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Library earthquake-prone

The fate of Eketāhuna Library is undecided after the building was identified as earthquake-prone after onsite inspections on September 23 and 27 last year.

The library will remain open with mitigations in place until a decision is made.

On Tuesday Tararua District Council [TDC] announced the brick southern wall of the library may be at risk of failing in the event of a significant earthquake, representing “a potential impact to ‘staff only’ areas of the building”.

A TDC spokesperson confirmed the library had received a new building standard [NBS] score of only 15 per cent [anything below 34 per cent is considered an earthquake-prone building].

“Council remains committed to fulfilling any seismic strengthening requirements well within the legally mandated timeframes.

“In the short term, the priority is to keep the library and service centre open while keeping staff and visitors as safe as possible.”

The council has restricted access to the high-risk area and will introduce further mitigation measures if necessary.

TDC has been conducting independent seismic assessments since January 2022 and has found that a total of three buildings [including the library] in Eketāhuna are earthquake-prone after receiving engineer reports with NBS ratings below 34 per cent.

Two buildings [including the library] were rated 15 per cent, and a third one was rated 20 per cent.

“A fourth building has been granted a one-year extension to provide an engineer’s assessment by January 2025” but is considered a possible earthquake-prone building.

In May 2016, Parliament amended the Building Act 2004 to introduce a nationally consistent approach to the management and assessment of earthquake-prone buildings, which came into effect in 2017 and required councils to identify any possible earthquake-prone buildings [EPBs] in their districts.

“They are not deemed or declared EPBs until either an engineer’s report is provided that shows an NBS score below 34 per cent or the owner does not provide an engineer’s report by cut-off date,” a TDC spokesperson said.

After the announcement of changes to the way EPBs were managed, building owners were given a set period of time to complete each step in the process depending on where the building was located, with some building owners having up to 35 years for EPBs to be remedied.

Any further decisions on the future of the Eketāhuna Library will be made once preliminary designs and associated costs to remedy the issue have been reviewed.

1 COMMENT

  1. To many conditions on building requirements and only getting worse 😕. Just stop making building conditions like a nanny state cut back on all the stupid conditions ? What if? What could happen? What What? Get professional building inspectors who have done hands-on work not reading books 😑.

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