Ibis Hotel, Christchurch Hero

Reinstating the Ibis Hotel, Christchurch following the devastating earthquakes

The Ibis Hotel sits at the edge of Christchurch’s Red Zone. Like many buildings, it was badly damaged in the February 2011 earthquake and needed extensive repairs in order to reinstate it to its previous condition.

Accor’s Goals:

  • To reinstate the hotel back to its original condition
  • To strengthen the seismic standard to meet the new building code

What we did:

The first step was to enter the building and assess the damage caused by the earthquake as well as to carry out some initial emergency repairs to support the building against any aftershocks.

We identified a number of repairs that needed to be made to the eleven storey building and subsequently carried these out. They included:

  • Repairing the main stairwell, which was substantially damaged, by reinforcing it with props from the basement up to the eighth level.
  • Replacing the flood damaged carpet and flooring on the ground level.
  • Installing new seismic joints, which allow space between structures such as columns and walls, providing some room for the building to move.
  • Undertaking significant restorative work on all 155 rooms plus public areas in order to reinstate them back to pre-earthquake condition.
  • Repairing and improving the hotel to meet new post-earthquake building standards.

Unique challenges:

The construction site was in the Red Zone in the Christchurch CBD. This created unusual conditions in unchartered territory for our team, involving a lot of coordination with Christchurch City Council and working around the rubble from surrounding buildings. There were also strict conditions around aftershocks: if an aftershock reached five or above on the Richter scale the site had to be evacuated until Civil Defence were satisfied it was safe to begin work again.

The Outcome:

The first of the red zone hotels to reopen, the Ibis stood as a symbol for the rebuild and gave hope to the Canterbury region. The opening of this hotel bought people back to the CBD, once again breathing life into the city.

“It will have a major impact on the local retailers and businesses and on attracting tourism back to the region and that’s hugely positive news for Christchurch. What it says in terms of making the most of opportunities in construction and development is immense and it demonstrates what is possible when a great team comes together and interacts positively to get things done.”

Peter Townsend

Canterbury Employers’ Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive