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In September 2015, Hawkins selected The Connect Group as concrete repair specialists to undertake complex concrete repairs, crack injection and seismic strengthening to The Christchurch Town Hall, an iconic building designed by Sir Miles Warren, extensively damaged during the Christchurch earthquakes. The 127.5-million-dollar restoration of this 1972 heritage-listed building is one of the largest earthquake projects undertaken in Christchurch - taking over three years for contractors to complete.

Being that the Christchurch Town Hall is a listed heritage building, it created a challenge for our team right from the outset - as all contractors had to maintain the heritage aspects and keep it as true to its original form and function.

Visible concrete elements including floors, walls and beams requiring repairs could not have any mechanical or aggressive grinding undertaking on them or a coating applied to disguise the repair, so extensive sampling using various repair techniques were undertaken in conjunction with the architect and the heritage team. Another challenge was to repair badly damaged concrete spalling throughout the building, and again methods had to be developed to restore the integrity and the texture of the heritage finish.

The final approved repair methodology was undertaken with the outcome of achieving a uniform finish and minimal visible repairs. To seismic strengthen the Christchurch Town Hall in the event of a future seismic event and meet the building standard, the project engineers designed a specific engineered solution.

An estimated 4500 sq. meters of seismic strengthening materials, such as carbon fibre and anchoring rods were installed, with up to five layers running alternative directions. These were installed in the roof structure of the James Hay Theatre and The Main Auditorium, and beams throughout the interior.

The application of carbon fibre to the Christchurch Town Hall was one of the largest carbon fibre projects undertaken in New Zealand and presented challenges due to the Town Hall’s sheer size, shape, height, the pitch of the roof, wind and heat factor and moisture levels. This also required extensive monitoring, technical planning, specific training, ongoing communication and developing solutions, working in conjunction with the architect and project engineers.

This project required a high level of Quality Assurance, which included custom-designed documentation, extensive daily testing and photographic records, all supplied throughout the course of the project. Hawkins selected The Connect Group for this project because of our extensive range of concrete repair and seismic strengthening services and our proven ability to collaborate and tailor solutions specific to each project.

The Christchurch Townhall reopened its doors to the public in early 2019 and since opening, has won a multitude of awards including the Naylor Love Heritage and Adaptive Reuses Property Awards. In 2020, the Christchurch Town Hall was registered as a Category I heritage building.

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