Church disputes Buildings Trust’s cathedral restoration figures

On Tuesday The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust announced  that the Anglican Cathedral in Christchurch New Zealand, which was severely damges in by an earthquake  could be restored for $67 million, as opposed to the $220 million the Anglican Church says is needed.

One of the most contentious factors in the $153 million difference is whether base isolators – flexible bearings in the foundations to minimise damage during an earthquake – would be needed.

The proposal by the trust excludes them.

But Anglican church spokesperson Rev Jayson Rhodes said base isolation would be needed for the building to withstand future earthquakes.

Other ways of reducing the cost proposed by the The Great Christchurch Buildings Trust co-chair Jim Anderton are:

  •  Save $22 million the church has allowed for inflation by starting the job immediately.
  • The trust would cover the $6.8 million it is expected to cost to stabilise the building.
  • The trust was prepared to help the church raise funds to meet the shortfall after the insurance payout is accounted for.

Mr Anderton said there is enormous goodwill world-wide for the cathedral to be restored and funding, as well as savings through pro-bono work, would be easily accessed.

Rhodes says some of the cost-cutting measures presented by the group are non-negotiable.

“At this stage they’ve only provided us with preliminary figures. Our advice from our engineers and from our quantity surveyors is any project must include elements including contingency, including escalation and the engineers are saying base isolation is essential.”

He says the church received the pricing plan on Tuesday morning and is reviewing the documents.

The church has presented three options for the cathedral: restoring the building, replacing it with a timber building in a similar style, or using a different and more modern design.

The costings have been published on the Cathedral Conversations website for each part of the process of restoration or rebuilding.


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