Wellington Scoop

Deadline on Friday: how safe are 80 CBD buildings?

Only eight days till we know the condition of 80 big buildings in the CBD.

Friday next week is the deadline set in December by the Wellington City Council, when it ordered extra inspections ti be made on these eighty buildings, described as having “certain attributes that need to be checked.”

BusinessDesk reported that the eighty buildings have similar characteristics to the quake-damaged Statistics House on the waterfront.

The list includes landmark buildings including the Amora Hotel, the West Plaza Hotel and the InterContinental Hotel, David Jones, Bowen House, the Todd Building, Lambton House (whose occupants include the head office of Vodaphone), Plimmer Tower (which contains the Travelodge), even the huge Asteron Centre (which was briefly closed after the November quake) and the Treasury Building.

Carparking buildings are on the list to be checked – including Marion Square, the James Smith carpark and the council’s basement car park in Harris Street next to the Central Library (which is also on the list.)

Announcing the extra checks, the council’s City Recovery Manager Mike Mendonca, said:

So far we have no evidence of any need to evacuate any other buildings. We do not expect to find any unsafe buildings we are not already aware of, but the Council is taking this precautionary approach and being prudent. Most of the properties are reinforced-concrete buildings of up to 15 storeys, built in the past four decades, and many of them on softer reclaimed land or on ridgelines.

While most of the huildings on the council’s list are still occupied, the list includes the Civic Administration Building, which has been closed since November, when Kevin Lavery said:

“Our engineers want to have a closer look at some of the building elements and how they performed in the earthquake, so the building will remain closed until this work is complete.”

The inspection was continuing in mid December, when Mayor Lester told us:

Engineers have commenced examination of the Civic Administration Building. It will take several weeks (floors, ceiling panels and other fixtures have to be removed to allow a good look at the structure of the building). If remedial work is required, consultants will then consider how this work will need to be done – and, whether it should be programmed to be properly-timed with existing plans to reorganize and revamp the building, which is nearing 30 years old.

Since then, there’s been no further information from the council about the state of its empty building, which used to contain 450 staff. Will remedial work be needed? Will remedial work be possible? When will we be told?

There’ll be similar anxiety about all eighty buildings on the list, till the council tells us the results of the inspections that have a deadline for completion of Friday next week.

Building owners deny demolition plan


  1. Adam, 6. February 2017, 14:01

    They spelt Courtenay Place ‘Courtney place’. Get it right, WCC…

  2. Henry Filth, 9. February 2017, 16:36

    Well, the week’s up. What news? [The council advises: Under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, the specific details of individual building reports will remain confidential unless released by the building owner. The Council will be reviewing the engineering reports over the weekend and will give an overview of the results to the media next week.]