University of Canterbury CETF Building Hero

University of Canterbury CETF Building

Since 2014, the CETF (Canterbury Engineering the Future) project has been rebuilding or completely refurbishing every wing of the engineering precinct, including construction of a new Structural Engineering Laboratory.

Hawkins was the main contractor on the state-of-the-art CETF project for the University of Canterbury. The project involved a full-scale refurbishment of the existing Engineering facilities along with provision of a new centralised core space to create a link between the existing engineering departments while providing a home base for the college and greater campus. 

The building consists of four two-storey wings which connect directly to the core. Each wing houses a different engineering department and has been rebuilt, reclad, refurbished or newly constructed. They contain state-of-the-art specialist laboratories, workspaces, teaching spaces, lecture theatres and communal areas to support the college’s hands-on learning approach.

The project was split into five separable portions, with each building making up a separable portion, and comprised the following works: 

  •  All buildings were largely stripped back to the foundations and steel frames and fully modernised. Roofs, windows, heating systems, lighting and finishes were replaced throughout.
  • The Electrical & Computer Engineering (ECE) wing included a new ‘smart’ power projects and electronics laboratory, along with an extensive reconfiguration of internal spaces.
  • The Chemical and Process Engineering (CAPE) wing was demolished and a new fit-for-purpose wing was constructed, including new laboratories.
  • The Mechanical Engineering (MECH) wing included the addition of an advanced manufacturing laboratory, enhancement of various labs and the robotics facility, and upgrades to the wind tunnel.
  • The Civil and Natural Resources Engineering (CNRE) wing comprised the extension of the existing construction materials and fire engineering lab, a new environmental engineering lab, modernised structural engineering, and improved space utilisation.
  • The core, which was once essentially a thoroughfare, was transformed into a modern, expansive, inviting space that provides students with a dynamic mix of social and flexible learning spaces. It has drawing offices, CAD suites, lecture theatres and meeting rooms located around the perimeter, integrated with attractive lounge areas, study cubicles and casual seating.

The project was carried out within a fully operational university campus, adjacent to active teaching and research facilities, and therefore required a very high level of cooperation and collaboration with the university and its students to avoid disruption to their operations. Stringent health and safety processes were also required.

The Okeover River runs alongside three of the buildings and discharges into the Avon River, so robust preventive risk measures were required to ensure no contaminants were discharged into the river.

The complexity and risk of working on and around thousands of miles of live services via a series of underground tunnels, whilst maintaining feeds to five-year-old laboratory experiments and to the wider UC campus, required accurate forward planning and methodological execution to avoid disruption to users.

This project involved the staged handover of the various wings, with the first two wings (ECE and CAPE) being delivered in November 2016, the core handed over in September 2017, and the MECH and CNRE wings completed in February 2018.