Changes after modern building damaged in quake


There is anger that workers were not told of problems with a modern Wellington waterfront office building and relief they were not there when it partially collapsed in a quake.
The Government yesterday signalled changes to two building standards and potentially the Building Act after an independent report said people could have died in Statistics House when the Kaikoura quake struck last year.
The magnitude 7.8 quake on November 14 happened in the middle of the night and the partial collapse of Statistics House, built in 2005, surprised many.
Labour MP Grant Robertson and the Public Service Association want to know why workers were not told an assessment in 2013 identified critical issues with the building and why only one floor was fixed three years later.
PSA national secretary Erin Polaczuk says a lack of communication between landlord Centreport and its tenants is deeply concerning.
New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering president Peter Smith says because the earthquake was so far away, only low-frequency waves made it to Wellington.
Mid-height buildings experienced severe shaking that met or exceeded what they were designed to withstand but short and stiff buildings only experienced shaking one-third of building code.
Structural Engineering Society spokesman Paul Campbell said the Statistics House investigation had revealed buildings with flexible frames and precast floors were vulnerable in a large and long earthquake.
Centre Port chief executive Derek Nind said the investigators found that Statistics House complied with the building code existing when it was built in 2005. NZME

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