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The region’s movers and shakers

Seismic drilling at Masterton’s central government hub means that staff may need to start working from home, although one tenant has already chosen to temporarily relocate for the safety of their staff.

The large building at 47–51 Lincoln Rd is home to Oranga Tamariki [OT], the Ministry of Social Development [MSD], and, until fairly recently, the Ministry of Education [MoE].

MoE proactively vacated the premises earlier this year and is “in discussions with the landlord regarding the strengthening and upgrading of the building”.

“We made the decision to vacate the building due to health and safety considerations,” MoE corporate leader [Hautū] Zoe Griffiths said.

Wairarapa Building Society [WBS] owns the building and has initiated seismic strengthening work and other improvements.

Buildings are given new building standard [NBS] scores to determine their safety in the event of an earthquake.

NBS ratings look at how a building would resist earthquake shaking compared to a new building designed to the latest standard – scores calculated at 33 per cent and below are considered earthquake-prone.

The building on Lincoln Rd would have received an NBS score of 37 per cent if strengthening work hadn’t already begun.

While MoE chose to leave the building, there are currently no plans for OT or MSD to move elsewhere.

MSD workplace services general manager Vaughan Crouch said this week that the agency is negotiating with the building owner about renovations and strengthening work.

MSD has no plans to move from the building at this stage.

OT East Coast regional manager Julie Tangaere confirmed that the building is currently undergoing seismic strengthening.

“Oranga Tamariki staff remain working onsite having been advised the building is safe for them to do so,” she said.

WBS chief executive John Healy said the seismic strengthening will boost the NBS score to 70 per cent, making it a low or medium-risk building.

Healy said he is pleased with progress to date, confirming it is on schedule and budget. The work is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

In Masterton, there are currently 79 buildings that have been identified as earthquake-prone – grouped primarily around Queen St, Church St, and Lincoln Rd.

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