Landmark hospital chimney to be deconstructed too dangerous and costly to repair

Tuesday January 31, 2012

Christchurch Hospital’s landmark chimney is coming down after engineers investigations found it at high risk of collapse if there are further significant earthquakes.
Canterbury District Health Board (CDHB) Chief Executive David Meates says the 55-metre chimney is critical to the operation of the boilers that produce the steam crucial to the functioning of Christchurch Hospital.
“Without a working chimney, the hospital simply doesn’t function. The chimney is normally in use 24-hours-a-day, seven days a week, 365 days of the year, to ensure the boilers can provide a continuous supply of steam to Christchurch Hospital,” Mr Meates says.
“As always, the safety of staff and the public is our first priority and given the latest engineering assessments, it’s too great a risk to leave standing and too costly to repair, therefore it’s got to come down.
“In the interim, we have had to install a non-compliant chimney, which we need to keep the boilers operating to provide the vital supply of steam for all essential services required to care for our patients.”
The damaged chimney has a number of large cracks, including inside the brick liner. The metal reinforcing inside the chimney has also hardened to such a degree it’s starting to lose flexibility, Mr Meates says. 
“This means if we have more large quakes the chimney’s strength and ability to absorb the impact will be significantly reduced. It has already sustained a fair bit of shaking since September 4, 2010 and it’s just not economic to repair.”
Work has begun on the deconstruction of the 45-year-old chimney, located near the corner of St Asaph and Antigua Streets. There will be a partial road closure in the immediate vicinity and the work is expected to continue until mid February. It’s important to note that only part of St Asaph Street will be affected – at the corner of Antigua Street, near the lights. 
“This work is not expected to disrupt or block access to other CDHB services on St Asaph Street as the deconstruction will be carefully controlled,” Mr Meates says.​
Page last reviewed: 23 July 2013