PROGRESS: The front facade of the Commonwealth Hotel has been stabilised as part of the Ipswich CBD development.
PROGRESS: The front facade of the Commonwealth Hotel has been stabilised as part of the Ipswich CBD development. Rob Williams

How crews stopped CBD's Commonwealth Hotel from collapsing

ENGINEERS have stabilised footings and prevented the collapse of the Commonwealth Hotel in what is likely to be one of the most complex infrastructure projects ever in Ipswich.

Ipswich City Council paid $400,000 for the building, known as Murphy's Town Pub, in 2014.

It was considered a bargain and purchased in a bizarre settlement after the pub's owner sued Ipswich City Properties for more than $1 million for undermining the foundations of the building in the '80s.

With the footings below the front wall undermined and the building at risk of collapse, the council engaged a crew from James Trowse to stabilise and prepare the site for restoration.

In the past few months, the crew has drilled screw piles 9m below the surface, added a concrete pier, hydraulic jacks and grouting across the 200 sqm site.

Commonwealth Hotel update: We take a quick look over the fence for an update on the Ipswich CBD development.
Commonwealth Hotel update: We take a quick look over the fence for an update on the Ipswich CBD development.

James Trowse director Simon Mountford said costly patch jobs that began in the '80s had made things much worse.

"There have been lots of modifications over the years, and while it might never have been the intent of the previous owners to mistreat the building, that's effectively what they've done," he said.

A James Trowse work crew continues to work on pavement inside the building.

Once that's finished, whoever wins the tender to restore the building will start on new flooring and foundations.

They'll also begin individually replacing the numbered and stored bricks.