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Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct

The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct is one of the anchor projects defined by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Agency (CERA) in the city’s recovery plan.

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The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct is a $300 million anchor project, led by the Ministry of Justice.

North-west view of the precinctAbove: The north-west view of the precinct from the corner of Lichfield and Durham Streets

Video of drone footage

FCC drone footage April 2016 YT screenshot

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Project summary

"This precinct is a significant investment in the Christchurch rebuild and by housing all the justice sector agencies and the city's civil defence and emergency management functions in one location it also shows how public sector agencies can work more closely together."
Prime Minister John Key

The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct brings together all justice and emergency services in one purpose-built, leading-edge precinct in central Christchurch.

The precinct, made up of three buildings – the Justice Building, the Emergency Services Building and a car park for operational vehicles, is located in the central city block bordered by Colombo, Tuam, Durham and Lichfield Streets in Christchurch’s central business district.

Precinct blueprint

An estimated 2,000 people will work in or use the 42,000m2 precinct daily. At the peak of construction, 500-600 people will be working on site each day.

It is the largest multi-agency government co-location project in New Zealand’s history and the first major public building to be built in Christchurch by the government since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011.

The Christchurch Justice and Emergency Services Precinct will be the first major public building to be built in Christchurch by the government since the earthquakes of 2010 and 2011. Its location will play a critical role in defining the southern edge of a more compact and vibrant city centre.

The precinct will help to restore confidence in Christchurch as a vibrant city of which its people can be proud. This is an important and exciting initiative for the people of Christchurch, and for all New Zealanders.

The precinct is located in the central city block bordered by Colombo, Tuam, Durham and Lichfield Streets in Christchurch and will house the:

The judiciary will also be housed in the precinct, in a way that recognises and ensures its constitutional independence.


3 buildings; 5 levels; 1100 staff; 900 visitors; 19 courtrooms; 1100m2 floor space; 500 people working on-site during peak construction; 72+ hours emergency operations resilience

The precinct will be the largest multi-agency government project in New Zealand's history. It is an opportunity to return justice and emergency services in Christchurch not just to their pre-earthquake state, but to a position where they can provide better public services through innovation and new ways of collaborating. Shared communications and a shared emergency operations centre will make, co-ordinated responses to emergencies easier to achieve.

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Latest news

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What is happening now?

Construction of the precinct commenced in July 2014 following the award of the main building contract to Fletcher Construction. Fletcher Construction will deliver all of the precinct buildings in early 2017. Construction is over half way through with the last of the major steel work installed in October 2015 and the final roof about to go on the precinct in March. The Ministry will take possession of the precinct in February 2017 to commence fit out and furnishing of spaces. Agencies will begin to move in after that and the whole site will be fully operational by mid-2017.

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Innovation and technology

Building Information Modelling

The precinct design and build is utilising Building Information Modelling. This innovation provides a digital representation of the physical and functional characteristics of the precinct.

The precinct buildings are presented as a 3D model that has multiple layers of information, such as the structural design, services (water, power, air-conditioning), fire engineering, etc. This 3D model allows someone to walk through any room in the precinct, examining the detail right down to where each socket is located.

Another benefit of the model is the consolidated information allows the production of detailed and accurate drawings for all areas and identifies any potential clashes before we begin building that area on site.

Utilising the aquifer

Utilising the underground aquifer for heating and cooling is another innovation in the precinct design.

The underground water layer, known as the aquifer, is a reasonably consistent temperature year round. In the summer it is cooler than air temperature and in the winter it is warmer than air temperature.

The precinct system allows the groundwater to be extracted (using water wells) and pumped through heat exchangers. This allows the gaining of heat from – or the loss of heat to – the ground.

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The following consultants have been engaged to assist with the design and construction of the precinct:

  • Main contractor: The Fletcher Construction Company
  • Project manager: RCP
  • Quantity surveyor: Rider Levett Bucknall
  • Architect: A consortium led by Warren & Mahoney, with Cox and Opus Architecture
  • Structural, civil and geotechnical engineering: Holmes Consulting Group
  • Building services engineer: Opus International Consultants
  • Fire engineering: Holmes Fire


A precinct site webcam will record the precinct’s construction from start to finish.

Please also see our Facebook page.

For other enquiries about the project, please email

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