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Gisborne/Hawke’s Bay

Gallate’s Building, Napier

When the owners had confirmation that their art deco building was earthquake-prone, they were keen to find a simple, low-cost solution that wouldn’t disrupt their tenants.

Photo of the Gallates Building facade.
Photo courtesy of the Ministry for Culture and Heritage.

Assessment finds the building is earthquake-prone

Following a request from the local council to confirm whether or not the building was earthquake prone, the owners of the Gallate’s Building commissioned an engineer to undertake a detailed seismic assessment. The assessment found the building was rated at 15% NBS, confirming its earthquake-prone status.

Getting expert advice and engineering solutions

The owners, JBR Nominees Ltd, were keen to ensure the safety and continued tenancy of their building so decided to proceed with strengthening.

To better understand their options, the owners asked Design Phase engineers to peer review the original seismic assessment. Design Phase completed further onsite investigations and provided new information about building materials used and connections between structural elements. The engineers proposed a seismic solution and costs to strengthen the upper floor walls using steel braces with spliced connections. 

Part of Napier’s iconic art deco streetscape

Gallate’s Building was built in 1932 following the Hawke's Bay earthquake. The two-storey building was designed by JA Louis Hay in the art deco style prevalent at that time. It was built by Holder Bros and constructed from brick and reinforced concrete.

Originally used as the offices and store for Woollen Distributors Ltd, today a menswear retailer operates from the ground floor and the second floor is an apartment.

Gallate’s Building is a Group 1 heritage item on the Napier District Plan – an acknowledgement of the building’s heritage value and contribution to Napier’s iconic streetscape. The building is also included on the New Zealand Heritage List as part of the Napier City Centre Historic Area.

Due to the heritage values of the building, work was limited to the interior of the building so no disruption of the art deco façade was needed. Plans included make-good of wall linings once the steel bracing had been installed.

Napier City Council and Heritage New Zealand were both involved in reviewing the proposed work and supported the strengthening methods as being sensitive to the heritage values of the building.

Financing the work

When JBR Nominees Ltd put together a budget for their project they needed to allow for a range of expenses. These included:

  • project management and consultation costs
  • engineering assessments, design solutions and costings
  • building consent fees
  • construction costs, including labour and onsite project management
  • costs of materials
  • costs of relocating tenants while the work is undertaken
  • a contingency sum for unexpected expenses.

The project was awarded a $14,753 grant from Heritage EQUIP.