skip to main content

Seismic Reports confirm closure of Waipukurau Library Building and restrictions in place for Waipukurau Memorial Hall

The Waipukurau Memorial Centennial Library will remain closed for the foreseeable future, and restrictions will be placed on the use of the Waipukurau Memorial Hall, after the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council confirmed both buildings as being potentially earthquake prone, with ratings of less than 20% of the New Building Standard.

On 29 May 2020, Council closed the Waipukurau Library temporarily, following initial engineering advice that the building had significant structural vulnerabilities. This unexpected announcement followed Council and Community expectation that the building had been strengthened as part of structural and renovation works completed in 2016. At this time, assessments on other Council facilities were also being completed as part of the development of asset management plans for the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, including the Waipukurau Memorial Hall.

Despite Council and community expectation that the Waipukurau Memorial Hall had also been seismically strengthened, as part of renovation work completed in early 2017, a detailed seismic assessment of the Waipukurau Memorial Hall has confirmed the building was also potentially earthquake prone, being less than 20% of the New Building Standard. While potentially earthquake prone, the Waipukurau Memorial Hall will however remain open, with structural vulnerabilities not being of the same nature or extent of the Waipukurau Library.

“We understand this is a further blow to the wellbeing of the Central Hawke’s Bay Community, with the Waipukurau Library and now Waipukurau Memorial Hall, being confirmed as potentially earthquake prone”, says Monique Davidson Chief Executive Officer. “Like our community, we have a number of questions and concerns about the position we find ourselves, following significant investment in both buildings over the last five years for seismic strengthening and renovation”.

At this time Council is unable to comment on any specific details relating to the nature of the findings in the report, based on legal advice.

“We know that our community expects answers, and we will continue to be as transparent and open as we can be with our information, while not jeopardising any future processes to come”, says Mrs Davidson. “We ask at this point for the community to allow these processes to unfold”.

With confirmation that the Library building has been confirmed as earthquake prone and will be remaining closed due to public safety concerns, Council will consider options on the future of the Waipukurau Library and Services at a meeting in late August.

Council will place a number of restrictions on the Waipukurau Memorial Hall, due to its identification as being potentially earthquake prone. This will include signage notifying occupants of the buildings status, limiting the building to 100 occupants and restricting Council run public events to other venues, to give people choice to enter the building. Other actions will include increasing evacuation drills and reviewing egress routes from the facility.

“We fully acknowledge that this situation is unacceptable, and we are focussed on working to minimise the impact of the ongoing closure of Waipukurau Library and with users of the Waipukurau Memorial Hall”, says Mrs Davidson.

A list of frequently asked questions is available below and further information will be available on the Central Hawke’s Bay District Council website in due course. For more information on available library services visit www.chblibrary.nz

Frequently Asked Questions

We answer your questions about the Waipukurau Library and Waipukurau Memorial Hall being potentially earthquake-prone buildings.

Waipukurau Library

Council closed the Waipukurau Library on Friday 29 May, following initial engineering advice that the building had significant structural vulnerabilities. This unexpected announcement followed Council and Community expectation that the building had been strengthened as part of structural and renovation works completed in 2016.

Council has now received a Detailed Seismic Assessment that has confirmed the building as being less than 20% of the New Building Standard and potentially earthquake prone. The Library will remain closed for the foreseeable future based on the risk the building poses.

Council Is Considering Options On The Future Of The Waipukurau Library And Services At A Meeting To Be Held In Late August.

AA, Visitor Information And Some Council Services Including Dog Registration, Rates Payments And Rubbish Bag Purchase, Are Available At The Pop-Up AA And Council Service Centre Located At The Old Waipukurau Railway Station, On Bogle Brothers Esplanade In Waipukurau.

Waipukurau Memorial Hall

The building as has been assessed as being less than 20% of the new building standards. This was confirmed by a Detailed Seismic Assessment received by Council in late July.

Strengthening work and the renovation of the hall was completed in early 2017.

How were the issues identified?

As part of Council developing Asset Management Plans for the Councils property assets as part of the 2021 -2031 Long Term Plan, desktop seismic assessments of a number of key buildings were completed and in some cases are ongoing.

