The UC Futures Programme has been the largest capital investment in the future of the University of Canterbury since we moved to our Ilam campus in 1975. A mix of Central Government, insurance and UC funds totalling nearly NZ$1 billion will have been spent in the years rebuilding the campus since the 2010 and 2011 earthquakes. 

After a series of intensive interviews with those involved in this significant rebuild, we have created a series of stories which reflect on what we learnt along the way. These stories are companions to other technical evaluations that capture the detail of the capabilities, structures and resources that were rapidly evolved to deliver a challenging programme of works.  

We learned a lot of lessons along the way and, while the circumstances were unique, we believe these stories have value for anyone dealing with their own extraordinary times. 

What was UC Futures? 

UC Futures was the University’s transformation programme designed to restore UC’s world ranking, recover student numbers and restore financial health. It delivered three major building projects – Canterbury Engineering the Future (CETF), Rutherford Regional Science and Innovation Centre (RRSIC), and College of Education, Health and Human Development (COEHHD in Rehua). There were also two student-oriented initiatives: the introdcution of a Univeristiy wide set of graduate attributes, and and the University’s International Growth Strategy. 

With the main programme of works completed, a revitalised campus and a wealth of experience gained, UC is well positioned for the future envisioned in our strategy to be Engaged, Empowered and Making a Difference. 

Robyn Nuthall 
Director of Strategy and Planning 
(Former UC Futures Programme Director) 

Featured articles

  • Become an informed client
    Running a major building programme is not part of the skillset required for most university management teams. But programme success requires an informed client that can contribute as part of the project team.
  • You can’t manage risk to zero
    Risk can never be removed completely, but it can be reduced. That’s true in normal operations and remains so during disaster recovery. However, in the aftermath of a major event, most people become increasingly risk averse, just when they are called upon to make crucial decisions in an uncertain environment.
  • Cost escalation: fact or fear?
    Rapid cost increase was one of the biggest concerns in Canterbury’s recovery environment. At one point, extreme projections suggested that every month of delay would result in an additional $1 million cost to the project.
  • Business change: An opportunity and a risk
    The key message here is that a capital works programme cannot in and of itself drive business change.
  • Benefits management
    Benefits management measures the reality of the operating environment against the project’s business case. It is a complex process which extends beyond the construction phase and into the BAU environment.