Christchurch company wins coveted timber award for Town Hall floor restoration

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Christchurch company, Timbers of New Zealand, has won a coveted award for the 42,000 lineal metres of flooring it hand-laid in the city’s newly restored Town Hall.

It has been awarded the Australasian Best Solid Timber Floor Award by the Australian Timber Flooring Association (AFTA) at a gala dinner in Melbourne for the installation, which took more than 2000 man hours.

The Warren and Mahoney-designed heritage building reopened in February 2019 after extensive earthquake repairs.

Timbers of New Zealand managing director Mark McKenzie says one of the Category A heritage building’s much acclaimed features is its three timber floors.

“As you’d expect, they’re not just ordinary floors. They’re bespoke; crafted from native Australian and New Zealand timbers with some intricate details,” Mr McKenzie says.

“The size of the floors meant a year’s lead time was required to mill and dry all the specialist timber.”

The Town Hall’s 2500-seat main auditorium features Australian Brush Box — a very difficult wood to work with. The James Hay Theatre features heart Rimu, and The Limes Room features a spectacular Jarrah Parquet floor.

Mr McKenzie says the job required attention to detail.

“We salvaged and recycled what we could but, sadly, damage meant that apart from one third of the Auditorium Brush Box floor, the rest had to be replaced.

“We took our time to ensure the new wood would replicate what was there, and even went over to Australia to oversee the machining and drying of the Brush Box to ensure it was done correctly.”

Mr McKenzie says the award is something that Christchurch should be proud of.

“The Town Hall restoration has attracted its fair share negative attention, but the result is award-winning — literally.

“Working on the project was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I hope one day my great, great grandchildren will sit in the auditorium and point out that their great, great grandfather restored those floors.

“In the meantime, it is wonderful to know that our business helped Christchurch get a little of its heritage back.”