Targeted building assessments reveal no threat to public safety, says Wellington City Council
Lester said the reports have not signalled any major structural damage outside of the buildings that are already well known and he is "very comfortable" with the information they have received.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017
Engineering reports into a raft of Wellington buildings in the wake of the massive November earthquake have uncovered some damage but no threat to public safety, Wellington City Council officials said today.
Mayor Justin Lester said the reports have not signalled any major structural damage outside of the buildings that are already well known and he is "very comfortable" with the information they have received. So far the council has received reports from 62 of the 80 buildings required to carry out the study. Council's chief resilience officer, Mike Mendonca, said around a third of the buildings sustained some damage "which is not surprising given the magnitude of the earthquake." None, however, represent "a serious concern for us for public safety," he said.
The South Island coastal town of Kaikoura was hit by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake on Nov. 14 that also damaged several buildings in the capital. Late last year, the Wellington City Council ordered owners of 80 buildings, which have similar characteristics to Statistics House on the Wellington waterfront that suffered damage and has been empty since the quake, to carry out more thorough checking by Feb. 10.
The city used powers granted by legislation passed in Parliament under urgency and the majority of the affected buildings are reinforced concrete buildings up to 15 storeys high, many of which are on soft, reclaimed land or ridgelines.
On Tuesday, Lester said council granted a seven-to-14 day extension to 18 of the buildings. In some cases, the extension was granted because of the size of the building. Other building owners are carrying out more detailed assessments while some are having their reports peer reviewed.
Mendonca said the council does not anticipate having to take any action against any building owners for failing to comply as there has been "excellent cooperation" from all building owners.
Some of the damage that has been uncovered has been related to floors or external cladding. In all cases, repairs are planned or already underway.
Both Lester and Mendonca said they were unable to provide specific details of individual building reports as those are confidential unless released by the building owner.
Tue, 14 Feb 2017
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