanus Architects Ltd

Project Director: Julian Ramsay

Project Description:

This was one of the first buildings in Christchurch to be strengthened following the Canterbury earthquakes. It was also the first building in Christchurch to utilise steel screw-piles post earthquake. Strengthening involved steel shear "collars" and fibre-wrapping  existing columns, strengthening the shear-core using self-compacting concrete, and the complete undermining and re-support of all columns and foundations onto new 10m deep screw piles which were installed under this existing building. These were highly innovative techniques which have set a benchmark for this type of work. The strengthening scheme resulted in a new lease of life for this prominently located mid-1980s era building which would have otherwise been demolished.

In addition to the strengthening work, Ruamoko carried out a significant two-bay extension to the west of this building.

Ashburton Clocktower Strengthening, Ashburton

Project Director: Cameron MacPherson

Project Description:

This iconic 1976 clock tower is a unique structure that features four slender post-tensioned concrete columns and elevated belfry levels. Seismic strengthening involved glass fibre wrapping the top and bottom 600mm of the four concrete columns with two layers of glass fibre fabric. At the same time, the elevated belfry slab was strengthened by application of carbon laminate “bands” to all four sides of the slab with L-plates at the slab edges providing flexural anchorage connection between the top and bottom faces of the slab.

Akaroa War Memorial Strengthening, Akaroa

Conservation Architect: Ian Bowman

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

This project involved the strengthening of the iconic privately owned war memorial in Akaroa which was badly damaged in Canterbury Earthquake Sequence.

Strengthening  involved innovative post-tensioning under very difficult conditions, and the re-building of some elements. 

The memorial was re-opened in 2015 in time for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign.

Bishop Julius Hall Miscellaneous Seismic Strengthening, University of Canterbury, Christchurch

Project Cost: $6M (total)

Architect: Wilkie + Bruce Architects Ltd

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

Ruamoko Solutions has been involved with the Bishop Julius Hall at the University of Canterbury campus on several projects, including a new sixty-bedroom acommodation block, as well as the earthquake strengthening of the five-storey Nancy Simms block and three-storey Mabel Hendrie block. Strengthening of the Nancy Simms block included an innovative combination of a coupled wall pair with attached eccentrically braced frame coupling element.

Lyttelton War Memorial Relocation and Restoration, Lyttelton

Conservation Architect: Tony Ussher

Project Director: Grant Wilkinson

Project Description:

This project involved the relocation, strengthening and restoration of an existing stone war memorial. The memorial was re-opened in November 2014, in time for the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli Campaign in its new location in the centre of the historic town of Lyttelton, which was also the epicentre of the February 22nd 2011 earthquake.