Cuddon makes links to rebuild

17:31, Dec 04 2012
Kim Morresey
Kim Morresey working on active link parts for a universal column

A Marlborough engineering firm is using new engineering designs to manufacture and fit pre-fabricated structural beams for the Christchurch rebuild.

Cuddon Engineering chief executive Andy Rowe said the company had picked up the contract through attending the Marlborough Christchurch Rebuild Opportunities Forum (Macro) in August.

There he met Christchurch property developer Ernest Duval, who told him Christchurch engineering firms were struggling to keep up with the demand for structural steel elements.

Their discussion led to a contract to supply 37 pre-fabricated steel "live links" to bring the 22-storey Pacific Tower building in Christchurch up to 100 per cent of the new building code.

That presence in Christchurch gave the company the opportunity to meet some of the key players involved in the $30 billion rebuild, he said.

"They want to open the [Rendezvous] hotel by February and if we can achieve it within the time frame, the kudos will be pretty good," Mr Rowe said.


The contract was ideal because Cuddon staff could do the bulk of the work from their McArtney St workshop.

Only one staff member was commuting to Christchurch to fit the components, he said.

Cuddon paid for six staff members to be qualified to show they were capable to do the work to the exact specifications of the new engineering designs.

"Every piece of every weld is inspected and there are a range of inspections on site.

"This particular methodology is leading edge stuff and to be recognised as the experts at it can't do us any harm," he said.

While Cuddon was 85 per cent finished manufacturing the components, he was not sure how far off the building was from being completed.

The components were to replace the links at the joins of the building's structural steel beams.

The February 22, 2011, earthquake stressed the links, weakening them and breaking four.

To replace the links, the concrete flooring around the beams was cut away, the phone and power cables and water pipes removed, and the stressed links cut out.

Cuddon engineers welded and bolted the replacement link and flange in place, before the services were replaced and the concrete flooring relaid.

The work was time-consuming, complex and highly skilled, Mr Rowe said. "The work our guys are doing is phenomenal, with the quality of weld they are doing in very difficult positions and confined spaces."

The Marlborough Express