Part of the city's Civic Centre has been deemed an earthquake risk and will cost $600,000 to bring up to standard.
Strengthening work has been recommended for the west block of the civic centre running along Leach St, after being assessed at just 48 per cent of the New Building Standard.
A detailed engineering assessment requires the work to be done in order to avoid the building twisting and failing in a moderate to large earthquake.
The New Plymouth District Council building, also known as the "purple palace", can continue to be used by council staff in the interim.
A recommendation was moved by the council's monitoring committee last night to fund the work using the council's renewals budget and depreciation fund.
Councillor Shaun Biesiek expressed some concern about taking from the depreciation fund when decisions had been made to reduce funding into those reserves.
"How's that fund looking if we continue to use some of these funds for unprogrammed work?
"I'm just concerned we have a depreciation reserve that we're under-depreciating, and now we're taking extras out we haven't budgeted for."
NPDC business services general manager Steve Taylor said the council had a buffer of about $30 million for unplanned projects.
"That money can be used for those sorts of purposes, and we can also replenish that fund over time if we need to."
Council property assets manager Peter Handcock said while the west block had been assessed as an earthquake risk, the rest of the building, including the stairwells and the other floors of the west block, were not a risk.
"In 1990 the block was strengthened with new shear walls. That brought the block's shear capacity up to 62 per cent of the NBS, but TSE Engineers recommend that structural strengthening be done to reduce the risk of twisting and premature failure of the building during a moderate to severe earthquake," he said.
The council has a policy of requiring public buildings to meet at least 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS), and encourages building owners to strengthen their buildings to 67 per cent or higher.
So far, the evaluations of public buildings have found the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and part of TSB Showplace to be earthquake-prone, with less than 20 per cent NBS.
Council buildings that have been audited and require no further work are Yarrow Stadium, the Downtown Carpark, Puke Ariki Museum, Puke Ariki Library and TSB Stadium.
Last night's recommendation will be considered at a full council meeting on September 10.
BUILDINGS BEING ASSESSED
Must be over 67 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) to avoid earthquake risk.
Oakura Town Hall: 57 per cent
Inglewood Town Hall: between 50 and 100 per cent (preliminary)
Waitara War Memorial Hall: between 25 and 50 per cent
Mangorei Hall: 39 per cent (desktop assessment)
Te Henui Vicarage: Under review.
YMCA gymnasium and squash courts: 37 per cent (desktop assessment).
- © Fairfax NZ News
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