Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Thames Hospital building WOFs revoked days after issue

Thames Hospital building WOFs revoked days after being issued

Phil Pennington, Reporter

A health board that issued warrants of fitness for its maternity unit and main hospital building in Thames despite knowing they had firestopping defects, has hurriedly revoked the warrants.

a view of Thames
Hospital

Thames Hospital's warrants are not up-to-date. Photo: Supplied.

The Waikato District Health Board had told RNZ in May that Thames Hospital had defects, at the same time as it detailed many other defects holding up the issuing of warrants at many of its main medical blocks in Hamilton.

RNZ then asked the Thames and Coromandel District Council if the Thames Hospital's warrants were up-to-date.

On Friday, the council said the warrants had just been issued. But on Monday there was a U-turn.

"The situation with the BWOFs (building warrant of fitness') changed this morning," the council said in a statement.

The Independent Qualified Person (IQP) "revoked the reports on the fire separations, so that means the BWOFs are no longer current". IQPs, as they are known, do warrant checks and sign off buildings for owners.

This followed the council making further enquiries about the fire separations, enquiries which were linked to media enquiries and reporting, it said.

RNZ had asked on Friday why the council appeared to have accepted warrants signed off on non-compliant hospital buildings.

Firestopping, also known as fire separations or passive fire measures, are suspected or known to be defective in a swathe of buildings as the standards have not been rigourously enforced. Poor firestopping means fire and smoke can spread more quickly than they should.

The warrants of fitness scheme also has only patchy reviewing by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, which makes suggestions to councils but does not have a record of enforcing improvements.

The Thames and Coromandel District Council met on Monday with the hospital's facilities manager and engineers WSP Opus.

The revocations mean Thames' Birthing Unit has not had a warrant since March, and the main hospital since late May this year.

The council plans to issue "notices to fix".

These notices are among the powers it has for tackling breaches of the Building Act or rules; they are a warning to fix any non-compliance; the next step can be fines of up to $20,000 dollars a day, though councils have generally been averse to issuing notices or fining building owners.

At Te Kuiti, none of the Waikato DHB's buildings have had a warrant since mid-May this year, because one building has firestopping defects, and a single warrant covers the whole site.

"Defects have been identified consisting of unprotected penetrations of fire separations, this is mainly cabling and pipes," the Waitomo District Council said in a statement.

"The identified defects will not allow the issuing of a BWOF until rectified."

In Thames, the council is asking the DHB to get checks done by a qualified person.

Previously, the DHB had told RNZ a survey would happen some time in the next 12 months.

The DHB was approached for an interview last night but said it could not make a response in such a short timeframe.

Previously, the board has been at pains to tell RNZ that not having a warrant did not mean buildings were unsafe, and that safety relied more on the active fire protection measures such as evacuation plans. This has been echoed by the Hamilton City Council.

Nine of Waikato Hospital's blocks in Hamilton have had a warrant, which must be renewed annually, for just one year, or not at all, since 2016.

The Hamilton City Council has been aware of this since 2016 but is taking a more softly-softly approach than Thames, giving the DHB time - years in some cases - to fix the blocks.


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>


Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women In Public Life

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Harry/Meghan Affair, And Iran

Those “Meghzit” headlines seem apt, given how closely Britain’s January 31 exit from the European Union resembles the imminent departure from the Royal Family’s top team of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. For young Iranians, the accidental downing of the Ukrainian airliner is just the latest example of the deadly incompetence and dishonesty of their leaders... More>>

 
 
 
 
 


 
 
 
  • PublicAddress
  • Pundit
  • Kiwiblog