Seismic ties linked to quake safety

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INSTALLING seismic ties will not ensure the Invercargill City Council (ICC) building will be undamaged during an earthquake but it would mean staff were more likely to get out safely.

The discussion came up at Monday’s council infrastructural services committee (ISC) meeting as part of a report presented by ICC property manager Paul Horner on the deferred maintenance and refurbishment of the building.

It was agreed in January last year, ICC would move forward with refurbishing the building instead of developing a new building within the new Central Block development.

On Monday all recommendations including confirming a staged approach to work, seismic ties needing to be installed as soon as reasonably practicable and electing two members to participate in a project control group to oversee the project, were approved by councillors.

ISC chairman Ian Pottinger and Cr Allan Arnold stood unopposed as the two members elected to the group.

It was estimated the cost of the refurbishment would be $15 million.

During the meeting, Cr Lindsay Abbott asked why further seismic ties would be needed when the building was already rated at 100% new building standard (NBS).

In reply, ICC interim group manager of infrastructure Jane Parfitt (who formerly worked for the Christchurch City Council) said if councillors had experienced an earthquake, they wouldn’t think twice about approving the installation of the ties.

“It’s integral to the safety of getting everybody out. You want to have your full egress without having any risk whatsoever.”

Mr Horner said putting in the extra ties would also help reduce the damage to the building.

The refurbishment would also include double glazing of the building and installing a new heating system which would save ICC about $57,000 of its electricity bill which was $118,000 annually, he said.

Other work would include a building exterior upgrade and paintwork, replacement of the lifts and changing office spaces into more open-plan environments.

The work would either be carried out floor by floor, which would reduce the need to relocate staff to a different building, or by vacating the building for the entire construction time with a cost saving of about $200,000 and shortened build time from two years to one.

The committee’s preferences would be referred to the ICC performance, policy and partnership committee for final determination taking into consideration council’s other projects and capital funding available in the long-term plan.

Council also went into a public-excluded session to discuss Housing Care Activity and Rugby Park Stadium transfer of ownership.

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