20 suspect buildings still under review

Last updated 16:14 09/12/2013

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About 20 Wellington buildings suspected of having similar design faults as Christchurch's CTV building still need to be checked out, says the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says 37 of the 58 Wellington buildings that were built using non-ductile or inflexible columns have so far been checked.

One - the former Greater Wellington Regional Council building in Wakefield St - has been vacated since the July 21 earthquake.

However, about 20 still need to be assessed.

The Wellington buildings were identified in a nationwide review to see if there are any buildings with similar design flaws to the Canterbury Television Building, which collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake and killed 115 people.

Of the 342 buildings identified as suspect, 176 building had now been cleared and two have been vacated. The other building to be vacated was in New Plymouth.

In Auckland, 99 buildings had been assessed and cleared and 39 had been assessed and cleared in Christchurch.

Fifty-nine buildings have been ruled out of scope as they don't meet the review criteria - they either didn't have non-ductile columns, weren't consented in the timeframe when non-ductile columns were allowed, were under three storeys, have been demolished or will be demolished.

Engineering assessments are scheduled for 91 of the remaining 105 buildings. 

"Disappointingly 14 building owners who initially committed to getting an engineering assessment have not followed through with booking an engineer.

''If this situation does not change in the next few months I will consider naming these buildings, which are all around the country.

"It's time for these 14 building owners to step up and do the right thing, as the review is being done for reasons of public safety.

Mr Williamson said that just because a building has non-ductile columns it does not mean it's unsafe and the fact so many buildings have been cleared by the review illustrates this.

"The CTV building failed catastrophically due to many more issues than just non-ductile columns, including a flawed design," he said.

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- The Dominion Post

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