Work needed to meet code
South Canterbury District Health Board says most of its buildings will not need extensive earthquake strengthening.
More than 35 staff began moving out of the northern end of the Gardens block on Wednesday, after the board received a report warning that a section could suffer a "catastrophic collapse" in the event of a severe earthquake.
However, chief executive Chris Fleming said engineers had assessed the seismic strength of every hospital building after the first earthquake, on September 4, 2010, and most buildings would meet the new standards.
The laundry and supply buildings were strengthened this year, while the administration block would need strengthening to prevent bricks falling. "The staff in [the administration block] perform the same type of work as those in the Gardens Block, so both buildings will be considered together," Mr Fleming said.
While the clinical services building meets current earthquake-proof standards, Mr Fleming said it would need strengthening to meet forthcoming changes to the building code. "This is the main building containing in-patient wards, theatres and the Emergency Department, and so on," he said.
"Further planning is under way to ensure this work involves as little disruption as possible."
The other 40-odd staff in the Gardens Block's southern end would move as soon as the board finds a suitable location. However, the situation has become complicated after yesterday's accidental chemical spill. Many administration building phone lines would be out of service for a few days.
Last month, the board decided it would eventually demolish Kowhai House: an engineer's report said the building met only 15 per cent of the required standard.
Mr Fleming has said it would have cost $350,000 to bring Kowhai House to 50 per cent, or $600,000 to get it to 74 per cent.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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