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Reserve Bank reopens its offices, after asbestos scare

News from Reserve Bank
The Reserve Bank will be back in its Wellington premises this morning.

A trace of asbestos was found in the building last week during a routine inspection. It has been remediated and testing and certification done. Essential operations were not interrupted, as they operated from the Reserve Bank’s premises in Auckland.

News from Reserve Bank – May 18
The Reserve Bank anticipates re-opening its Wellington building next week after testing of air quality is completed. A trace of asbestos was found on level 1 during a routine inspection on Wednesday.

The asbestos on level 1 has been remediated. The results have been clear on all levels where air quality testing has been completed, but inspection and testing continues on other floors. Essential operations continue to operate from our premises in Auckland.

“We routinely inspect and conduct air monitoring across the building. We closed the building to inspect all levels and confirm that there is no risk to human health,” Head of Communications Mike Hannah said. “The safety of our people and tenants is our number one priority,” he said.

News from Reserve Bank – May 17
Work is well under way to test air quality on all levels of the Reserve Bank’s Wellington premises on The Terrace, after a trace of asbestos was found on level 1 during a routine inspection on Wednesday.

The asbestos on level 1 is being remediated. Three levels have been inspected, tested and found to be clear. Inspection and testing continues. Essential operations continue to operate from our premises in Auckland.

Because of the age of the building, asbestos must be presumed to be present. This is why we routinely inspect and conduct air monitoring across the building.

“As a responsible employer and landlord, we decided to take the precaution of closing the building to inspect all levels and confirm that there is no risk to human health,” Head of Communications Mike Hannah said.

A plan is being developed for returning everyone to the premises after other levels have been inspected, tested and the safety of staff and tenants is assured.

“The safety of our people and tenants is our number one priority,” he said.

BusinessDesk report by Rebecca Howard
New Zealand’s central bank yesterday temporarily evacuated its headquarters in Wellington after a trace of asbestos was found. Essential operations will occur out of its Auckland premises.

According to Governor Adrian Orr, a “small trace” of asbestos was discovered on level one and “as a result, it is temporarily closing its building at No. 2 The Terrace in Wellington.”

He added that air tests were conducted and came back clear and the appropriate remedial action has been taken. However, “because of the age of the building, asbestos must be presumed to be present,” he said. The bank periodically conducts air monitoring across the building to ensure levels remain below the allowable trace level of 0.01 fibres per millilitre of air.

Orr said the bank has taken the extra precaution of closing the building “until it is confirmed that there continues to be no risk to human health and any necessary remedial action has been taken.”

A bank spokesman hoped to have more to report this afternoon.

Other tenants in the building are aware and have made their own arrangements, he said.

News release from Reserve Bank – May 16
The Reserve Bank today said it is undertaking some asbestos remediation work following the discovery of a small trace yesterday on Level 1. As a result it is temporarily closing its building at No. 2 The Terrace in Wellington.

The Bank’s essential operations are not affected. These are being operated from the Bank’s Auckland premises.

Governor Adrian Orr said: “We undertook an air test on Level 1 and have since learned that this is clear, and appropriate remedial action has been taken on this level.

“However, we understand that, because of the age of the building, asbestos must be presumed to be present. For that reason, we periodically conduct air monitoring across the building to ensure levels remain below the allowable trace level of 0.01 fibres per millilitre of air.

“However, as a responsible employer and landlord, the Bank has decided to take the extra precaution today of closing the building until it is confirmed that there continues to be no risk to human health, and any necessary remedial action has been taken.”

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