Pahiatua and Dannevirke Earthquake Strengthening

Council is making progress on plans for the earthquake strengthening of Council’s Pahiatua and Dannevirke service centres with some work likely to begin this year, Project Manager Marco Alben says.

Delays caused by issues regarding the specs for the Pahiatua Service Centre earthquake strengthening have now been resolved and the building will be strengthened to 50 per cent of new building standards.

“Initially Council was looking at earthquake strengthening of that building up to 34 per cent of the Building Act requirements, but Heritage New Zealand was wanting us to meet 60 per cent of the standard,” Marco said. “This was going to prove very costly and didn’t make sense. However, engineers said meeting 50 per cent of the Building Act would only incur an increase of two per cent in our budget and Heritage New Zealand have agreed this is satisfactory.”

The project aims to improve the earthquake rating of the Council Service Centres in Pahiatua and Dannevirke to ensure safe environments for staff and the public.

The Pahiatua building has been the local service centre for the Tararua District Council since 1989 and is also used for other community meetings and events.

Pahiatua Service Centre is classified as Category 2 with Heritage New Zealand and is the former Pahiatua County Council Chambers, designed by prominent architectural firm C. Tilleard Natusch and Sons.

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

Marco said Council has gone to the market for an engineer who will undertake construction monitoring and control and project management and this closes on April 1.

“We will then select the right person and go to the market for a contractor to carry out the Pahiatua and Dannevirke work and if all goes well work could begin in June,” he said.

Plans are already underway for the Pahiatua Service Centre team to relocate to the library, with layout changes being carried out to ensure the public has easy access to service centre staff.

The same engineer will also oversee and sign-off work on the Dannevirke Service Centre.

“We are awaiting building consent for the Dannevirke earthquake strengthening and that will be through next week or the following week,” Marco said.

The Dannevirke Service Centre in Gordon Street was originally built in 1963 and has been altered several times since. It’s generally a lightweight steel and timber-framed structure but it also features heavier masonry walls and brick veneers over timber framing in some areas. Its earthquake rating has been assessed as less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standards.

The roof also needs attention as the internal guttering fills with debris and causes flooding inside the building.

Work to be carried out in Dannevirke includes masonry block veneer at the north-east corner, partially filled masonry walls in the north-south direction and the roof on the front of the building.

“The scope for the Dannevirke work has increased and we are looking at late 2021 or early 2022 for that work to commence,” Marco said.

“We are looking at options on where to relocate the customer services team when this works commence,”

“Once the engineer comes on board they will work with the contractor to give us a better indication of when construction will begin.”