Council HQ gets tick of approval

SHARE

A second assessment of the main Waitaki District Council building in Thames St concludes that it is not earthquake-prone and therefore can be put forward as an option for a new civil defence headquarters.

Customer services group manager Richard Mabon presented a memorandum to councillors on Wednesday which summarised a detailed report from Dunedin engineering firm, Hadley & Robinson.

The memorandum said the building has been rated at 100 per cent of national building standards for an Importance Level 3 building (accommodates upward of 300 people). This, the memorandum said, equates to 130 per cent of national building standards for an IL2 building (the council building’s current use) and 70 per cent of National Building Standards for an IL4 building (suitable for civil defence use).

An earlier preliminary assessment identified the building as potentially earthquake-prone at 26 per cent NBS for an Importance Level 2 building (a typical residential, commercial or industrial building which accommodates less than 300 people).

The latest evaluation was welcomed by chief executive Michael Ross, who said he was delighted at the result.

“Had it been closer to the first assessment, we would have had to include it in the Long Term Plan,” Mr Ross said.

While some work will still have to be undertaken to bring parts of council headquarters up to civil defence standards, Mayor Gary Kircher said the council had avoided huge costs and “could have been looking down the barrel of an expensive gun”.

“There has been work done strengthening the building and the work has been effective,” he said.

Councillor Peter Garvan said the results of the two reports were well beyond the margin of error.

“Wise heads have commissioned a second report,” he said.

The current Emergency Operations Centre (or civil defence headquarters) to be used during a disaster is the Plunket rooms on Severn St. Mr Mabon said the layout of this building is less than optimal as an EOC and that it has been identified as being earthquake-prone.

By LINDA MCCARTHY

PHOTO: LINDA MCCARTHY

NEW RATING: The Waitaki District Council building – no longer earthquake-prone.