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Cathedral Square

Mr Ken Weir, General Manager of BD Construction Ltd says that the heading and comments attributed to him in the front-page story of today's Press regarding Cathedral Square were taken out of context.

Christchurch City Council and Mr Weir acknowledge that it was recognised there were always going to be issues regarding the use of granite in Cathedral Square as it had been the first time that granite had been laid in this type of project in New Zealand. In recognition of this there were discussions between the Council and Mr Weir to reach solutions as to the appropriate method of laying the granite. Potential problems in using granite were identified and solutions sought.

The impression is given in the leading paragraphs that Mr Weir had advised the Council of problems with Cathedral Square and that notwithstanding his views he was told by the Council to not divulge those views and simply carry on with the contract of laying the granite in Cathedral Square. This is not correct.

cont The Council made a decision to use this granite and contracted with BD Construction to lay the granite. Mr Weir's quoted comment "keep your mouth shut and keep laying it" was made to the Press reporter in the context that discussions had been held regarding the laying of granite, the granite had been tested and the decision had been made to lay it with the view that the issues regarding the granite could be resolved. Since the granite has been laid in the Council's view all of those issues have been resolved satisfactorily given the inherent nature of using granite.

The article gives the impression that there was no specification used for the contract to lay the granite and this is incorrect. There was a specification provided which had been developed from a well proven specification previously used by the Council to lay concrete pavers.

With reference to the cleaning of the granite tiles, the Council had always understood that cleaning would be an issue. Prior to the tiles being laid the Council carried out tests as to how best to clean them. From those tests best methods of cleaning were developed and funding allocated.

The article quotes Mr Weir as saying the Council was using "a very low quality form of granite - something like 80% quartz". Mr Weir did not make that comment. All granite has a quartz component and independent testing of the granite established its durability.

The article also refers to the chipping of the granite tiles. Granite because of its geological composition is prone to chipping. It was understood by the Council that there would be an issue with chipping, and through a number of measures the Council is progressively reducing the chipping problem. Such chipping problems are more likely to occur in the traffic areas of Cathedral Square off the carriageway where there is vehicle movement.

For maintenance reasons the Council had purchased an additional supply of the granite. This is standard practice for projects. Granite has not been purchased for Stage 5 of Cathedral Square.

Concerning the matter of fading of road markings, this is not due to the sealant. Fading is due to the hard nature of granite tiles. Again Mr Weir did not make the comment of which cont

he is quoted in the Press regarding the sealant.

In summary there were problems that arose with regard to the granite tiles in Cathedral Square but these had been anticipated by the Council and solutions are currently in place to resolve issues regarding the granite tiles.

Issued by: Ken Weir General Manager BD Construction Ltd

Peter Mitchell Associate City Manager Christchurch City Council

Council contact: Stephen Matheson, Manager City Streets (telephone 371 1653)

Christchurch City Council http://www.ccc.govt.nz


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