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Base Isolators being lowered on to Grand Chancellor site in Christchurch

Sean Gledhill - Technical Director – Aurecon, beside one of the 61 base isolators that will be used in the Grand Central building

Sean Gledhill, Technical Director – Aurecon

15 May 2015 - Work has commenced on installing the first of 61 base isolators into the seven-storey building to be built on the site of the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Christchurch.

The triple pendulum friction bearings from EPS in San Francisco will help in times of earthquakes in that it will allow the building to move up to 658mm in large earthquakes to dissipate seismic energy. In a large alpine fault rupture this may result in movements of up to:

  • 550mm east to west
  • 625mm north to south

Sean Gledhill, Technical Director for Aurecon, who is overseeing the installation of the base isolators, said that in a small earthquake the building will be operable.

“In a larger earthquake (as experienced in Christchurch 2010-2011) there could be localised damage such as non critical services pipes, but these would be easily repairable and the building would be fully operational shortly after. 

“In the rare event of a very large earthquake such as an alpine fault fracture, up to 10% non-structural damage may be possible, but the structure would not be damaged. Once this has been repaired the building would be ready for reoccupation if evacuation is needed,” he said.

To be known as Grand Central, the new building will accommodate a mix of ground floor retail and high quality offices with government agencies such as the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), the Department of Conservation and the Ministry of Social Development identified as tenants. 

The development will provide connected and modern workspace via the open central atrium. High ceilings and interconnecting open stairs will link the office floors allowing tenants to work across multiple levels.

The exterior of the building will feature a double-glazed curtainwall facade specified to let in natural light and reduce solar glare.

It is expected to be ready for fit out in the middle of next year.


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