Christchurch Basilica Receives Much Needed Support

In an effort to save and restore the Christchurch Basilica after the devastating earthquakes, engineers have chosen a novel solution by using Royal Wolf shipping containers to support the cathedral’s damaged walls whilst repairs are underway.

One hundred and three years after celebrating its first mass, the Renaissance style Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, once the pride of the city, is now under critical repair with the team working around the clock to save what they can and rebuild the rest to its former glory.

As part of a wider engineering strategy, saving the walls of the building was not only crucial but very time sensitive as they supported other parts of the building. Murray Flett, Site Manager at Naylor Love Construction, talks about how shipping containers offered a good solution.

“The work that needs to be done to the Basilica is extensive and upon first seeing the challenge we recognised we needed a quick and effective solution to support the walls, as they were supporting other parts of the building such as the roof. Stacked shipping containers offered us an even spread of support, and hay bales between the containers and the cathedral walls made sure the support structure didn’t damage the stone detailing.

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“One of the main considerations in deciding on this approach was the sturdiness of containers when stacked. The quantity that we needed to hire was large – 20 for the first order and then over 30 for an additional wall – Royal Wolf was able to supply these at short notice and at a competitive price,” he said.

John Bowen, Business Development Executive for Royal Wolf, talked about the company’s assistance in the earthquake clean-up and repair effort.

“We are delighted that Royal Wolf can assist in the effort to restore the Christchurch Basilica to its former glory and provide a solution to Naylor Love Construction. With their portability, low cost and easily customised design, Royal Wolf containers offer many industries a variety of solutions.

“During the Christchurch earthquake clean-up process our containers have been used for everything from temporary retail units for affected businesses, accommodation units for New Zealand Fire Service, site offices and even protection barriers from potential landslides on main arterial routes.”