The demolition of the Hotel Grand Chancellor is set to begin in the coming weeks, Earthquake Recovery Minister Gerry Brownlee has announced.

The 26-storey building in central Christchurch sustained significant structural damage in the February 22 quake and has remained on a noticeable lean since the 6.3 magnitude aftershock.

Fletcher Construction has been granted the tender to demolish the hotel, with the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority managing the work.

The process is expected to take about 10 months, but could take up to a year to complete.

"This will be the largest demolition ever carried out in New Zealand," Mr Brownlee said.

"It's also hugely symbolic for the people of Christchurch that the recovery process is well underway.

"It's very important to get these big demolition jobs going because the sooner these buildings are down the faster we can move to reopen areas and get on with rebuilding."

An area around the hotel has been cordoned off with limited access allowed, due to the risk the building poses, so the demolition of the building is vital to reopening the rest of the central city.

The demolition manager for Fletcher Construction, Adrian Jonkers, said a crane, parked in the hotel's carpark, is to be used to demolish the building from the top down, with the goal of bringing the building down to the 14 level within six months, making the building safe to the surrounding area.

High-reach diggers would then be used to complete the job, Mr Jonkers said.

Before demolition work begins, some further work will be done to reinforce the interior of the hotel.

This will allow the retrieval of property guests were forced to leave behind on February 22.

Mr Jonkers could not guarantee surrounding buildings would not be damaged in the process.

Mr Brownlee said it would be six to seven weeks before Fletcher Construction and their sub-contractors would be able to enter the building and start the demolition plan.

"The expectation is that in about five months it should be substantially down and at that point much more of the surrounding district will be able to be opened up."

The company behind the hotel said it intended to build another hotel in the city, although question marks remain as to whether it will be in the same site.

Mr Brownlee would not comment on the cost of the demolition, saying it was commercially sensitive, however it would be the most expensive job of its kind ever carried out in New Zealand.

The cost of the demolition will lie with the building's owners and insurers.