Going green – sustainability in engineering in NZ. An interview with Lisa Oliver, Project Director

Lisa Oliver, Project Director here at Holmes Consulting was recently interviewed by Kea New Zealand about her passion for mass timber design, her involvement in sustainability, and how NZ is well placed to lead the repurposing and strengthening of existing buildings.

‘For returning Kiwi with offshore experience in sustainability and design there has never been a better opportunity to bring those skills home and get involved in a wide variety of projects.’

Read her interesting insights and where structural engineering has taken her (and her family!) in the world here: Lisa’s Kea Interview

We’re the IStructE Supreme Award Winners for 2021

We’re the 2021 Supreme Award Winners for the highly coveted Structural Engineering Awards!

3D Cam view of the award winning Christchurch Town Hall.

It doesn’t get more prestigious than this!

Our entry won not only our category for ‘Structural Heritage’ but also the highly coveted and exclusive Supreme Award, at the 2021 Structural Awards by The Institution of Structural Engineers.

Established in 1968, the Structural Awards are the world’s leading awards for structural engineering excellence.

Winning both of these prestigious awards is an incredible achievement for everyone here at Holmes Consulting (NZ) who worked on this exciting but challenging project that won – The Christchurch Town Hall.

This conservation project demanded a full spectrum of technically complex structural and geotechnical solutions. Solving ground stabilisation issues and predicting the future performance of the structure and foundations were achieved through detailed analysis and intensive co-ordination between the geotechnical and structural engineers.

Complex analysis was employed to minimise the strengthening work required for the superstructure. The result preserves the original character and style of the building and protects the existing fabric – a positive both for sustainability and our client – Christchurch City Council.

The Judges commented, “This project is an excellent example of what structural engineers can bring to a devastated existing building. By understanding its behaviour and failure, the team was able to repair and preserve this important structure”.

Special thanks goes to our fantastic team of project partners as well:
Client: Christchurch City Council
Architect: WARREN AND MAHONEY
Principal Contractor: Hawkins
Commercial Manager: Rider Levett Bucknall
Geotechnical Engineer: Tonkin + Taylor
Quantity Surveyor: Rider Levett Bucknall
Fire Engineer: Holmes Fire

 

JUDGES’ COMMENT

Acclaimed for its architecture and acoustics, Christchurch Town Hall is a local landmark. Following devastating earthquakes in 2010 and  2011, the original building required significant structural repair and strengthening of the supporting foundations. This conservation project demanded a full spectrum of technically complex structural and geotechnical solutions. Ground stabilisation issues were solved and the future performance of the structure and foundations was predicted through detailed analysis and intensive co-ordination between the geotechnical and structural engineers. Complex analysis was employed to minimise the strengthening work required for the superstructure. The result preserves the original character and style of the building and protects the existing fabric – a positive both for sustainability and the client. This project is an excellent example of what structural engineers can bring to a devastated existing building. By understanding its  behaviour and failure, the team was able to repair and preserve this important structure.

 

View the full list of 2021 IStructE Award Winners here.

Sustainable engineering – The Majestic Centre, Wellington

How do you strengthen a very large building, whilst maintaining safety, confidence and full occupancy?

QUICK OVERVIEW
New Zealand is an extreme seismic region—the seismic hazard in Wellington is comparable to San Francisco. The Majestic Centre building was assessed in 2011 and demonstrated lower than expected seismic capacity. Over the course of five years, costing NZ $83.5M , it was strengthened to 100% of code requirements, while remaining fully tenanted. The project demanded highly complex and innovative analyses, and the design and construction of a wide array of detailed strengthening measures. Our assessment used non-linear time history analysis (NLTHA) and was performance based, in accordance with ‘ASCE-41 (American Society of Civil Engineers, USA), Seismic Rehabilitation of Existing Buildings’.

Choosing a sustainable solution

Holmes Consulting were the lead Structural Engineers and Holmes Farsight led the compliance. Originally completed in 1991, the Majestic Centre is a 30 storey (116m) modern tower, providing 25,000 square meters of office space. When the seismic capacity was assessed as between 35-45% of current code requirements in 2011, the building’s value reduced from NZ $101M to NZ $67M.

Demolition was considered, with the Demo/re-build cost estimated at NZ $120M. Instead, it was elected to strengthen the building to 100% current code requirements, while maintaining tenant occupancy. This was the most sustainable solution. Significantly less energy and new materials were used in the strengthening scheme compared to what would have been required for demolition and redevelopment, not to mention less waste generated. The project also prevented the relocation of 2,700 people and loss of business/activity in this part of the city. If a large seismic event does occur, the project will also have likely prevented catastrophic failure of the structure, the associated loss of life and long term impediment to the function of this part of Wellington

The strengthening cost was NZ $83.5M, but NZ $41M was earned in rent during construction and upon completion of strengthening the building’s value increased to NZ $121M. Tangible value for the client.

