Seismic Strengthening of the Majestic Centre

Structural Designer

Holmes Consulting

Client Name

Kiwi Property Group


Wellington, New Zealand

PRINCIPAL CONTRACTOR: Fletcher Construction     

ARCHITECT: Opus Architecture            

PROJECT MANAGER: The Building Intelligence Group



The Majestic Centre is an iconic landmark in the centre of Wellington, New Zealand. Constructed circa 1991, it is a 30 storey modern office tower. New Zealand sits on the ‘pacific ring of fire’; a highly active seismic region. The building was assessed in 2011 using a “performance based” approach and found to have a lower than expected seismic performance. Over the last five years the building has been systematically strengthened while remaining fully tenanted. The project has spurred new assessment and strengthening techniques and overcome several major logistical challenges to reach a successful completion.

Judge's comment:

The strengthening works of this office tower impressed the Judges through the evident diligence and added-value applied to the refurbishment of this building. The strengthening works affected the entire structure, from the fundamental to the subtler details. It is evident that the engineers carefully studied the challenges, identifying their impact and risks, resolving these pragmatically and diligently. The care with which this was tackled highlights the teams’ skill and thorough understanding of the extreme conditions.

Not only has the existing building been retained and repurposed to satisfy more stringent seismic requirements and saving on material, but it has also been planned and executed whilst maintaining full occupancy. The fact that a fully operational office was retained thoroughly impressed the judges.The practical upshot of this has been to ensure continued rental revenue during the five years of works, whilst also raising the value of the property in the longer term. It would have been all too easy to simply decide to demolish the building and start over, however this project has demonstrated a profitable outcome for the client and is an exciting example of the sustainable benefits structural engineers can bring to similar buildings.

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