Since 2011 the directors of ABI Piers have managed commercial and residential earthquake repairs and rebuilds throughout Christchurch. With more than 40 years’ experience in construction, Chris and Nigel Colenso saw that large commercial buildings had expensive base isolation systems to protect them from earthquake damage, but there was no cost-effective system to protect smaller buildings.
To fill that gap in the market, they developed three versions of the ABI Piers foundation system to suit most locations. During severe earthquakes, the ABI Piers foundation system protects buildings, occupants and contents, preventing the full force of the quake affecting the house. The support springs flex and re-centre the building while soaking up seismic energy.
Theunis Klok, an Engineering Technologist at Callaghan Innovation, is having the system installed under his home. “I first heard about the ABI Piers system at my workplace when Chris came to show us the technology,” Theunis says.
“It appealed to me because I never want to go through the stress, financial hardship and unnecessary cost [of an earthquake] ever again. ABI Piers will permanently repair the earthquake damaged foundation of my house and ‘future proof’ my biggest investment.
“I believe the ABI Piers system is better than alternative foundations currently on the market and the cost compares really well.”
The system has been tested by BRANZ as compliant with the New Zealand Building Code. If post-earthquake relevelling of the home is required, the piers are easily relevelled and height adjusted back to as new position. Visit www.abipiers.com.
It’s safe to say that Christchurch has been leading the way when it comes to earthquake research, as we become determined to be an infrastructural world leader.
Now a University of Canterbury infrastructure engineering programme has been awarded $12 million investment funding from the MBIE Partnerships Scheme for a project titled ‘Infrastructure Systems Engineered for Improved Value and Resilience’.
Led by UC Quake Centre director Dr Robert Finch, with UC’s Ada Rutherford, Professor of Architectural Engineering Larry Bellamy as the Science Leader, the project’s purpose is to transform the building and construction industry so that it leads the world in digital design and construction methods, material and manufacturing technologies, and construction systems.
UC Quake Centre director Dr Finch says the sector is internationally competitive, enhances the wealth, resilience and wellbeing of New Zealand communities and supports higher levels of economic growth.
“It means both industry and Government can now work together to drive research outcomes that will change and improve the performance and affordability of infrastructure development in New Zealand over the long term,” he says.
“Ultimately this will contribute to wealth creation for the country and more resilient communities.”
Professor Bellamy says the aim is for commercialisation of new digital and material technologies to be under way within two years of the project ending, spawning a new manufacturing sector and significantly improving the productivity of the building industry.
“After five years, we expect leading firms will be utilising new building methods and technologies with direct financial benefits to New Zealand in the hundreds of millions each year.”
Just when it seems the world is suffering a surfeit of doom and gloom stories, along comes a story big-hearted enough to illuminate the entire universe. Along comes Project EBC and four fabulous people – Mike Lowden, Bette Chen, Tina Morrell and Fergus Flannery.
Project EBC (Everest Base Camp) was born from the coming together of like-minded individuals whose passion and vision for Everest initiated a two-fold mission: to trek to Everest Base Camp (at an elevation of 5,364 metres) and to help a family from Khumjung Village rebuild their earthquake-damaged home.
The home belongs to Tshering Thundu (Sandu), his wife, Tangii, and their four children. The 7.8 magnitude earthquake of April 25, 2015 wrought such havoc that Sandu – a porter and guide for more than 15 years who has summited Everest five times – and his family have had to camp under canvas ever since; not pleasant when winter temperatures can plummet to minus 15.
“If anybody can understand the hardships this family has endured, it’s Cantabrians,” Tina says.
The cost for the materials and freight for the repair of the family home exceed NZD $20,000. Funds raised in excess of building and repair costs will aid in the children’s schooling and any surplus to support the Project EBC team, which will be working on-site in Khumjung for two days alongside local Nepalese tradesmen.
This is ‘trekking with a mission’. With a goal of raising $25,000, Project EBC ran the 2017 Mount Cook Marathon as a team and raised $1,800+; they completed the 2017 CBD Stampede Obstacle Course, and on February 17 hosted a fundraiser gala dinner which raised more than $7,000.
“It may seem only one family’s benefitting,” says Fergus, “but the community will help build the home – the ripple effect from that can’t be measured.”
Tina nods, “A bit like conquering Everest – one step at a time.”
For more information, visit www.projectebc.com.