Serious building problems in Wellington

It seems surprising how much earthquake damage has occurred in Wellington. The closest quake was a modest 5.3 and the capital is a distance from all the quakes near Seddon most of the way  across the Cook Strait.

There has been quite a bit of minor damage to many buildings. And it is emerging that there’s more than minor damage to some large buildings.

It has been revealed that at least one of the reasons why the Statistics building can’t be re-entered by staff for at least a year is due to a partial floor collapse – one report called it pancaking.

1 News: How tragic could it have been had people been at work? Ceiling at Stats NZ building collapsed during quake

Chief executive Liz MacPherson said it appeared Statistics House, located on CentrePort land on the Wellington waterfront, suffered structural damage to “one corner of the building, down the stadium end, partially affecting two floors”.

She said in a Facebook message to staff that engineers had told her it could be anywhere from several months up to a year before staff could return to the building.

“Now it goes without saying that I am asking the same questions that I am sure you are asking, ‘how is it a building that is as new as Stats House, with the code rating that it had, could suffer this sort of damage’,” she said. “I will continue asking those questions.”

Building owner CentrePort said Statistics House will require more extensive inspections to accurately assess the damage.

Chief executive Derek Nind said two concrete beams had become separated from the building’s exterior wall with part of the ground and first floor ceilings dislodging.

And now another building has been cordoned off with apparent fears of falling glass, but also claims the lift block section is separating from the rest of this building:

wellingtonbuildingliftwell

 

Newshub: Wellington street cordoned off over building fears

There are fears a building is about to collapse in central Wellington.

Nearby buildings have been evacuated and engineers say there is a chance the former Deloitte building could collapse.

The building is on Molesworth Street near Parliament and emergency services have closed off the road.

Buildings in the vicinity that have been evacuated include the Thai Embassy, Rugby NZ House, Red Cross and ANZ.

This on it’s own is concerning enough.

But there should be questions asked about how badly Wellington has been affected by these earthquakes.

Remember, a 5.3 earthquake, with a number of shakes from across the Strait of up to 5.8.

But also remember that in 1855 there was a massive 8+ quake in Wellington.

Historical earthquakes in the Wellington region

The Wellington region has been subject to a number of large earthquakes in the past 175 years. New Zealand’s largest ever earthquake was the magnitude 8.2–8.3 quake that struck on 23 January 1855.  The earthquake caused damage to the city including uplift of the harbour, a tsunami in the Wellington harbour and numerous landslides around the region.  In 1942 the Wairarapa was shaken by a magnitude 7.2 earthquake on 24 June and then a 7.0 on 2 August, both caused extensive local damage. 

http://www.getprepared.org.nz/hazards/earthquake

There should be serious concern about the damage this week from far smaller quakes, but even more concern about future risks.

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5 Comments

  1. Kitty Catkin

     /  15th November 2016

    The PSA (?) spokeswoman was acting as if it had been done on purpose !

    Reply
    • Joe Bloggs

       /  15th November 2016

      With all due respect Kitty, I think that the CEO of Statistics NZ has every reason to express serious concern about the structural failure of Statistics House. The building is barely a decade old and was supposedly constructed to withstand much greater earthquakes than those experienced in Wellington, yet two concrete beams have separated from the rest of the building.

      Reply
      • Kitty Catkin

         /  15th November 2016

        I take the point, but nobody did it on purpose so as to squash the workers.

        Reply
        • MaureenW

           /  15th November 2016

          And what is your point exactly Kitty? Don’t want anyone to get hurty feelings??

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  16th November 2016

            If you have to ask the question, you wouldn’t understand the answer.

            Reply

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