Parliament building a quake risk

PAUL EASTON
Last updated 09:00 20/03/2014

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Part of Wellington's Parliament Buildings and two historic statues in its grounds have been declared earthquake prone.

A draft engineer's report found the section of Parliament which houses the press gallery was at just 15-20 per cent of New Building Standard (NBS).

Inherent weaknesses in the structure were identified.

All public buildings need to be at least 34 per cent of the NBS.

Statues of past Prime Ministers Richard Seddon and his immediate predecessor John Ballance in the parliamentary grounds were also found to be earthquake-prone.

They were rated at 30 per cent of NBS.

Ballance's statue was erected in 1897, and Seddon's in 1915.

''We are working quickly to investigate options to address these issues,'' said Parliamentary Service general manager David Stevenson.

Journalists have been told options included strengthening work, or working from another location.

The engineers' report was commissioned to get accurate information about the seismic strength of Parliament Buildings, and to comply with Wellington City Council requirements.

The report will be finalised in the coming month once solutions were identified to fix the design weaknesses in the Press Gallery.

The rest of Parliament, including The Beehive was declared safe.

However engineers re-classified the soil under Bowen House to a 'D' instead of a 'C' in earthquake resilience terms.

This brought it down from 85 per cent of NBS to between 55 and 65 per cent.

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- The Dominion Post

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