Novotel Christchurch

Earthquake damage from the February 2011 earthquake closed the Novotel hotel. The seismic remediation and reinstatement of the hotel was highly innovative in its approach.

Host Hotels engaged The Building Intelligence Group to manage the seismic remediation of the Ibis and Novotel hotels concurrently, both hotels being located in the Christchurch Red Zone. Delivering projects in the red zone was unchartered territory and presented a range of unique project risks, market resourcing issues, consenting and access strategies and sequencing of works. The journey to reopen both hotels would necessitate innovation in the methodology strategies applied and in the technologies to be employed.

The 13 floor Novotel hotel required a full façade replacement and internal fitout. Removing the façade had significant implications and risks to internal areas through potential weather damage. The solution was to construct a structurally designed timber temporary weather wall. The shear wall temporary works allowed repairs to take place in sufficiently small phases, ensuring works to progress simultaneously to the interior.

The reinstatement programme created opportunity to return the hotel’s facilities to ‘like for like’, with close attention paid to achieving a quality fitout of the hotel’s key areas, namely the entrance, reception, branding, lobby, restaurant and bar areas. Quality breakout spaces and meeting areas and a conference room added to the ambience of the hotel.

The ingredients to success lay with an agile and aggressive programme, close stakeholder management with the hotel’s management and a strong relationship with the Christchurch City Council which ensured that building consenting processes were streamlined. This resulted in achieve a Code of Compliance before Practical Completion, allow the Novotel to open for business within a day of Practical Completion on 4 September 2013.