In September 2016, an initial engineering report determined that the Carnegie Building was earthquake prone and in need of major seismic strengthening for it to be safe for full-time occupation as a museum and to host museum staff and visitors.
A subsequent peer review of this engineering report revealed that the building was above the 34% National Building Standards (NBS) rating and therefore occupation was acceptable, although lower than the recommended 67% for public buildings.
In early 2018, construction drawing and engineering design work for the earthquake strengthening work were prepared and the successful tenderer for earthquake strengthening appointed in 2019. The work was delayed while Council applied for external funding to complete work to bring the museum’s climate and collection storage up to modern museum standards.
Funding from the Ministry of Culture and Heritage was approved in late 2020. The final tender for work was awarded to Trademark Construction in April 2021 and work began immediately with work on the building expected to be completed by the end of 2021.
Work on pouring the concrete for the foundations on the Carnegie Building started in August 2021. The perimeter foundations are a critical component of the work required to raise the building to 100% NBS. Subcontractors expect to pour 67 cubic metres of concrete today, and 12 tonnes of reinforcing steel has gone into the foundation cages to date. The perimeter steel reinforcing cages average 1m deep by 600mm wide spanning the complete perimeter of the buildings main and internal walls.
Concrete is supplied by local West Coast Firm, Allied Concrete. The subcontractor for the technical concrete pour are Shortcrete, who are Canturbury based and have extensive heritage building experience.
Staff and contractors are pleased with the way the work is progressing and today's work is a milestone in the project.
In September 2021 work on the perimeter foundations of the Carnegie Building was completed, including structurally tying the reinforcing bars through the floor into the foundation concreting. The next stage of work involves the construction of shear walls. This is a key component of the project and is created to resist seismic loads. The shear wall will be built with reinforced steel bars installed into the existing bricks by drilling several thousand holes throughout the building. Contractors will then tie the shear walls to the new perimeter foundations and spray with concrete to connect the earthquake strengthening works together.
Museum staff walkthrough - September 2021
As of February 2022, 80% of the construction work has been completed. Contractors are currently working on the exterior of the building, restoring the parapets and broken windows, as well as cleaning the building.
Work to date (May 2022) has seen full installation of new reinforced concrete foundations, concrete shear walls installed, internal structural steel columns in the interior walls, and reinforcing the ceiling with a steel diaphragm. External upgrades consist of securing the brickwork, removing the parapet to install new framing, replacing coloured glass in the windows and full cleaning of the building.
There is still a lot of work to be done, including installing Gib inside the building and painting, commissioning the electrical services, lighting, emergency lighting and fire protection, completion of the exterior with a new parapet, painting the woodwork, preparing the entryway columns for internal steel reinforcing rods and completing the accessible carpark area, pathway and signage.
Council currently expects the work to be completed by the end of July 2022.