An artist’s impression of the Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

3 July 2014 — Construction is set to begin on the Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct, the first major public building to be built by the New Zealand Government in Christchurch since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

An architectural consortium comprising Cox Architecture, Warren and Mahoney and Opus Architecture has been chosen to design the precinct, which will be the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history, home to the Ministry of Justice, NZ Police, Department of Corrections, NZ Fire Service, St John, and the emergency management teams of the Ministry of Civil Defence, Christchurch City Council and Environment Canterbury.

The 40,000 square metre precinct is a key anchor project for the revitalisation and reconstruction of Christchurch, and is expected to reinvigorate the earthquake-ravaged CBD.

The precinct will be designed to “Importance Level 4” standards, meaning it will withstand major seismic events and remain in operation to provide central services to the Christchurch community following an earthquake or significant event.

Pre-construction works have been undertaken over the past six months, with ground improvement works for the precinct seeing the stabilisation of 25,000 cubic metres of soil with 3500 cubic metres of cement to support the precinct’s concrete raft slab.

The precinct has been designed to enable more effective operations and inter-agency collaboration, as well as higher levels of amenity for the public using the facilities on a daily basis.

It is expected to be completed by the end of 2016, with the return of 2000 workers to the city’s centre expected by mid-2017.

The precinct features:

  • three buildings – a justice building, an emergency services building and a 7100 sq m parking building for operational vehicles
  • 19 courtrooms encompassing the M?ori Land Court, Youth Courts, Family Courts, District Courts, High Court, Environment Court and other specialist jurisdictions
  • a purpose-built Emergency Operations Centre, providing state-of-the-art emergency response capability for local, regional and national incidents
  • South Island 111 emergency services (NZ Fire Service, Police and St John), along with Civil Defence and Emergency Management agencies for Christchurch and Canterbury, are located adjacent to the EOC for seamless collaboration
  • an advanced approach to seismic design – with base isolation and built to an Importance Level 4 standard
  • resilience against any future emergency, with the EOC having its own power, water and waste disposal for at least 72 hours