Earthquake strengthening, Wellington and beyond

At Petone Engineering we are specialists in the seismic strengthening of buildings.
seismic strengthening

Seismic upgrade work is a big part of the Wellington construction sector

Petone Engineering is one of a few Wellington Companies with SFC (Steel Fabricator Certification).

This quality management accreditation, along with the audit process required to maintain it, ensures high quality and traceability, giving you and your consultants piece of mind that the job will be performed correctly. Find out more about the assurance our SFC certification can bring to your structural steel projects.

Exposed seismic strengthening steel frames

Experience counts when it comes to seismic upgrades.

Unlike fabricating and installing structural steel in new developments, earthquake strengthening older buildings can involve additional variables and uncertainty, some of which you only discover once you start the work.

It is common for the scope of seismic strengthening projects to shift and change as the project progresses. Petone Engineering has the experience, technology, and workshop capabilities to ensure that earthquake strengthening jobs go as smoothly as possible, minimising cost and time overruns.

We apply the lessons learnt on previous seismic projects to every new job that we undertake. Our aim is to help make projects run on-time and on-budget, and there are numerous areas where we can help clients achieve this, including:

  • Early contractor involvement to identify and mitigate potential issues
  • Frame and bracket designs that allow for the challenges of old buildings
  • Extensive experience working in occupied buildings
  • Flexible fabrication options
  • Innovative solutions to difficult access when bringing steel frames into sites.
To find out more about our experience in upgrading older buildings, see our blog Lessons Learnt in Seismic Strengthening.

At the completion of every project, we provide a Quality Assurance Package with all the relevant documents needed for both consultant and council compliance.

High-rise Apartment Buildings and Offices

Undertaking earthquake strengthening in apartments buildings brings with it some unique challenges.

On some projects, apartment buildings are vacant and the internal fit out has been stripped out before we start work. On other jobs the steel frames need to be installed around the internal fit out, with care taken to minimise damage as we work. We’ve even done seismic upgrades in apartment buildings that are still occupied, fitting in with and working around tenants as needed.

Access can also be an issue in apartment buildings.

Space is always at a premium, lots of doors and corridors mean some lateral thinking is needed around how to get frames into the building, and in the design of frames themselves to make installation easier. It’s one of the areas where using a fabricator/installer with experience really makes a difference.

High-rise apartment and office buildings that we have undertaken seismic upgrades on include:

Seismic steel bracket and tube corner reinforcement brace

Commercial and Industrial Buildings

Covering everything from cavernous warehouses to occupied office buildings, seismic upgrades in this sector are always interesting.

We’ve worked on some larger older buildings where we could drive our trucks loaded with steel frame right inside, and unload and install using cranes and scissor lifts.

At the other end of the scale are buildings that have difficult access, and we have to use ingenuity and lateral thinking to get the seismic steelwork into the building and installed. We have even developed a unique solution for getting strengthening frames into buildings with very limited access options.

In some buildings the biggest challenge is dealing with mixtures of construction materials including un-reinforced brick, timber, concrete, steel and often several generations of old earthquake strengthening.

On other projects where the building was in use during the day, we have installed the seismic steel frames at night, room by room, floor by floor, leaving each area usable the next day.

Commercial and Industrial buildings we have performed earthquake strengthening on include:

As a prequalification tool, SiteWise Gold allows member principals and main contractors to see just how good our health and safety systems are, and gives assurance that we can meet all their project requirements.

Having SiteWise Gold status demonstrates our commitment to maintaining industry leading health and safety systems and processes for the benefit of our employees and our clients.

The benefits of automation

In seismic upgrade projects, a high degree of flexibility around installation options needs to be designed and built into the steel work.

Making frames easier to install on site often requires additional work during steel fabrication. This is particularly the case when adding unusual slots and holes, to fixing brackets. Our CNC bandsaw and particularly our CNC beamline, one of only a few in Wellington, make doing this work quick, accurate and economical.

Get in touch today to book your time slot and secure Petone Engineering to complete your next seismic project.

Key clients and contractors that we have worked with on seismic strengthening projects in the Wellington Region include:
  • L T McGuiness
  • Catalyst Consulting
  • Hawkins 2017 Ltd
  • Fulton Hogan
  • Keyway Construction
  • JNS Construction
  • Kensway Construction
  • Naylor Love
  • McKee Fehl
  • Dunning Thornton Consultants
  • Beca
  • DTE Consulting Engineers
  • Sawrey Consulting Engineers Ltd
  • NZ Consulting Engineers Ltd
  • Focus Engineering Consultants Ltd
  • Silvester Clark
Earthquake strengthening projects that we are proud to have worked on include:

Case Study | Kensway Consultants

Kensway Consultants undertakes property consulting, project management and quantity surveying. They pride themselves on doing things “Ken’s Way”, in tribute to the CEO’s father, Ken Angus, meaning to the highest standards possible.

One of their projects, involving a URM upgrade on apartments in central Wellington, suffered a serious setback. The day before work was due to start their contractor pulled out, leaving them severely in the lurch. Missing this deadline meant incurring big fines as well as missing out on government funding. Disaster.

seismic strengthening wellington

To learn more about our engineering services, please contact us. Or simply phone 04 586 5518.