To achieve 100 percent of the National Building Standard (NBS) code, James Cook Hotel Grand Chancellor in Wellington has recently completed its seismic upgrade.

An experienced project team was appointed by the hotel,  including RCP project managers, Aurecon engineers, Tennent Brown Architects and RLB quantity surveyors. Hawkins Construction was the main contractor, and together the team have worked on the strengthening process over the past 13 months starting in December 2014 and finishing in January this year.

Seismically, the building was divided into four parts, and each section was treated slightly differently. The main process involved a number of structural walls being wrapped with a carbon fibre product to provide additional strength to the existing concrete. To complete the strengthening, the project was done in stages, including the carpark walls, the Terrace Wing and the walls around the hotel’s lift. Additional steel brackets were also added to part of the building.

General manager Steve Martin said this was vital, especially in a city like Wellington.

“Many of our corporate and government clients now require that their employees use accommodation that meets a certain NBS standard. Now that we are at 100 percent of the NBS code we are very well placed to meet these requirements."

The 268-room hotel remained operational throughout the upgrade, so managing the noise and heavy construction in a live environment was challenging. However, regular and effective communication with all parties throughout the process ensured the project ran smoothly.

“We were fortunate in having an excellent team managing the process.

“Our guests have been very positive, and we have been very successful in winning a number of corporate and government accounts.”