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Structex awarded for hospital building’s seismic performance

12th August 2011

Structex wins two national awards for hospital building’s seismic performance

Leading Christchurch Structural Engineering firm Structex has been awarded the 2011 Concrete3 Excellence in Concrete Innovation Award from the Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand (CCANZ) for its design of the Southern Cross Hospital’s Endoscopy Consulting building in Christchurch. This project was also recognised last week by the Association of Consulting Engineers New Zealand (ACENZ) with a Silver at the industry body’s annual awards.

The Endoscopy building, completed in August 2010, was designed using innovative new techniques for improved seismic performance that were put to the test by the 22 February Christchurch earthquake.

“Being recognised by our industry peers for this project is very satisfying,” said Structex Director and project lead, Gary Haverland in response to the awards.

“But what’s even more satisfying is how the new building responded to the earthquakes with no structural damage.”

“The performance of this building through a number of seismic events clearly meets the aim of the Concrete3 initiative – to raise awareness of concrete’s contribution to New Zealand’s sustainable development – leading to Structex winning the award,” says CCANZ CEO Rob Gaimster.

“The Canterbury earthquakes have really focused public attention on the design and materials used in building construction in Christchurch, and concrete’s role in innovative low-rise, low-damage design approaches, as evidenced by the Endoscopy building, will be significant as the rebuild gathers pace.”

The building design employed included a South Island first – the use of the Precast Seismic Structural System (PRESSS) combined with U shaped flexural plates. .

The underlying premise is that the design elements minimise shaking during and earthquake and restore the structure to its original vertical position after an event, allowing occupants to re-enter the building.

“It’s obvious how important structurally sound buildings are in emergency response situations. But many Christchurch business owners would also benefit from this type of design in future, if it means improved business continuity and less need to replace buildings,” said Mr Haverland. “What is more, the use of PRESSS in the design of a building is not particularly costly.”

A close working relationship with Fletchers Construction and the use of conventional construction materials and connections ensured that, in this case, the client received a seismically superior building without incurring either a time or cost penalty.

The technical detail of the design includes the utilisation of pre cast walls, beams and columns, joined in a ductile manner, combined with un-bonded post-tensioned cable within the members.

The Structex team collaborated with known PRESSS expert Stephano Pampanin, from Canterbury University to ensure the design was capable of providing sufficient strength and elasticity in the structure to resist large earthquake forces with minimal or no damage.

The building is one of many structures designed by Structex that have performed particularly well in the recent spate of Earthquakes. The tallest building in Christchurch the Pacific Tower and the first five star green rated office building, the HSBC tower are two such examples.

ENDS

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