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Carnegie Building Earthquake Strengthening

Key Projects

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.

The Carnegie Building is currently closed to the public. Earthquake strengthening and external works comprising Stage 1 of the project are complete.


Construction drawing and engineering design work for the earthquake strengthening work prepared.

A successful tenderer for earthquake strengthening was appointed, however 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.

April Final tender for work was awarded to Trademark Construction in April 2021 and work began immediately.
August Work on pouring the concrete for the foundations started. The perimeter foundations are a critical component of the work required to raise the building to 100% NBS.

Subcontractors Shortcrete poured 67 cubic metres of concrete (supplied by Allied Concrete), and 12 tonnes of reinforcing steel went into the foundation cages. The perimeter steel reinforcing cages average 1m deep by 600mm wide spanning the complete perimeter of the buildings main and internal walls.

September Work on the perimeter foundations of the Carnegie Building was completed, including structurally tying the reinforcing bars through the floor into the foundation concreting.


80% of the construction work was completed.

Contractors began working on the exterior of the building, restoring the parapets and broken windows, as well as cleaning the building


Full installation of new reinforced concrete foundations.

Concrete shear walls installed.

Internal structural steel columns in the interior walls.

Reinforcing the ceiling with a steel diaphragm.

External upgrades to secure the brickwork, removing the parapet to install new framing, replacing coloured glass in the windows and full cleaning of the building.


At this stage the remaining works to be undertaken were external finishes to the plasterwork at the top of the building. This includes recoating the columns on the roof. Some of the works were required to re-secure mouldings that have become detached from the building and present a safety hazard.

June The parapet construction work and plastering were completed and the painting of the exterior of the building has started. The new HVAC system was completed and started up.

The exterior painting and constructing of a new accessible entrance were completed.

The perimeter fence and scaffolds were removed, and the site cleaned up.

An inspection done by the structural engineer on 17 July found that there were some items that needed to be completed. A snag list was also drawn up for the contractor to work through for completion of the building.


Minor outstanding items completed and the snag list to be worked through and signed off.

All guarantee and warrantee documentation to be handed over to council during a practical completion meeting to be scheduled.


Final exterior work has been completed. The carpark has been sealed and landscaping work finished.

External lights are in place to light up the building at night.

Next Steps

Staff and Council are determining the requirements to complete Stage 2 and engaging contractors to undertake the fit-out of the galleries. The fit-out includes plastering and painting of walls, installation of lighting, flooring, and other internal requirements.”

Funding of $1,485,000 is included in the Annual Plan 2023/2024 for the fit-out. This includes funding of $709,390 brought forward from the 2022/2023 year.

The Ngā Whakatūranga project’s financial feasibility report has been completed. To inform the concept design stage, public workshops with communities and schools have been conducted during 2022 and continue to run in early 2023. A Funding application with the Ministry for Culture and Heritage Regeneration Fund, lead by Heritage Hokitika, for the Ngā Whakatūranga project has been progressed through to the third round of applications.