Pahiatua Service Centre – Earthquake Strengthening

Project Updates

11 September 2019: Currently reviewing the technical structural and architectural designs from consultants in consultation with Heritage NZ.

7 August 2019: Waiting on technical structural and architectural designs from consultants and additional consultation with Heritage NZ.

Project Progress



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Why are we doing this?

This project aims to improve the earthquake rating of the Council building in Pahiatua and to ensure a safe environment for staff and the public.

The building is at 136 Main Street.  It has been the local service centre for the Tararua District Council since 1989, and is used for other community meetings and events as well.

The building was constructed pre-1929 with unreinforced brick and masonry.  It has high walls (approximately 5m) formed by two layers of single thickness bricks with a cavity between them. This causes it to be structurally weak. It is in an area of high seismic risk and was subjected to the “Pahiatua Earthquake” in 1934.

Beca Limited (Beca) completed an initial seismic assessment on the building in July 2013.  The building was assessed at 8% of the New Building Standard, which deems it an earthquake-prone building. The initial assessment outlined ways to bring the building up to 34% of the new building standard, including an engineering solution utilising concealed steel reinforcement that keeps the character of the building. 

The building is classified as a Category 2 with Heritage New Zealand. It’s the former Pahiatua County Council Chambers and was designed by prominent architectural firm C. Tilleard Natusch and Sons.

What is proposed?

After Beca’s initial report, the Building Act was amended and new regulations were made that determined the methodology for strengthening buildings. In 2016 Beca revised their costings and they were asked to complete a detailed design for the strengthening repairs.

Council is expecting to receive those detailed designs soon. Once we have them, a decision on the detailed proposal, in consultation with Heritage NZ, can be made.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why is it taking a long time?

Since the Kaikoura Earthquake in November 2016, there has been an overwhelming demand on technical engineering expertise. New Zealand has only a limited number of professionals who work in this area. The issue of earthquake strengthening has also been under close scrutiny from central government. It has taken time for Council to receive the appropriate advice and work through these issues.