Michael Fowler Centre stair strengthening

Work has started on the Michael Fowler Centre to strengthen the internal and external stairs. The project will end July 2016.

Michael Fowler Centre before and after plans

Michael Fowler Centre before and after plans


We’re improving this building as we continue to make Wellington stronger and safer. The improvements aim to achieve 67% of the New Build Standard (NBS).

To minimise disruption to the public, most work will be done outside peak-times – stairs/egress (fire exits) will be usable throughout.

Why we’re doing this work

As part of reviewing the Council’s civic building portfolio, Holmes Consulting Group did a seismic assessment of the Michael Fowler Centre. This assessment showed three sets of external stairs needed improvement.

Work plan

To strengthen the stairs we will: 

  • Increase seismic separation of the stairs so they move with any earthquake activity 
  • Improve the stair supports for the three sets 
  • Improve the connections into the building’s main structural frame 
  • Build an under-cradle for one set of stairs 
  • Improve accessibility.

Who’s involved

  • We’ve employed the original building architectural firm Warren and Mahoney to ensure the new structural works are in keeping with the building’s original design. Warren and Mahoney will also be providing architectural support throughout the project.  Cost Consultancy Services is provided by Rider Levett Bucknall. 
  • Holmes Consulting Group performed the seismic assessment, completed the structural design and is providing construction monitoring and support of the structural works. 
  • Hawkins Construction is contracted to do the works 
  • AECOM is project managing the improvements 
  • The Council and Hawkins are also working closely with Positively Wellington Venues to minimise the disruption.


In March 1975 the Council made a start on the civic centre development. With a $5 million budget, a new concert hall with an auditorium seating 2,500 was to be built next to the old Town Hall. The Warren and Mahoney award winning building was completed in 1983.

More information:
Phone 04 499 4444