By Gary Hamilton-Irvine
When Napier was flattened by the 1931 earthquake, any material which could be spared to help with the rebuild effort was diverted to the township.
That included a shipment of steel which was initially headed for the Sydney Harbour Bridge project.
The steel, sent from England, was instead rerouted to Hawke's Bay to help with the rebuild.
The steel was put to good use in the construction of wool stores located on Napier's foreshore, now known as Ahuriri.
In 2007, Napier company Red Steel was involved in a project to convert a wool store into apartments.
The steel beams, brought over to Napier in 1931, were deemed unsuitable for the building and had to be removed.
"Rather than sending the material to the scrap yard to be melted down, our team derigged the rolled steel joists beam by beam," Red Steel managing director Bob Hawley said.
"The beams were in excellent condition and perfectly suited for reuse in the construction of our planned new Pandora-based headquarters."
Red Steel completed its new headquarters and warehouse in Pandora in 2014 and proudly included the steel beams in the project.
The company welded, sandblasted and painted the old steel beams before reusing them on 32 columns.
"None of the original steel was wasted – offcuts of the material were used to create furniture for our reception area and office space," Hawley said.
Hawley said their Pandora headquarters, not far from Napier Port, included 90 tonnes of structural steel, of which the repurposed steel made up 12 per cent.
Red Steel is a steel manufacturing and construction company in Napier.
World Green Building Week 2021
World Green Building Week is being held next week highlighting the importance of sustainable building practices, including reusing and recycling material such as steel.
"Steel can be recycled and reused endlessly without compromising its remarkable physical properties," Hawley said.
"The material can also be dismantled and removed from one building and repurposed and installed in another without altering its performance."