The Holmes strengthening scheme design made this solution possible and was recognised by being awarded runner-up in the sustainability category of the 2017 Institution of Structural Engineers awards (the global Oscars of Engineering). Designing to minimise loss of occupied space and allow strengthening to be installed while the building remained occupied made this an economic choice for the owner as well as a sustainable one.

Some of the challenges

  • The challenge was how to carry out significant invasive seismic work, ensuring stakeholder’s continued confidence, whilst taking the lead in a new era of uncharted regulatory compliance issues.
  • From early engagement Holmes Farsight acted as the coordinator, guide and translator between the project team and the Council.
  • The solution required the parties to be focussed on ‘the real compliance risks and needs’, so a clear evaluation of all parties needs and concerns was established and agreed with Wellington City Council.
  • Holmes Farsight provided a project specific ‘smart regulating’ solution. ‘The ‘Compliance Pathway’. It achieved a comprehensive and clear compliance process, which is both cost effective and efficient.
  • It now creates precedence nationally for successful seismic improvements.

Property Council New Zealand Awards for 2020

Collaborating on award winning projects across New Zealand

Congratulations to our Holmes Consulting Civils Team and Structures Team for their projects which were winners at the Property Council New Zealand annual Property Industry Awards, which celebrate excellence in the built environment.
There are 11 award categories (shown below along with their sponsors) and one Supreme Award winner on the night:
  • Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities Multi-Unit Residential Property Award
  • Greenstone Group Education Property Award
  • RCP Commercial Office Property Award
  • Holmes Consulting Tourism and Leisure Property Award
  • Templeton Group Urban Land Developments Property Award
  • Yardi Retail Property Award
  • CBRE Industrial Property Award
  • Warren and Mahoney Civic and Arts Property Award
  • Fagerhult NZ Health and Medical Property Award
  • Naylor Love Heritage and Adaptive Reuses Property Award
  • Resene Green Building Property Award
  • Rider Levett Bucknall Supreme Award

Our Civils Team and Structures Team have done extremely well, as their project – Waste Management Headquarters (by Stride Property) completely swept the awards ceremony picking up three awards, including the prestigious Supreme Award Winner!

The NZ $45M project is a 9,100m2 facility set on five hectares in East Tamaki, is one of the first New Zealand projects to utilise the new Greenstar Design and As-Built rating tool, meaning green stormwater infrastructure was integrated into this light-industrial zoned site. The use of quality 3D modelling and construction information also enabled coordination between civil works and architectural and structural design—resulting in a complex network of pipework installed on time, with no clashes.

The office buildings vary in storeys and consist of office space, communal areas, and staff amenities. The workshops are large steel portal frame buildings used to store, repair and maintain the trucks and bins, and the auxiliary buildings are open structures used to wash the trucks and bins.

Waste Management needed to occupy the site by a set date due to an expiring lease at their current site, and so our team of experts delivered the design to a tight programme.

The project beat 114 other nominees to take home the Resene ‘Green Building Award’, the CBRE ‘Industrial Property Award’ and the Rider Levett Bucknall ‘Supreme Award’ – a huge achievement and one we’re super proud of for the teams involved!

But these weren’t the only accolades for this stellar project! Waste Management Headquarters also received an Excellence Award for the RCP ‘Commercial Office Property Award’ category too.

But this wasn’t our only major project winner last night!

The Christchurch Town Hall Conservation Project took out the Naylor Love ‘Heritage & Adaptive Reuses Property Award’, which was won by the Christchurch City Council (and project partners). Another well deserved accolade for the team, who are also finalists in the IStructE Showcase and finalists in the 2020 ACE Awards to be presented on 25 November 2020.

Our awesome project partners at Precinct Properties won for our project The Defence House in Wellington. It was awarded the RCP Commercial Office Property Award’ for their successful delivery of a fully refurbished modern office building (23,200m2) with new services, finishes, glass façade, and strengthened to 100% New Zealand Building Standard (NBS).

And lastly, the following exceptional projects were also recognised for their urban innovation which is crafting the future of Aotearoa.

    • The Wanaka Community Pool, part of the Wanaka Recreation Centre, which we worked on with Warren and Mahoney, RCP, and the Queenstown Lakes District Council received a ‘Merit Award’ for the Holmes Group ‘Tourism and Leisure Property Award’.
    • Building C – Mt Eden Corrections Facility received an ‘Excellence Award’ for the Warren and Mahoney ‘Civic and Arts Property Award’. This is a project we collaborated on with Beca and the Department of Corrections.

And our friends at Holmes Fire were part of these award winning projects too:

    • Beatrice Tinsley Building (part of the University of Canterbury) was awarded an ‘Excellence Award’ in the Greenstone Group ‘Education Property Award’.
    • SKHY received an ‘Excellence Award’ for the Kāinga Ora – Homes and Communities ‘Multi-Unit Residential Property Award’.

    Check out the full list of winners here: 2020 winners for the Property Council NZ Awards