Police dispute quake assessment of station

MARTY SHARPE
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2013

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The design on which many police stations are based has been assessed as being just half the strength required to resist a moderate earthquake.

Police are disputing the Napier City Council's assessment of the city's police station at just 15.9 per cent of the national building standard, which has seen it added to the register of earthquake-prone buildings.

The three-storey building, which houses dozens of officers, is the same design as the structurally identical Porirua station which has not been deemed earthquake-prone, according to a police spokesman.

Any building less than 33 per cent is deemed earthquake-prone, and under council regulations the building is required to meet the minimum standard by 2023.

But police dispute the council's desktop assessment. They say the building is of a standard design and materials used by the Ministry of Works in the 1960s.

"There are many examples across New Zealand of identical design and built with the same materials," the spokesman said. Police have provided the council with a full structural assessment of the Porirua station, which they say is identical and was assessed as meeting more than 66 per cent of the standard.

The spokesman said Porirua City Council accepted this assessment and removed the station from the earthquake-prone building register.

He said Napier City Council had been advised of this and police intended to replace the building within 10 years.

Council chief executive Neil Taylor said he had not received the structural assessment of the Porirua station and last week requested that another be sent.

Once it was received the council would decide whether the building remained on the council's register of earthquake-prone buildings, Mr Taylor said.

Police own 384 stations and houses tied to stations and use a further 171 support properties.

They have assessed police headquarters in Wellington, all Christchurch stations, the Porirua station, the police college in Porirua, and a leased property in Thorndon Quay, Wellington.

Remedial work required on the Thorndon Quay building has been carried out by the owner and police have applied for resource consent to undertake remedial work required on the college buildings.

The police spokesman said they had been working with the Government's Property Management Centre of Expertise.

Seismic assessment panels would start checking various properties next month and these should be completed by the end of June.

Contact Marty Sharpe
Hawke's Bay reporter
Email: marty.sharpe@dompost.co.nz

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