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Engineering reports show Civic Offices structurally sound

25 August 2011

Engineering reports show Civic Offices are structurally sound

Christchurch City Council’s Civic Offices in Hereford Street is a safe building and has no major structural damage as a result of recent earthquakes, engineering reports say.

The Joint Venture between Christchurch City Council and Ngai Tahu Property commissioned a detailed engineering review of the Civic Offices following the September, February and June earthquakes. The purpose of the review was to assess any damage and identify any repairs that were needed.

Civic Building Joint Venture spokesperson Russell Pyne says he is pleased the report by Powell Fenwick Consultants shows the Civic building performed well during the earthquakes and that no major structural damage occurred.

“The Joint Venture has been very thorough and undertaken robust testing so we can say with confidence that the building is a safe place to work and visit,” says Mr Pyne.

The report notes that as the former New Zealand Post building, it was designed for industrial purposes and is therefore stronger than required for general office use even by today’s standards.

Opus International Consultants Ltd was commissioned by the Joint Venture to carry out a peer review of the repair methodology proposed by Powell Fenwick and the works being undertaken as a result of the February event. As part of this peer review, Opus also inspected the damaged areas and had continued and unlimited access throughout the review process. It is currently undertaking a further peer review of damage and repairs relating to the June earthquake and this should be finalised in about a month.

Extensive investigation and inspection work has been undertaken to identify the extent of the damage and to identify necessary repairs. This included ultra-sonic and resonance testing, detailed inspections of the building inside and outside, including external inspection of the building by abseil teams, and removal of wall linings and claddings and concrete to see what is underneath.

Key structural repairs carried out include replacing the stairway between levels one and two of the building. Although the original concrete stairwell was structurally safe, it was more cost effective to replace it with a lighter and stronger steel staircase.

Other repairs include replacing cracked and broken plasterboard, replacing broken safety glass, fixing damage to the surface concrete on columns and making free-standing furniture more secure.

“Our priority has always been to ensure that after the repairs have been completed the building is as strong as it was before the earthquakes, or even stronger,” Mr Pyne says.

Council Corporate Services General Manager Paul Anderson says as a responsible employer, the Council is sharing all engineering reports with its staff. It is also offering them briefing sessions with engineers and tours through the building before they return.

The Council has also commissioned its own independent peer review.


Copies of the Civic Offices engineering reports are available on the Council website at www.ccc.govt.nz

The first Council staff are scheduled to move into the Civic Offices from 29-31 October. The remainder of staff will move into the building over the following 10-12 weeks. It is expected the building will re-open to the public and the first Council meeting will be held in November.

© Scoop Media

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