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Christchurch one year on: rebuilding a resilient community

The new Prestons subdivision for 2200 homes

The new Prestons subdivision for 2 200 homes

21 March 2012 - Christchurch recently marked the first anniversary of the devastating earthquake of February 2011.

As the city rebuilds, Aurecon has been closely involved in the deconstruction and geotechnical work around the city centre, the rebuild of public infrastructure as well as several innovative initiatives that will support the development of a people focused, vibrant Christchurch community in the future.

Murray Fletcher, Christchurch Office Manager, said: “The rebuild of Christchurch is about recreating and planning for a new, resilient community that will be as vibrant as Christchurch always was. It is a human rebuild, not an engineering project, allowing plenty of room to look at the creation of places and infrastructure for people.”

Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) and CERA

Aurecon has eight staff working full time with other consultancies as part of the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT) which is tasked with the rebuild of public infrastructure such as roads, pipes, sewerage, retaining walls and bridges.

We also have a dedicated team of eight survey staff capturing data relating to the damaged roads and underground drainage infrastructure and providing data to the SCIRT engineers.SCIRT is funded by the Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA). 

In addition, three Aurecon senior engineers, Jan Kupec, Carl Devereux and Mikael Gartner have been seconded into CERA, advising on key issues relating to deconstruction and geotechnical work.

Beyond this essential support for the basic infrastructure rebuild, Aurecon is also involved in several innovative initiatives that will support the development of a people focused, vibrant Christchurch community of the future. 

Innovative approaches – Low Damage Design

Aurecon’s teams are looking at how innovative low damage seismic design might support the effective planning and design of the Christchurch rebuild going forward. The Aurecon Buildings team is leading in innovative low damage seismic design solutions across steel and timber structures, having worked on the multi award winning Nelson Marlborough Institute of Technology (NMIT), Arts and Media timber building in Nelson and the world first, cost-effective system for damage avoidance in steel framed buildings at Te Puni Village, Victoria University, Wellington. Use of such systems can support a more resilient city as the full rebuild and redevelopment gets underway.

The team, led by Stephen Hogg, Technical Director – Buildings, has been engaging with building owners, architects and developers on how this new Aurecon technology can substantially minimise the impacts of any future seismic events.

Feedback from workshops to date has been very positive with participants keen to see how these technologies can be applied to their projects. Aurecon’s application of innovative research from universities around NZ, led by Sean Gledhill, Technical Director – Buildings, and Carl Devereux, Technical Director – Buildings, has created a unique offering in the market which will help underpin the rebuild of Christchurch.   

District Energy Scheme

Aurecon’s Simon Taylor, Technical Director – Buildings, and his team were part of a Swedish consortium, that included Bizcat, as business consultants and FVB, district energy engineering specialists.

They conducted a technical study on behalf of the Christchurch Agency for Energy (CAFE) to examine the feasibility of New Zealand’s first District Energy Scheme (DES) for the city.

The brief was to provide electrical energy, heating and cooling from centralised plant fuelled by sustainable energy sources. A network of pipes would then transport the energy from the plant into buildings around the city, enabling owners to dispense with their own centralised plant and the associated space requirements.

Simon said: “Working closely with Bizcat, who we became aware of through our global networks, we were able to combine our own local knowledge and expertise in building technologies and the local potential market with their know-how in district energy systems and their understanding of the value of DES technology.

“FVB was able to bring their expertise to evaluate the plant and equipment costs. The end result and the real key to the plans feasibility was the development of a phased strategy that enabled progressive capital investment to match as closely as possible the developing revenue stream and made it stack up financially”.

Each of the three studies commissioned considered a specific aspect of a city heating and cooling DES. The technical study, undertaken by our consortium, involved the development of a phased model to implement a scheme with options for expansion as the rebuild progresses.

Christchurch Light RailLight Rail System

Aurecon has exceeded key client Christchurch City Council’s expectations with a range of deliverables around a potential new light rail system as part of that City’s rebuild. Shaun Hardcastle and his team used a proprietary agent based simulation package called AureALIS to create an impressive “fly through” video of a potential new light rail network that incorporated our HUB-id approach to transport and land use planning.

The video was used as part of the public consultation roadshow branded “Have your say” which won an international communications award for public engagement.

The client was impressed with both the high quality of deliverables and the speed with which the Aurecon team turned this around.

New residential land for displaced families

Aurecon’s Land Development Team are responsible for creating approximately 4 000 new residential sections to provide housing for families displaced from areas with damaged land.

Liquefaction has caused many areas to be uneconomic to repair and the Government requires families to move by mid-2013. Alistair Greig, Technical Director Land Development says that strong client relationships, especially with key clients such as Ngāi Tahu and CDL Land, mean that Aurecon are the preferred consultants to lead the many subdivision projects so urgently needed. 

Our services on subdivisions include project management, urban design, GIS, planning, spatial surveying, ground engineering, water engineering, civil engineering and legal surveying.

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