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Subsidence and its risks

Post-quake every day New Zealanders were introduced to a number of new terms relating to engineering and ground movement.



One of those terms was subsidence; the gradual downward movement or sinking of an area of land which can cause the foundation of a home to gradually settle in one area or across its entire footprint.

Subsidence can result in expensive structural repairs, which may be a deal breaker for many house hunters.

For those homeowners looking to sell their property, the structural defects resulting from ground subsidence can significantly reduce their final sale price.

Mainmark Ground Engineering Sales and Business Development Manager James O’Grady fills us in on how to protect ourselves.

“While astute homeowners and buyers will recognise some of the warning signs of potential subsidence, major structural faults or safety hazards may not be visible at first glance,” James says.

“Extensive foundation damage should be fully assessed by a suitably accredited structural or geotechnical engineer, to identify the cause, how extensive the settlement is and whether the underlying cause of settlement requires fixing,”

The common causes of foundation ground issues often relate to moisture in the soil beneath the home’s foundations, he explains.

Different types of soil (such as reactive clays, sand and silt, fill, and organic soils) behave in different ways to changing moisture levels, so consider the following when investigating the likely cause:

• Water ponding around the house
• Excessive moisture leaking into the foundation ground, often due to broken pipes, making it too wet
• Invasive tree roots searching for water, making it too dry.

In many cases, foundation issues can be resolved quickly and efficiently using modern ground engineering solutions that are less invasive and costly than traditional underpinning.

Fixing the problem for the long term requires correcting any issues that might have caused the foundation damage and this may also involve consulting a plumber or other expert.

James recommends CSIRO Publishing’s Foundation Maintenance and Footing Performance: A homeowner’s Guide as a valuable reference and says that if signs of subsidence have appeared, you need to consult structural and geotechnical engineers or ground engineering experts.

Mainmark has treated more than 11,000 sites throughout Australasia, from single-storey homes to large commercial buildings.

For more information and advice about ground engineering issues and remediation solutions, contact Mainmark on 0800 873 835.


Central city comeback queen

Central city comeback queen

Almost eight years since the 2011 February earthquake forced its closure and three years since restoration work began, the Christchurch Town Hall is earning its place as the central city’s comeback queen.


Central city comeback queen


The first rebuild of this magnitude to be completed in the city, enhancements include modern and integrated technologies, extensive heating and cooling systems, improved accessibility, retractable theatre seating and reconfigured backstage facilities, though its heritage aesthetic will remain largely unchanged.

Vbase is gearing up for a busy year when the Christchurch Town Hall reopens for business in March 2019, with the first events now getting locked in, Vbase Acting General Manager, Events Services Chris Wallace says. “We’re really excited to see both existing and new events return to the Christchurch Town Hall, and to the central city. Vbase are hosting hundreds of events and thousands of guests throughout its venues each year and we expect this to only increase with the return of the Christchurch Town Hall.”


We’re excited to see events return to the Town Hall


Post-quake, Horncastle Arena and the Air Force Museum of New Zealand have provided valuable alternatives to many events traditionally held in the Christchurch Town Hall, such as music festivals, community events and conferences up to 1,500 guests. The first contracted event will see the Christchurch Symphony Orchestra return to the Douglas Lilburn Auditorium when it performs alongside popular artist Shapeshifter on Friday 1 March 2019. Other events scheduled in the first six months include national and international conferences, concerts, gala dinners and community events.



the Ministry of Awesome

An awesome enterprise: Q&A with the Ministry of Awesome’s Chief Awesome Officer Marian Johnson

A social enterprise established in the dark days post-quake to encourage positivity, collaboration, activation and support for a city that was struggling to survive, the Ministry of Awesome is a creative crew making some pretty cool moves.

the Ministry of Awesome

We talk to the organisation’s Chief Awesome Officer, Marian Johnson about the awesome work of this clever collaboration.

You’ve just celebrated six years in business, what is the organisation’s main role?

Ministry of Awesome is the starting point for entrepreneurs, innovators and startups. We deliver the essential ingredients necessary to ensure a thriving and dynamic entrepreneurial and innovation ecosystem.
We offer a Startup Activation Programme for any early stage entrepreneur or startup, which includes capability training, introductions to networks, and 100+ events every year that sustain our city’s influential and supportive innovation community. Last year, we saw more than 1,000 entrepreneurs come through our doors! We also operate AwesomeHQ – an inspiring co-working space at 192 St Asaph Street in the city centre.

How integral is it that we support entrepreneurs and start-ups here in Christchurch?

Entrepreneurs and innovators are key to Christchurch’s successful future as the ‘City of Opportunity’. And, for these change-makers, there is no better place to be than Christchurch whose ambition is to transform into a world leading city in its approach to sustainability, innovation and a collaborative economy.
By delivering the essential ingredients necessary for a flourishing startup and innovation ecosystem, we provide an environment that powers our fellow citizens forward to success. And, by creating this nurturing and dynamic environment, Christchurch will attract regional, national and international talent, all of whom will be part of this great future Christchurch – the City of Opportunity.

How did you first become involved?

I’d heard stories of Ministry of Awesome and had a vague understanding of the positive work it was doing but was light on detail until I was a founding member of Fluent Scientific, a tech startup from the Powerhouse Ventures stable. Ministry of Awesome played a crucial role in our early market validation process by opening up their powerful network, particularly in the area of tertiary education providers.
This early introduction allowed us to run successful pilot programmes that validated our product, customer and market. Without those initial introductions, it would have taken us 12 months or more to open those relationships and get traction. For a startup with a short runway, early and efficient market, customer and product validation are critical.
When the role of Chief Awesome Officer came up, I was already a convert of the organisation and could see the positive impact the organisation was having on the city’s nascent startup scene. I love Christchurch, I love our organisation’s mission, and I couldn’t be more grateful to our community, our supporters, and our trustees for allowing me to lead this mission.

What’s the most fulfilling aspect of what you do?

We are so lucky to see innovation first hand and to meet so many talented individuals every day. If the average citizen of Christchurch could see the innovation and sheer talent in our city, they would be equally inspired and so very excited to live here. We are telling these stories as loudly as we can alongside some incredible organisations like ChristchurchNZ, EPIC, Canterbury Tech, XCHC, The Chamber, Canterbury Angels, ARA, and UC’s Centre for Entrepreneurship.