Rebuilding in the Christchurch CBD- Duncan’s Building.

What is new in High Street?

The rumour mill has it that the Peebles Group have got their Resource Consent to demolish all the backs of the 8 Duncan’s Units that they own.

I can see considerable engineering difficulties with this plan. One being the seismic gap issue on a joined/shared frontage and the issues of pounding damage.  The technical stuff is:  “If a seismic gap were to be introduced behind the continuous facade, the facade at the gap would shear with earthquake loads perpendicular to High Street, and for earthquake loads parallel to High Street, the facade would probably separate at the gap, and would probably have pounding damage.” 

There are also issues with: the alignment of the frontages, disturbing the new footings that have been put in place post earthquake, party walls, varying standards (NBS) of the facade strengthening, facade realignment and the list goes on….Thanks to Barry Knowles for the detail….

In plain language, it means the frontage will move at different speeds, which is BAD…. it’s called pounding….

There was no building consent lodged with this Resource Consent and one hopes that the CCC consults widely with the relevant engineers.    sigh….

I suspect that the costs of this proposal have not been looked at carefully.  It is nice, quick and easy to demolish the rear of these buildings but the Engineering required to just keep the facades up is out of proportion with the cost of a “wee bit of Brick laying”.  In other words brick laying is a hell of a lot cheaper and simpler.  (There is a serious disconnect between Heritage retention ideals and Financial imperatives. This situation does not look like it is going to be resolved any time soon.)

I did sent a comment to the CCC regarding this issue.  I got no response.  I assume that a Non-notified consent is in the process of being granted.  I find it a bit odd, considering that there are 2 building owners in the same building who are definitely going to be affected.

As I told the CCC:  I have a number of preliminary considerations regarding this application:

  • The inconsistent approach being taken to the Duncan’s Buildings.  I would like to see one consistent solution for all the units left standing.
  • Demolition of the backs is not the best long-term outcome for the units.  The Duncan’s Units, along with New Regent St, is the last and oldest “strip row” of shops left in the city and this proposal will significantly devalue their Heritage value.
  • The Peebles Group maintains that the “High Street facade as the only portion of the building that can be feasibly saved”  and having only “minor effects”.  This is patently incorrect. They remark that “Overall, the proposal will have no more than minor effects in terms of heritage values”.
  • By demolishing all barring the frontage we lose all the Heritage fabric of the Party Walls and the rather quirky and classic  lean-to character of the backs.
  • Party walls are a major part of the Heritage Fabric. There are 4 party walls at the north end that have already had repairs done on them and strengthening put in place. These could be easily repaired, further strengthened and restored and the backs rebuilt in 2 cases.
  • I am surprised that the CCC – Council Heritage advisors are “supportive” of this proposal, as this proposal will significantly “impact on the Heritage values” of the Duncan’s Buildings.  (It explains their lack of comment on this issue, ie they have been conspicuous by their absence and silence).
  • This proposal is not the only feasible and financially viable solution available as both David Collins and I have proved.

All I can say is that they better not ring me again to hassle me about demolishing a crappy brick wall…

ho hum..

Note: I have no beef with Richard Peebles, he has been a “breath of fresh air” in the street.  I just don’t like this part of his plan!  But I would say that…

I see that work has started demolishing the verandahs last week!.

IMG_20170424_143525656

The table and chairs is our lunch room…

IMG_20170424_142139533

Moving on!!

  • I am looking forward to the demolition of the unit next door. The new building owner is very pro active regarding demolition!  ye ha….. He is going to be a bit of a challenge for the CCC, but seeing that they have granted demo consent to the Peebles Group, he is in a good position to get his down as well.
  • Our toilet block is starting to appear from the rubble…. Even the brick wall is looking good! The final steel columns are in, it has only taken 6 years to get them in.  It is a bit of a stop – start rebuild which is frustrating, but really it makes no difference.

    IMG_20170421_171439028_HDR

    New toilet block appearing from the rubble.

Well, now that Gerry Brownlee is no longer in charge of the rebuild and now Minister of Foreign Affairs…  (Pray to what ever God you believe in, for strength and hope for early elections) .. bet you he goes on the party list so that he does not have to stand against Raf Manji’s in Fendalton).  We now have a new Rebuild Minister, Nicky Wagner… In Christchurch she is known as Nicky… Who……   She has been invisible in the city for 6 years.

same old same old.

Link here:   http://www.stuff.co.nz/the-press/news/91868470/cabinet-reshuffle-gerry-brownlee-no-longer-canterbury-rebuild-boss

I’m off to bugger around on face book….. and maybe paint some walls and shift some bricks….

ps My house looks like a house!  progress….

 IMG_20170407_085648564.jpg
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4 thoughts on “Rebuilding in the Christchurch CBD- Duncan’s Building.

  1. Don’t be at all surprised if the facades “accidentally” fail while propped and all have to come down to be replaced with a nice row of continuous tilt-slab

    • No, unfortunately I will not be surprised. What has surprised me though is the lack of interest by the CCC Heritage team in this issue. A building in CHCH is only safe if it has a willing owner. If this is not the case its a foregone conclusion that its a demo.

  2. I notice the unit to the north of yours has had its verandah demolished – does that mean it has been bought and incorporated into the Peebles development? Or will at least be fixed? 🙂

    • Hi Chris, t’was a whoops!
      No unfortunately, there has been no progress with this land owner for 6 plus years. The 2 units at the far North end are also about to be demolished by LINZ, (I am not sure to what extent) as a result of inactivity by the land owner. The same fate is possible for the rear of the unit directly next to us.
      Its starting to get to get really messy. I blame the lack of support by Council, CERA, CCDU etc for allowing the situation to get to this stage. They are toothless. But I would say that!

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