News | 15 September 2023
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Rock solid evidence of progress at Te Matapihi Central Library

If you take a stroll past Te Matapihi Central Library these days, you might wonder about what is going on in there and how the project is going.

Concrete pump at Te Matapihi.
Concrete Pump. Photography by LT McGuinness Construction.

As with any construction site, and especially one on this scale, it is a busy, loud, and exciting time in the project. Currently, LT McGuinness Construction is carrying out seismic strengthening work on the building, which will allow for the library to be open again to the public as early as 2026.  

This month marks a significant milestone in the strengthening works as all 49 of the piles have now been completed. The piles went down as far as 21 metres deep before they hit rock. This is a solid effort in the rehabilitation of Te Matapihi and with a crew of 90 to 100 now on site the construction work is operating in full swing! 

Ground floor concrete preparation at Te Matapihi.
Ground floor concrete preparation. Photography by LT McGuinness Construction.

The team have made great progress since starting construction at the end of 2022. The list below gives you an outline of what milestones they’ve hit: 

  • All 49 of the piles completed at the start of September.  
  • Structural strengthening of the ground floor with rebar (short for reinforcing bar) and concrete pours is occurring every week. 
  • Base isolators have landed in the country and the team will begin installation soon with the aim to finish by the end of 2024. 
  • Concrete and reinforcing works are progressing well through the northern area of the ground floor. They’re now starting to prepare the southern end too.  
  • Basement plinth work has commenced. These link the new piles and installation of base isolators and creates reinforcing of the basement walls.  
Nikau Fronds from Te Matapihi
Nikau palm fronds. Photography by LT McGuinness Construction.

What work is coming up next? 

  • Installing ‘steel K’ frames (these are the braces that are added to the structure to increase its ability to withstand lateral movement if an earthquake were to occur). 
  • They’ll be ‘nibbling’ (demolishing) the staircase in the ‘gully’ which is the stairs from Te Ngākau Square up into the library. This will improve access straight into the library from the square and the new cafe at ground floor level. 
  • Landscaping the 'gully’ (between Te Matapihi and the City Gallery) area and the planting of new species. 
  • Starting work on the ‘rattle zone’. The ‘rattle zone’ is a gap around the building so that if an earthquake happens the building can move freely on the base isolators. 
  • Rerouting the ‘spaghetti junction’ of services under the roads. These are things like electrical cables, gas pipes, sewer systems, water pipes, cabling-telecommunications – to name a few!   
  • Refurbishing the fronds of the beloved Nikau Palms. The fronds will need to be carefully removed, sandblasted and then will be recoated so that they last a further 100 years.  
Basement Plinths at Te Matapihi.
Basement plinth reinforcing. Photography by LT McGuinness Construction.

To find out more and keep up to date on Te Matapihi visit our project page here.