Tenants move out of former Earthquake Commission building
A building that once housed the Earthquake Commission is to undergo major repairs following the November earthquake.
Graham Webby, of Webby Holdings Ltd, said 20 Daly St in Lower Hutt was built in the late 1980s. As well as the commission, the five-storey building also housed the Hutt Valley Chamber of Commerce for 12 years.
The fourth floor was damaged in the earthquake and the council recently declared it earthquake prone. Parts of the building were found to be below 33 per cent of code and tenants were advised to move out.
"We suggested they relocate for their own safety," Webby said.
Getting engineers to agree on the state of the building had not been straightforward.
Council engineers came up with a significantly different rating for the building from those that he used.
Ultimately, he said, it was all about safety and the building had to be strengthened.
"Money is not important when we are talking about safety and peace of mind."
The tenants were in the process of moving out and he suspected finding suitable space in Lower Hutt was going to be challenging.
"They have to be careful they don't jump out of the frying pan and into the fire."
Nine months after the earthquake, he predicted other landlords were going to start finding themselves in a similar position.
It had been hard to get engineers since the earthquake but once owners started getting their reports, more problems were likely to emerge.
Although the damage suffered was not significant, the design of the building means it was technically difficult and expensive to fix.
The starting date for the repairs depended on the availability of tradespeople but he hoped to begin before Christmas.
His aim was to get the building to 80 per cent of code. "We need to get it to that level to attract tenants."
The cost of the repairs would be met by insurance and the Webby company that owned the building.