St Benedict’s, Khandallah and St Mary’s, Karori – Tower strengthening
Seismic strengthening is currently one of the biggest issues facing NZ property owners. Unfortunately, there is not a one size fits all solution. Not only do buildings differ in terms of design, size and usage but there is also large variation in the ground conditions they are built on. Bringing a building up to code requires a tailored solution. After working on several earthquake strengthening projects including heritage Churches, Wellington Free Ambulance and St Pats College we have gained invaluable knowledge of the process. Best, all were strengthened and modernised without compromising the original design.
Wellington Free Ambulance, Kapiti Station
With unique structures it is necessary to consider several factors. These include budget, design and regulatory requirements, it is at this point you can come up with an individual solution. Common wisdom and knowledge of seismic strengthening is constantly changing, so it is also important to keep up with latest practice. With numerous options for strengthening it is necessary to consider the pros and cons of each technique before formulating a plan.
Rob was part of a team called Project Stronger set up by the Catholic Church. Their scope was to establish policies and procedures for assessing and advising users should their buildings be assessed as earthquake prone. The Archdiocese of Wellington assessed some 200 churches and parish buildings to ensure users were aware of risk and started to progress discussions and decision making in respect to problem buildings and their future.
Rob was also on the Board of Proprietors at St Patricks College Wellington when four of the school’s buildings were strengthened. The school’s 30-year-old buildings had lower than expected building strengths which was doubly impacted by better understanding of liquefaction gained following the Christchurch earthquakes. It was surprising that only 30% of the cost was the structural work, and 70% was the flow-on architectural impact of the strengthening, showing how important architectural input is to the strengthening process.
Uncovering other issues
During any upgrade process other issues will likely be uncovered. These could include re-piling, implementing structural systems, the need for fire protection upgrades and the modernisation of the space. It may even be time to consider general maintenance of the building. This is where using the services of an Architect can provide guidance and advice.
St Pat’s College – K- frame a cost-effective solution
During the strengthening process several professions including engineers, property valuers and Architects will be involved. With these and building and resource consent applications to be navigated we can help with co-ordination and guide you through the strengthening process.