The matai hard wood floor boards of the Sarjeant Gallery have been lifted for the first time since being installed 100 years ago.

As part of seismic strengthening the 100-year-old Sarjeant Gallery heritage building, floor boards under the dome and main entrance have been removed to give access to the basement level where concrete foundations will be installed.

Eventually all the floorboards will be lifted to protect them from potential construction damage as the restoration progresses around the building interior.

Lifting the floor boards of the Sarjeant Gallery from Sarjeant Gallery on Vimeo.

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The McMillan & Lockwood team are working to a colour coded plan so they know where to put the boards back in the right place when all the restoration work inside the gallery is complete.

McMillan and Lockwood staff lift 100-year-old matai floorboards under the dome at the Sarjeant Gallery. Photo / Supplied
McMillan and Lockwood staff lift 100-year-old matai floorboards under the dome at the Sarjeant Gallery. Photo / Supplied

Taking photos of and carefully numbering each of the tongue-and-groove boards, the carpenters use a multi tool to cut through the nails and then make a careful cut line through the polyurethane before sliding each board's tongue out.

Numbering in the thousands, the boards have been taken off site for safe, dry storage.

McMillan & Lockwood site manager Jarrod Lover says although the job was tricky and some of the tongues were brittle, the boards were in better condition than he expected.

Numbering in the thousands, the boards have been taken off site for safe, dry storage.
Numbering in the thousands, the boards have been taken off site for safe, dry storage.

When he first entered the Sarjeant Gallery he was impressed with the carpentry and detailing of the floor.

"It's amazing the skill level that those guys must have had all those years ago. You don't tend to work on buildings this old that often. It's the oldest building I've worked on, it's pretty impressive," Jarrod says.

Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment
Sarjeant Gallery redevelopment