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The Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement project team are raring to go on the first phase of bringing the city’s beloved icon back to life

First physical work on cathedral to begin once Covid-19 guidelines permit

Coronavirus postponed the much-anticipated start date of physical work on Christ Church Cathedral, but the project team has adapted work practices and brought forward some workstreams so it can hit the ground running as soon as the lockdown guidelines allow construction to begin.

WEB EXCLUSIVE

Christ Church Cathedral Reinstatement project director Keith Paterson says it was disappointing that physical work could not begin as planned, but the safety and wellbeing of the community must always come first.

“This is an incredibly difficult time for many people in New Zealand and throughout the world. We’re fortunate the project team has been able to keep working remotely by staying in touch virtually. We’re responding to the challenge with a slight refocus, bringing forward work streams like detailed engineering for stabilisation structures, the approvals programme, and detailed construction planning,” Mr Paterson says.

Dean of Christchurch Lawrence Kimberley says the lockdown reminds us of how precious it is to be able to gather together. “We’d planned a public dawn blessing on 3 April ahead of physical work beginning so that people could gather and mark the occasion together. Rest assured we will reschedule this when it’s safe and appropriate to do so,” Dean Lawrence says.

Complex work

Mr Paterson says that once work is permitted, the first task will be to establish the construction site, followed by the start of stabilisation. “The stabilisation phase is complex. We are working on the south transept and at the front of the cathedral to begin with, and this will give us the safest and fastest access for workers. Once stabilised, we will be able to retrieve heritage items and gather additional information on the condition of the building.

“People will see bracing and steel framing being erected and the methodical deconstruction of some sections, with materials being catalogued and stored for later use. The 1960s vestries and 1990s visitor centre will be removed to give safer and faster access to stabilise the older sections of the cathedral.

“Our focus has always been and will continue to be doing the work as safely and quickly as possible, and we’ll try to recover any time lost due to Covid-19. We are all excited and raring to go on this first phase of bringing this beloved icon back to life,” Mr Paterson says.

The stabilisation phase is expected to take up to two years and to cost $11.8 million.


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