Library quake work may be delayed

Council staff are proposing to spend almost half a million dollars strengthening the Blenheim library and replacing its roof.

The Marlborough District Council's community and finance committee will discuss the proposal at its meeting tomorrow morning.

In the agenda paper for the meeting, the council's property manager APL Property recommends spending $337,000 to bring the building up to 67 per cent of the national building standard, and another $162,000 to replace the roof in the part of the building built in 1986.

The report says the building was above the legal trigger for earthquake remedial work, but the council wanted to provide safe public buildings.

It has been proposed to move the library to a new site, either across the road at the Floor Pride Marlborough Civic Theatre or to a new building by the Taylor River, but the report says any such move would be at least two years away.

"If the library will in the near future be relocated to an alternative site then council may wish to consider undertaking any construction works when the site is vacant, rather than relocating the library multiple times at the significant cost and disruption."

If the council was to sell the building, investing in the strengthening could ensure a commercial return could be achieved, it said.

The Blenheim library is on the corner of Seymour and Arthur streets, in central Blenheim.

The original building was built in 1965 and is a two-storey reinforced concrete building with a lightweight constructed roof.

It was converted to a library in 1986, and two bays of steel cross bracing were added to the building to enhance seismic resistance, and a single-storey addition was built on the eastern side. The two buildings are structurally independent, with no seismic gap evident, the APL Property report says.

The building has been assessed at 35 per cent of the building standard, above the 33 per cent trigger point where action has to be taken.

The report says the council is not legally required to strengthen the library, however, its engineers Opus recommend strengthening it to 67 per cent of the standard.

The building had "potentially brittle masonry" which needed fixing, Opus said. It recommended replacing the cladding with lightweight timber walls.

"The works to strengthen the library and remediate the brittle masonry hazard are significant and will cause major disruption to the operation of the library which will more than likely force the Library's temporary relocation, further increasing the project cost."

The Marlborough Express