Pirongia Town Hall

An earthquake assessment has prompted the immediate closure of Pirongia Memorial Hall on Franklin St.

The independent assessment provided to Council on 27 April 2018 shows the hall is below minimum safety requirements required by the new earthquake regulations which came into place in July this year. The building needs to meet 34% of the National Building Standards (NBS) however is currently only meeting 15%.

As this structure is a community building it has been recommended that the building is temporarily closed until a more detailed report is commissioned and seismic strengthening is completed.

Council staff will be working directly with hall users to find an alternative venue for activities.

What prompted the earthquake assessment in the first place?  

In 2017, central government introduced new rules around earthquake strengthening of public buildings. 

The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 introduced major changes to the way earthquake-prone buildings are identified and managed under the Building Act. It uses knowledge learned from past earthquakes in New Zealand and overseas.

The system which came into effect on 1 July 2017 is consistent across the country and focuses on the most vulnerable buildings in terms of people's safety.

It categorises New Zealand into three seismic risk areas and sets time frames for identifying and taking action to strengthen or remove earthquake-prone buildings.

What are the results of the assessment?  

In April 2018 independent structural engineering consultants, BCD Group, undertook an Initial Structural Assessment (ISA) for earthquake proneness of the existing Pirongia Memorial Hall building. 

By law, the minimum safety requirement is that a public building be 34% of the national building standards (NBS). The recent initial earthquake assessment shows the building to be sitting at 15% of the NBS.

​The investigation found a lot of borer (a tiny beetle which cause severe damage to timber) throughout the building. There is also structural damage to the frames and walls.

Based on this report, what's the expert recommendation?

As this structure is a community building it has been recommended that the building is temporarily closed until a more detailed report is commissioned and seismic strengthening is completed.

​What's required to bring the hall up to the legal standards?

The initial assessment has recommended strengthening the frames, roof and floor bracing.

We need to wait until the detailed assessment has been completed before we confirm exactly what’s required and how that will be funded.

How long will it be closed for?  

We will be assessing options and looking at costings for those options as soon as possible but we do not have a definite timeframe. Once we have options and cost we will talk to Council and the community.

How much will it cost to fix?

We are in the process of getting some estimate costs now. This will be dependent on a more detailed investigation. 

Page reviewed: 24 May 2018 2:08pm