1492395036329 - Engineers and council staff investigating Upper Hutt buildings for similarities to Statistics House

Engineers and council staff investigating Upper Hutt buildings for similarities to Statistics House

Council staff and engineers in Upper Hutt are searching for buildings which could potentially have flaws similar to Statistics House.

Two floors in Statistics House in Wellington city partially collapsed after the Kaikoura earthquake in November last year.

In a report released in March, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) said it had contacted Upper Hutt City Council along with Hutt City and Porirua councils on potential flaws to look out for in buildings similar to Statistics House.

MBIE official Anna Butler told the council any buildings facing similar issues would typically be between eight and 15 stories tall, but could be as low as four stories.

READ MORE: * Earthquake building probe widened from Wellington to cover Hutt Valley and Porirua * CentrePort warned of ‘critical issue’ in Statistics House in 2013 * New photos from Statistics New Zealand’s quake-hit head office released

Upper Hutt mayor Wayne Guppy said council staff along with engineers had started investigating buildings in Upper Hutt.

“It’s a work in progress,” he said.

Council staff along with an engineering team had been working to identify any buildings that would fall into the category established by MBIE. If any were identified, the building’s owners would be contacted to continue assessments and determine if any action should be taken.

“From our point of view, it doesn’t seem many, if any, fall into that category, but we are taking it seriously.”

Guppy said staff were working to do a thorough job and results of the investigations would be forthcoming in the next few weeks.

The MBIE report said Statistics House was “generally designed and constructed” in 2005 according to the building code but the forces of the November 14 earthquake were not anticipated by the building regulations.

In Lower Hutt, mayor Ray Wallace said the council began writing to the owners of buildings which could face similar problems shortly after the November 14 earthquake.

Most had responded but the council was still trying to contact about six building owners.