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Turnbull House to close pending earthquake strengthening

Media release

24 August 2012

Historic Turnbull House to close pending earthquake strengthening

The Department of Conservation (DOC) is to close Wellington’s Turnbull House next month to allow earthquake strengthening repairs to be carried out.

In 2009, Wellington City Council (WCC) issued notice that Turnbull House is earthquake-prone under the Building Act 2004 and set a deadline of February 2023 for the building to be strengthened.

The building is currently used largely as a conference and meeting venue. DOC has consulted with the four permanent tenants who have agreed to vacate the building in the next month.

“Safety is of the utmost importance, and while Turnbull House does not pose any immediate risk unless there is a significant earthquake we want to ensure the safety of our staff and the public in this eventuality”, said DOC spokesperson Peter Noble.

DOC has investigated a number of options for Turnbull House, however, public safety is paramount and DOC will make a business case for the strengthening work required.

“We regret that the closure will be disappointing to some users and members of the public, but the building is undeniably at risk of failure in a large earthquake,” said Mr Noble.

DOC has commissioned and received a strengthening options report and once Turnbull House is closed it will determine the next steps in ensuring that work is completed by 2017/18- well before the 2023 deadline.

ENDS

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