The Town Hall is a challenging project. Bringing the building up to code is no mean feat. The original exterior facade is being retained, but in order to provide access much of the interior is being removed and replaced. The building is being entirely re-founded on new piles and 165 base isolators are being installed. These will enable the whole building to move 250-400mm from side to side in the event of an earthquake.
It has been a slow and painstaking process. The entire building weighs around 18,400 tonnes and the facade has to be treated carefully. The exterior needs to be supported while the work is carried out and the process is designed to minimise any movement during construction. Earthquakes are a huge risk during this period.
Work needs to be done sequentially with no more than 25 percent of a wall being temporarily supported at a time, which constrains the programme.
The technical challenges are only some of the project’s worries.
“The impacts of COVID have been unprecedented. Things are starting to improve now, but we’re still feeling the knock-on effects of inflation, cost increases, time delays and skills shortages. It’s going to take time to recover,” Bruce explains.