Deconstruction of 91 Hereford Street, Christchurch, New Zealand

Deconstructing critical infrastructure damaged in the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake

Aurecon was appointed lead consultant in August 2012 to provide technical and project management services after winning a market tender to deconstruct Spark’s (formerly Telecom) 91 Hereford Street building which had been severely damaged in the 2011 Christchurch Earthquake.

The challenge of the project was to remove the four above-ground storeys of Spark’s former Exchange building safely, without any disruption to the essential services located in both the basement beneath and the adjacent operational main 109 Hereford Street Exchange building. Successfully achieving this was critical as the 109 Hereford St building is one of a number of key nodes housing equipment that provides mobile and landline services to New Zealand’s telecommunications network.

"Network Protection without Compromise" became Aurecon’s project mantra

Project risks were identified and protective measures were developed and put in place to protect the critical infrastructure.

A specific deconstruction methodology was developed in conjunction with the contractor, Fletcher Construction, to take account of the site constraints. The approval of CERA (Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority) was required to proceed as part of its role of monitoring the deconstruction of significant buildings. Innovative measures were necessary for the deconstruction process to reduce the risk of damage to existing infrastructure.

The project team went to great lengths to ensure the deconstruction was completed safely and the risks managed to the satisfaction of Spark and other monitoring bodies. The client’s representative was based in Wellington so Aurecon’s role included providing a daily presence on site to be their ‘eyes and ears on the ground’ and ensure that Spark’s interests (including Health & Safety, physical assets, local and national reputation) were protected.

The deconstruction of the 91 Hereford Street building has also presented an opportunity for Spark to provide an inner city urban park area until a decision is made on how the site will be redeveloped.

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