Te Kaha comes out of the ground

The concrete structure of Canterbury’s Multi-Use Arena begins to take shape.

Te Kaha comes out of the ground

The concrete structure of Te Kaha – Canterbury’s Multi-Use Arena – is now emerging vertically from ground, with the first of the concrete columns breaking cover recently.

This is a significant milestone for the Christchurch City Council project being delivered by BESIX Watpac and the Kōtui consortium as the arena’s structure begins to take shape.

The first four five-metre-tall columns were boxed and filled with concrete on Thursday 30 March, then left to cure for three days before the formwork boxing was removed.

Christchurch City Council’s Te Kaha Project Delivery Chief Executive, David Kennedy, said the work in the south-west corner of the site signals the start of the next phase of the 30,000-seat arena’s construction.

“From this point on, people are going to see real tangible progress happening on-site as the contractors begin the vertical construction,” says Mr Kennedy.

“Over the past eight months a huge amount of work has been achieved to improve the land and undertake 17 major concrete pours for the arena’s foundations, but from this point on, people will start to see Te Kaha rise above the hoardings around the site.”

The ground improvement work was completed ahead of schedule two weeks ago, while the substructure continues to work north and east across the site. Approximately 75 per cent of the southern stand and half of the western stand substructure works are now complete.

BESIX Watpac Project Director Adrian Jones congratulated the team on achieving this milestone.

“Our delivery team has worked tirelessly to progress the works in a safe and well-planned manner. To see the arena emerge from the ground is an exciting point in the project,” Mr Jones says.

“Now that superstructure works have commenced, we’re gearing up to start construction of the bowl’s structural steel in June.

Timelapse of works from November 2022 to February 2023

#Economic benefit: local facility upgrade

The project has also delivered local benefits through the upgrade of facilities at Christchurch-based engineering firm, Holmes Solutions. The facility has been transformed into only one of two of its kind globally to test very large buckling-restrained braces (BRB) – the other being in Taiwan.

With an extended test rig, bigger hydraulic system and upgraded foundations, it is now capable of facilitating the most comprehensive, project-specific BRB testing program in the world for Te Kaha. The upgrade has essentially brought expanded capability onto New Zealand’s shores.

Additionally, facilitating local testing has reduced the project’s carbon footprint by eliminating the need to ship the BRB’s from Taiwan.

BESIX Watpac Project Director Brian Hayes said the BRBs are a key element to ensuring the stadium can withstand seismic activity and a thorough testing program is essential.

“The bowl’s complex structure means there will be many variable lengths of BRB’s required for the project and that’s what makes this program the most comprehensive,” Mr Hayes said.

“The breadth of intellectual testing data collected may also be transferable to other projects, improving efficiencies in the future.”

Testing has commenced and the first BRB is due to be installed mid-2023.

What is a BRB?

A BRB is a structural brace designed to allow a building to withstand the forces and loadings caused by earthquakes. It helps prevent the structure from buckling when under certain pressures and forces.

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