Facade Retention & Heritage Restoration

Ceres New Zealand can help you to retain the facade of your beloved buildings and precious landmarks.

Among the innovative services we have introduced to New Zealand are Make Safe, facade retention, and heritage restoration. These technologies and techniques were developed in California as a result of high seismic activity and Ceres NZ has been a pioneer in this field of work in New Zealand. Saving and restoring buildings never seemed possible before, but we worked to provide creative engineering and constructive solutions that resulted in building preservation.

Ceres NZ completed some of the first Make Safe and façade retention works in New Zealand, creating a niche market for building owners looking for an alternative to demolition. One such example is the Excelsior Hotel.

heritage and landmark restoration NZ
Excelsior Hotel Facade Retention by Ceres NZ

The Excelsior Hotel – Facade Retention

The façade of the Excelsior Hotel facing Manchester Street in the CBD is an iconic structure to the city. The majority of the building was severely damaged and was slated for complete demolition. Teaming with the Historic Places Trust, Ceres NZ developed a work plan to retain the front façade to be incorporated into a future building.

Ceres NZ developed an inexpensive, temporary shoring system to stabilize historic facades by filling shipping containers with heavy aggregates and bracing the walls. This allowed more time for structural analysis and repair solutions that minimized demolition. The system was successfully installed and the remainder of the building was demolished. The stand-alone façade and supporting system have gone through multiple earthquakes, including the December 2011, 6.0 magnitude quake.

We have saved many buildings whose owners wished to preserve or seismically retrofit, but need to bring the structure to a level of 33% Code Compliance so that the buildings are not automatically demolished as unsafe structures. By working with a group of structural engineers, we find interim solutions to preserve these structures, providing the owner time to resolve insurance claims while keeping their options open. Examples of this are Sammy’s Bar, a classic wine bar in the CBD; and a heritage office complex called the Billen’s Building.