The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, Canterbury, New Zealand

Justice Emergency Precinct

The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct is currently under construction in central Christchurch, Canterbury, New Zealand. It will be the biggest building project in the country's history to house multiple government agencies, including the Ministry of Justice, New Zealand Police, the Department of Corrections and New Zealand Fire Service, in a single location.

It is one of the major projects identified by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Agency's City Recovery Plan, following the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

The design for the project is being led by the Ministry of Justice and the Government of New Zealand and is provided by an architectural consortium involving Warren & Mahoney, as well as Cox and Opus Architecture.

"It will be the biggest building project in the country's history to house multiple government agencies."

The New Zealand Prime Minister unveiled the design in October 2013. Construction of the $300m building complex began in July 2014 and is scheduled to be completed by mid 2017. The 40,000m² precinct will accommodate up to 1,100 workers and a total of 900 daily visitors.

The project is expected to employ 400-500 people at the peak construction phase.

Details of Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

The precinct is located at a site surrounded by the city's main arterial roads, including Colombo, Tuam, Durham and Lichfield Streets. It will comprise three adjacently located buildings, including a justice building that houses 19 courtrooms and the judiciary, an emergency services building that features an Emergency Operations Centre (EOC), along with the Fire Service, Police, and Civil Defence and Emergency Management agencies for Christchurch and Canterbury, as well as a 7,100m² parking building.

The precinct has been designed to preserve the constitutional separation between the judiciary and executive agencies while amalgamating multifarious government agencies. The five-storey complex is envisaged to have a total floor area of 40,000m². A large central courtyard facilitates easy navigation throughout the building complex. The flexible design leaves room for future planned expansion and easy reconfiguration in times of emergencies.

The European Patent Office (EPO) will have a new office building at Rijswijk, The Hague, Netherlands, by 2017.

The sustainable features of the precinct include natural ventilation, a solar-electric assisted heat pump water heating facility and efficient air conditioning via aquifer water.

Construction of the multi-agency government building complex

Earthworks and ground improvement works for the project began in February 2014. A total of 25,000m³ of soil, which is the equivalent to ten Olympic-size swimming pools, was stabilised by using 3,500m³ of cement during the ground stabilisation and improvement phase. The soil was then placed back in the ground to support a heavy duty 1.2m-thick concrete raft on which two of the three buildings of the precinct are being erected.

Contractors involved

Fletcher Construction was awarded the main construction contract for the Christchurch multi-agency precinct in June 2014. Downer was selected as the early works contractor. Resource Co-ordination Partnership is the project manager.

Rider Levett Bucknall has been appointed as the quantity surveyor, while Opus International Consultants act as the building services engineer.

Assisted by Tonkin & Taylor, Holmes Consulting Group will provide structural, civil and geotechnical engineering services for the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, while fire engineering services are provided by Holmes Fire.