Initial feedback received on 24 May, noted that Waipukurau Library had significant structural vulnerabilities and that a further detailed seismic assessment was required to confirm the extent of this. A detailed seismic assessment of the Waipukurau Memorial Hall was also recommended at this time also.

What is an earthquake-prone building?

The classification means the building is more likely to sustain damage following a moderate earthquake and, as a result, there would be a higher risk to staff and public safety.

Here’s a video explaining how buildings are classified.

What are the building’s earthquake-prone building rating?

The recent detailed seismic assessments have confirmed both the Waipukurau Library and the Waipukurau Memorial Hall as being less than 20% of the new building standard and, as such, are considered potentially earthquake-prone.

Why are the buildings being called ‘potentially’ earthquake prone?

While Council as the building owner has received detailed seismic assessment reports confirming the buildings are less than 20% of the New Building Standard.

Until Council as the Building Control Authority formally declare the buildings as Earthquake Prone under the Building Amendment Act 2016, the buildings are considered ‘potentially’ earthquake prone.

Why is the Waipukurau library closed yet the Memorial Hall will remain open?

The Waipukurau Library is closed due to inherent significant structural defects, that in a large seismic event may result in the catastrophic failure of the building. This level of risk is unacceptable for Council to continue occupation with both staff and community.

While less than 20% of the New Building Standard like the Waipukurau Library, in the event of a major earthquake it is expected the Waipukurau Memorial Hall will perform in a different way to the Waipukurau Library and not result in a catastrophic failure of the building.

What immediate mitigations are being carried out?

The safety risks to the public at the Waipukurau Library are such that for staff and public safety the building has been closed.

At the Waipukurau Memorial Hall we have placed the following limits on the buildings use:

  • No events with over 100 attendees at any one time will be permitted
  • Restricted Council events requiring the community to enter the building
  • Placed signage noting the status of the building
  • Increased the number of evacuation drills and review egress routes

Haven’t the Waipukurau Memorial Hall and Waipukurau Library been strengthened?

In 2016, a project was completed strengthening the Waipukurau Library as part of renovations. In 2017, a similar project was also completed strengthening the Waipukurau Memorial Hall as part of renovations.

It was Councils and the community’s expectation that the Waipukurau Memorial Hall and Waipukurau Library had been strengthened.

Based on legal advice, at this time Council is unable to comment on any specific details relating to the nature of findings of the report.

Why is there now a limit on the number of people who can attend events at the Memorial Hall?

While events would rarely be attended by more than 100 people, this is simply a precautionary move to lower the demands on exit routes during an evacuation.

What do earthquake ratings mean?

Earthquake ratings mean the degree to which the building, or part of the building, meets the seismic performance requirements of the new Building Code. This relates to how a building is likely to perform in an earthquake, and the specific criteria to be used to design a new building on the same site as at 1 July 2017 – the date the new system came into force.

What is the system for managing earthquake-prone buildings?

The Building Amendment Act 2016 introduced major changes to the way earthquake-prone buildings are identified and managed.

The Act categorises New Zealand into three seismic risk areas and sets timeframes for identifying and taking action to strengthen or remove earthquake-prone buildings.

It provides more information for people using buildings, including providing for displaying EPB notices on earthquake-prone buildings, and a public earthquake-prone buildings register (the EPB register).

Will these same issues affect old buildings in private ownership?

EPB ratings and their associated issues apply to all commercial buildings in Central Hawke’s Bay and around the country. Central Hawke’s Bay isn't alone in dealing with these issues and we’ve had the benefit of learning from the experiences in other cities like Wellington and Christchurch.

What is different however in this circumstance, is that there was an expectation that both the Waipukurau Library and Waipukurau Memorial Hall had been strengthened to a standard.

What is the earthquake risk zone for Waipukurau?

Waipukurau is included within the high seismic risk area for earthquakes compared to other parts of the country.

7 August 2020

Back to News & Media

Central Hawke's Bay District Council - Copyright © 2020 Central Hawke's Bay District Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Central Hawke's Bay District Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Central Hawke's Bay District Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Central Hawke's Bay District Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Central Hawke's Bay District Council - / +64 6 857 8060 / customerservice@chbdc.govt.nz