Michael Fowler Centre stair strengthening

Work was done on the Michael Fowler Centre to strengthen the internal and external stairs. The project ended July 2016.

Michael Fowler Centre before and after plans

Michael Fowler Centre before and after plans


Why we did 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: 

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

Who was involved

  • We employed the original building architectural firm Warren and Mahoney to ensure the new structural works were in keeping with the building’s original design. Warren and Mahoney also provided architectural support throughout the project.  Cost Consultancy Services was provided by Rider Levett Bucknall. 
  • Holmes Consulting Group performed the seismic assessment, completed the structural design and provided construction monitoring and support of the structural works. 
  • Hawkins Construction was contracted to do the works 
  • AECOM project managed the improvements 
  • The Council and Hawkins also worked 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