Bank buildings fail quake tests

Buildings housing ANZ branches in Temuka, Geraldine and Waimate have all failed to meet present-day earthquake strengthening standards, and staff will move out within weeks.

The bank has had seismic assessments carried out on all buildings it leases throughout New Zealand as a result of the Christchurch earthquakes, and the three South Canterbury buildings are the latest to be found wanting, ANZ regional manager for Dunedin and North Vaughan Keenan said yesterday.

About 15 staff worked at the three branches, and they have been told of the engineer's findings. Mr Keenan said the matters identified in the report were not so severe that it was felt it was needed to close the branches immediately.

He suspected the Geraldine and Waimate buildings were probably built in the 1920s-1940s, and had subsequently been refurbished. Mr Keenan said the reports came as no surprise considering the age of the buildings.

The bank was now looking for alternative premises in the three towns, with Mr Keenan adding staff had been given an undertaking by the bank that it intended to retain a presence in each of the centres.

He said it was likely the branches would move to alternative premises within four to six weeks. Whether those moves were temporary or permanent would depend on the landlords involved and whether they wished to strengthen their buildings to a standard the bank was happy with.

The Kurow branch of the National Bank and Oamaru's ANZ branch have also failed to meet the seismic standards the bank requires.

The Timaru Herald