Countdown in central Christchurch forced to change design

Countdown Moorhouse has modified its designs to achieve building consent.
CHRISTEL YARDLEY/FAIRFAX NZ

Countdown Moorhouse has modified its designs to achieve building consent.

Countdown has been forced to revise the design of its alterations for its Moorhouse Ave, Christchurch supermarket because of fears about fire safety.

Christchurch City Council refused to grant a building consent for the planned alterations and the matter then went to the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment's manager of determinations John Gardiner.

He agreed with a Fire Service report carried out for the city council, which cast doubt on escape routes from the new layout of shops at the front of the supermarket.

Countdown's general manager for property Adrian Walker said following the decision from MBIE, Countdown had worked with the Christchurch City Council to adjust its plans.

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Countdown has subsequently received building consent from the council.

"We're happy with the council's decision, and the space created from these supermarket changes will enable new specialist retail shops to be set up along the front of the supermarket, which we believe will be great for the community," Walker said.

The alterations to the supermarket include reducing its size from 5123 sqm to 4539 sqm and creating two new shops at the front. 

The design features that had been disputed by Countdown and the Fire Service included the means of escape from the new tenant spaces.

The initial fire design had not taken into account all the numbers of people when future tenancies were filled, according to the Fire Service.

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Countdown said the time involved in dealing the matter over several months and involving peer reviews, had been onerous.

In his summary, the manager of determinations, Gardiner, said the fire design presented for building consent indicated merging flows (of people) between the main exit from the supermarket and the southern exit  from the existing pharmacy, using the same foyer.

He acknowledged the plans as presented to him did not show all the exits.

Gardiner suggested in his report the building designer provide an exit pathway diagram showing designated exits and the numbers of people that would use them.

A number of other technical matters were also dealt with in the determination.

 - Stuff

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