At the 2022 Institute of Structural Engineers (IStuctE) awards, Beca’s involvement on Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington’s Rankine Brown library building won a structural engineering award for a technically impressive and well communicated response to save a public building after earthquake damage.The IStuctE awards are one of the world's major structural engineering awards, recognising and celebrating the immense skills structural engineers demonstrate across a vast range of structures and disciplines.
Beca supported the University with inspections in the hours after the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, rapidly developing temporary supporting structures in the following months, and delivering a highly innovative permanent solution to retrospectively base isolate the building's two lift shafts – potentially a world first.
The temporary supports (in blue) secured the damaged building within three months of the 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake, and left space for the permanent base isolation solution (in red) to be built around them - even though exactly what form this would take was unknown at the time.The judges commented how, “Great pains have been taken to restore this library following earthquake damage and the efforts to justify the building through repairs and upgrade are admirable, providing enormous savings on the alternative of new construction. The design implemented improvements beyond code requirements under severe working constraints as the library remained in use throughout.”
“There was impressive communication of the engineer’s role in the process at a digestible level for everyone involved to understand. This communication of the complex works to building users throughout the project stands out as a good example of the importance of our profession: teamwork, communication, collaboration and responsiveness,” they added.
The building is now fully base isolated, and the lift shafts move with the rest of the building during an earthquake. Additional seismic performance improvements have meant the building’s resilience has been significantly improved.
Congratulations to everyone involved in the project including principal project partners LT McGuinness Ltd. and MJH Engineering Ltd, and Te Herenga Waka - Victoria University of Wellington.