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Hamilton City Council ‘non-ductile column’ buildings okay

Hamilton City Council ‘non-ductile column’ buildings okay

26 November 2012

Three buildings owned by Hamilton City Council with ‘non-ductile columns’ - have been assessed and found to be ‘not earthquake-prone’.

The Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment (‘the Ministry’), at the conclusion of its technical investigation into the collapse of the CTV building in the February 2011 Canterbury earthquake, requested all buildings meeting certain criteria to be assessed. The criteria were that the buildings consented between 1982 and 1995, of three stories or more and using ‘non-ductile concrete gravity columns’ be assessed. The Ministry carried out this work and identified the buildings.

The Ministry identified eight buildings in the City that met these criteria and instructed Hamilton City Council to forward to the relevant building owners the Ministry’s instructions and a letter which gave them 90 days to report back with an engineer’s assessment.

The 90-day period expired today and the Council has heard from two of the other five building owners: one has been declared ‘not earthquake prone’ [insert name of building here] and one provided an assessment although it did not specifically measure the ‘non-ductile’ issue requested by the Ministry and has to be re-done. The other three have not yet provided reports. The Ministry suggests that not all building owners will have been able to meet the 90 day timeframe as the call on specialist engineers has been very high.

The Ministry will not disclose a list of buildings as, without the benefit of an engineering report, the building owners may be commercially prejudiced.

The Ministry advises that the issuing of the request was precautionary only as the reasons behind the CTV building collapse were much more complex than the use of non ductile column technology. ‘Non-ductile columns were only one of many factors that contributed to the CTV building collapse.’

The three Hamilton City Council owned buildings using the ‘non-ductile’ technology were all found to be ‘not earthquake prone’ with scores of 40% NBS (New Building Standard) against the new building standards. (A score of anything above 34% NBS is considered not earthquake prone.)

The Downtown Plaza carpark, currently undergoing redevelopment and extension, has had a detailed assessment completed which states that no further strengthening work is required as it meets 100% NBS.

The other two buildings owned by the Council are:

• Waikato Arts Museum
• Seddon Park Grandstand.

Even though they have both scored above the NBS it is recommended that a more accurate assessment of both the buildings is conducted against the Building Act and regulations once the Government consider any changes following the Royal Commission’s report.

Under the Building Act 2004, and prior to the Christchurch earthquakes, all Councils were required to develop a policy on how they would identify and manage earthquake-prone buildings.

Hamilton City Council has published a full list of earthquake-prone buildings ( that require some form of strengthening) on its website and has identified the date when action is required to be taken. There are 33 Category One buildings that have already had a report completed and 24 still waiting to be assessed. Category One and Two buildings have their status recorded on LIMs.

(Definitions of categories can be found here)


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