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.

First glimpse at the Concept Design for the Christ Church Cathedral.

Newly released Concept Design video shows the impressive Cathedral being reincarnated in all its glory.

Video credit: Warren and Mahoney.

Yesterday morning was a momentous occasion for the Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement Project as they showcased the Concept Design for the reinstated Cathedral and its supporting buildings that will make up the ‘Cathedral Quarter’ in downtown Christchurch (watch the video to view the design).

The design shows the plan for the Anglican Cathedral and its supporting buildings that will make up the ‘Cathedral Quarter’, designed by Warren and Mahoney in association with Snøhetta Architects and Salmond Reed.

Our team here at Holmes Consulting is incredibly proud to be part of this important rebuild project and are incredibly impressed by team we’re collaborating with on this exciting project!

Watch this space for more information, photos, and behind the scenes from the team here at Holmes.

Trafalgar Centre in Nelson wins prestigious EVANZ award.

trafalgar-centre-nelson-new-zealand Last week the Trafalgar Centre in Nelson was honoured to be awarded the 2019 Pixel Medium Venue of the Year at the EVANZ (Entertainment Venues Association of New Zealand)

The Nelson Trafalgar Centre was an interesting project for Holmes Consulting, as we were asked to assess both the 1970s ‘Main Hall’ building and the more modern ‘Southern Extension’ built in 2005.  Both required seismic strengthening which Holmes designed in 2015 and then carried out the work between 2015-2016. Among the challenges for building was accommodating the Nelson Giants basketball team for a season in the midst of construction.

The Main Hall is quite a cool space with timber glue laminated arches which Holmes then added steel to for support, creating an aesthetically pleasing result for the client. We added some buckling restrained braces to the sides of the building, roof bracing, and also improved the foundations.

Their recent win adds to the venues collection of accolades, after the architects [Irving Smith Architects] won a Public Architecture Award for the Centre last year.

Read more about the Trafalgar Centre’s win here.

ENVI Winners for 2019

envi-awards-2019

The inaugural winners of Engineering New Zealand’s inaugural industry awards, the ENVIs, were announced at the start of this month. Congratulations to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) and KiwiRail who set up the North Canterbury Transport Infrastructure Recovery (NCTIR) Alliance with Fulton Hogan, Downer, Higgins, and HEB Construction for taking out the ‘Engineering Impact Award’ for their efforts in the Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery.

The judges commended NCTIR on its efforts to rebuild, stating it ‘set the standard for how we [New Zealand] need to mobilise as a country following a natural disaster’.

Read more about this project and the other 2019 ENVI winners here. Or find out about Holmes Consulting’s extensive history with induced seismicity here.

 

[Image credit: Engineering New Zealand, 2019 ENVI Awards Night].

Kaikōura earthquake anniversary – a reminder of the need for resilient design.

kaikōura-holmes-consulting-nzThe third anniversary of the Kaikōura earthquakes was on the weekend and Hamish McKenzie, principal – structures at Holmes Consulting, talked to Stuff about future proofing our buildings and designs, making them resilient.

“I think people have learned the need for good design, the benefits of going a bit further than the Building Act minimum and risk-to-life safety imperatives. We need to keep learning the lessons so that we continue to build better buildings for the future.” – Hamish McKenzie. You can read the full article here.

The Secret Life of Engineers Abroad

annie-scott-holmes-consultingAnnie Scott, Design Engineer here at Holmes Consulting, is currently based in Utrecht (Netherlands) after making the move 13 months ago when a once-in-a-life-time opportunity presented itself to join our newly created office in the land of cheese, clogs, canals, windmills, and tulips.

She credits the move to Europe as being hugely influential on both her professional and personal growth, after spending just over three years here at Holmes Consulting (in our Auckland office) starting out as a Graduate Structural Engineer back in 2015.

You can read all about Annie’s experience in the November issue of DEMM Engineering & Manufacturing here.

Majestic Centre in the news

Following our commendations in the Institute of Structural Engineers’ annual awards, the local media picked up the story and presented a feature on the Majestic Centre’s amazing engineering. You can read the article here.

Justice Precinct opens

We’re delighted that the Justice and Emergency Precinct in Christchurch is now open – a stunning building with some truly amazing seismic engineering. If you’re interested in the story of the precinct, take a look at this short video explaining some of the features of this exceptional project. 

Holmes shortlisted in IStructE Awards 2017

We’re excited to announce that two of our great projects have been shortlisted in what many call the ‘World Championships of Structural Engineering’. The Majestic Centre is shortlisted in the Extreme Conditions, Sustainability, and Outstanding Value categories, and Block C of the Arts Centre is shortlisted in the Structural Heritage and Extreme Conditions categories. No shortage of volunteers to head to London for the award ceremony … check out the shortlist here.