Cathedral update

Jul 9, 2011

Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament, Christchurch

Update on main dome – July 7, 2011

Report from Lance Ryan, chairman of the Cathedral Management Board


Work on removing the top of the main dome of the Cathedral of the Blessed Sacrament is progressing well. The cross that sat atop the dome and the copper cladding have all been removed and now work is continuing on removing the wooden shell of the dome.
The dome has been divided into four sections and it is hoped that all four sections will be removed by the end of next week.
Once the top of the dome has been removed the concrete ring beam immediately below the dome will be removed in sections and the columns between the windows also removed as complete units.
Ideally, we would like to have the entire unstable rear section of the Cathedral deconstructed by September 16, as this will allow the neighbouring Catholic Cathedral College to regain full functionality in all its buildings. (The College is having to return to its restricted site on August 1). Three of the College’s key buildings, J Block, K Block plus H/I Block,(comprising 12 classrooms plus Library) sit within the probable fall zone of the rear of the basilica and therefore cannot be utilised.
Deconstruction would then allow time for the school to have the two key blocks ready for the start of the fourth term.

We are working with CERA, the City Council and Heritage Protection on this proposed work.
We have also been given permission to use an Army robot to look inside the Cathedral to provide us with better resolution video of the earthquake damage. Hopefully this will happen in the next 10 days. Several weeks ago we had footage from a drone that was very helpful, but a subsequent mission was not as successful and the drone is now somewhere on the floor of the basilica. 

Media contacts

Lance Ryan, chairman of the Cathedral Management Board, ph 021-246-0354

John Craig, Senior Project Manager, Opus International Consultants Ltd, ph  027-211-5958


Prepared by:

John Durning 0274 373 286 (Catholic Diocese)

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