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Kilbirnie Depot requires works to meet new earthquake rules

Kilbirnie Depot requires works to meet new earthquake standards


Like more than 700 other buildings around Wellington, from the Railway Station to Capital E, the Wellington City Council has determined that two of the four buildings at NZ Bus’ Kilbirnie Depot are below the national earthquake standards.

The buildings in question are the bus barn and workshop, which will both be issued with yellow stickers in early October, giving NZ Bus 10 years or more to bring the buildings up to standard.

NZ Bus Chief Executive Zane Fulljames says it is NZ Bus’ intention to complete a full redevelopment of the Kilbirnie site within the next 3 to 5 years, well within the timeframe set by the Council.

“It’s important to keep this in perspective. The Kilbirnie barns are 100 years old and have withstood every earthquake to date. They have been identified as earthquake prone following the change in enforcing the legislation that requires all commercial buildings to be at least 34% of the earthquake design strength expected of a new building. This does not mean the site is now unsafe, it means the council has quantified a time for it to be brought in-line with the guidelines.in-line with the guidelines.

“We have accepted Wellington City Council’s assessment and we believe the best long-term option is to complete a full redevelopment of the depot. In the meantime, as a company that is committed to health and safety, we have undertaken a series of measures to secure the site and keep our staff as safe as possible.”

Measures NZ Bus has undertaken to date include:

Following the August 2013 earthquake, engineers assessed the buildings to rectify any damage and structural issues. The programme of reinforcement works will be complete this month.

Following the 2013 storms, issues were identified with the roof and skylights. Repairs to the roof and additional safety work of the glass will be completed over the next two months.

A comprehensive hazards review has been undertaken at the Kilbirnie workshop. Risks identified are being methodically worked through and mitigated, with a focus on unsecured items that could fall in an earthquake.

A similar hazards review will be carried out at all NZ Bus worksites nationally in the coming months.

A full review of our earthquake safety procedures is underway and emergency protocols for workshop staff have been updated. Staff input is also being sought to update NZ Bus’ wider emergency response plan.

NZ Bus is also hiring engineers to review the east wall remedial work carried out earlier this year, to undertake a Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) of the barns to provide a more accurate assessment of the buildings’ performance in an earthquake and identify if there are any structural issues that need to be addressed in the short-term.

Mr Fulljames says Kilbirnie-based staff have been informed of the Council’s assessment and support NZ Bus’ intention to redevelop the barns.

“We expect the redevelopment will move into concept phase this year, with resource consent applied for in early 2015. All going well, construction could start in late 2015.

“We are committed to delivering quality public transport services while ensuring the safety of our staff at all times. We look forward to moving forward with this redevelopment and continuing the investment we are making to modernise Wellington’s bus services.”

Neighbours of the Kilbirnie site are invited to attend a Residents’ Meeting, 5:30pm Monday 15 September at the Kilbirnie depot, 45 Onepu Rd.

ENDS

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