The Christchurch earthquakes, especially the loss of lives at Durham Street Methodist Church on the 21st February 2011, affected and changed peoples approach to risk. MCNZ brought in a ruling that all their churches and buildings should attain a high level of safety for all users, higher than the minimum set by the New Zealand Government.
Here at Trinity, following engineering assessments, the first stage entailed an initial decision to close and demolish the 1928 two storey brick and concrete Sunday School hall at the rear of the property. At the same time, earthquake
strengthening work was carried out to two adjoining pre-1931 shops that we own, along with improvements to our car-parks.
The second stage was how to bring the Church up to the MCNZ minimum requirement of 67% of the building code. It was felt that while carrying out work to the church, this would be a suitable time to do something with our current lounge area which is our main community space.
After a lot of further investigation work done by Engineers, along with ideas and wishes from the congregation, 2020 was the year we got started on the job.
Following much learning and investigation by our engineers, the only structural work required to bring the Church up to the 67% requirement was some work on the foundations to the buttresses and a small bit of bracing under the church floor. Though differently built to modern buildings, carpenters knew how to build churches well in 1876. The structural work has meant that certain unavoidable extra work needs to be carried out. One of these jobs has resulted in the much longed for accessible toilet in the foyer.
We have also at this time decided to redesign the office and lounge area to make it more comfortable and functional for our community users. This redesign also removed many of the leaks that existed in the roof.
Due to COVID-19, our congregation was unable to meet. This meant they had not seen what was happening inside the church. Before photos along with some construction photos were added to the website and were progressively updated so all could see the good work that went on. (Please note any photo's with more than one person was pre COVID-19.)
We are now back in the Church. With our pews on wheels, we have been able to easily move the pews about to make safe social distancing when required. The kitchenette has worked well & we have been able to shift the pews around to make more space available when we have larger groups for morning tea.