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Repairs to be carried out on closed South Library

Thursday 13 September 2012

Temporary repairs to be carried out on closed South Library and Beckenham Service Centre

Temporary repair and earthquake strengthening work is to be carried out on the closed South Library and Beckenham Service Centre, with the facility expected to re-open by the end of this year.

Christchurch City Council closed the Colombo Street building in July after receiving the results of the second stage of a Detailed Engineering Evaluation, called a quantitative Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE). It showed the building had a seismic capacity of between 10 and 20 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and was, therefore, earthquake-prone. Elected members have agreed to close all Council-owned buildings that are below 34 percent of the NBS.

General Manager Community Services Michael Aitken says it is hoped work can begin next month, once building consent is granted. The work is expected to cost around $75,000 and will increase the building's seismic capacity to at least 34 percent of the NBS, ensuring it is no longer considered to be earthquake-prone.

The temporary strengthening work will include the installation of steel propping and additional beams and plates to strengthen the building. The temporary work has been designed to allow the building to operate as it is for up to five years.

Mr Aitken says, "The closure of the facility was a huge blow to the community so we're absolutely thrilled that engineers have been able to come up with a solution that will allow us to re-open the building again. The building will be heavily braced, which will be obvious to visitors, but this work will ensure the building can be safely occupied again."

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Before its closure, South Library was the most popular community library in the city, attracting customers from across south and south eastern Christchurch. The service centre was also one of the busiest in the city.

Since its closure, engineers have been carrying out investigations in several parts of the building which will help to inform permanent repair and strengthening options. At a meeting on 4 September, the Council's Community, Recreation and Culture Committee agreed with a staff recommendation that South Library and Beckenham Service should be one of 27 Council projects prioritised for funding, further investigations and, where possible, repairs. The proposed top 27 will now be considered at the next Council meeting on Thursday 27 September.

A temporary service centre is due to open outside the closed South Library and Beckenham Service later this month. People will be able to access all the usual services, such as making rates payments and applying for rates rebates and paying dog registrations.

The Council is carrying out DEE assessments and the temporary repairs on South Library and Beckenham Service Centre as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project. For more information about the project, visit


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