Home Key Projects Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild

Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild

McConnell Dowell was awarded a contract to carry out post-earthquake reconstruction works following the first of a series of major earthquakes on 4 September 2010. A significant increase in scope following the 22 February 2011 quake led to the creation of the SCIRT Alliance of which McConnell Dowell is a key participant.

The Challenge

The scale and high profile nature of the works, combined with ongoing seismic activity and an evolving project scope, bring significant challenges to the team. With works expected in excess of NZ$100M per year for the next five years, resource allocation and works planning are key challenges. Local resources are strained, meaning many subcontractors have been drawn from around New Zealand and internationally. Differing health and safety, environmental and quality standards mean extensive training is required for these crews. In addition to a labour shortage, a lack of both short and long term accommodation remains an ongoing issue in the city.
With Christchurch subject to a large number of environmental and archaeological authorities, extensive environmental management is required. Consent is required from local Runanga (tribal council) prior to any works adjacent to rivers. Sediment control and dewatering are the main environmental concerns, due to Christchurch's flat landscape and high water table.

The Solution

The main works currently being undertaken by our team include network drainage works and repair to the historic retaining walls at Lyttelton and Mt Pleasant. The majority of the drainage work is in densely serviced areas, including one site which involved negotiating five services - including a 600KV cable. With much of the drainage works centered in residential areas, stakeholder management has been a key focus of the team. Months of disruption caused by repair works place additional strain on residents already stressed by ongoing earthquakes and property damage.

Key to Success

A flexible management approach, combined with robust systems and processes allowed us to respond to issues as they arose. This approach required significant collaboration and openness amongst the team.
Project Stats
The estimated work scope includes:
•    160 km water reticulation
•    570 km sewers
•    11 sewer pump stations
•    100 km stormwater
•    600 km roading - residential
•    51 foot bridges
•    94 road bridges to be repaired


  • Client:    Christchurch Earthquake Recovery Authority (CERA), Christchurch City Council, NZTA
  • Location:    Christchurch
  • Contract:    Alliance
  • Value:        NZ$2B (estimated)
  • Currency:    Aug 2011 – Oct 2016


Telephone: +64 3 341 1074
Or free phone 0508 718 719 (within NZ)
Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
See more about the Stronger Christchurch Infrastructure Rebuild Team (SCIRT): http://strongerchristchurch.govt.nz/