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Christchurch City Council has today closed the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Tea Kiosk building after a Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) assessment showed it needs earthquake strengthening.
The Council has closed the building, which houses the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Café, after receiving the results of a qualitative Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE). It shows the building is below 34 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and is therefore earthquake-prone. Elected members have agreed to close all Council-owned buildings that are below 34 percent of the NBS.
The Council is proactively carrying out DEEs of its buildings following the earthquakes as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project. A DEE is a thorough assessment of the level of damage to a building and includes an estimation of its capacity to withstand future earthquakes. This is expressed as a percentage of the New Building Standard.
Engineers conducted a Level Two Rapid Assessment – a visual assessment of the inside and outside of a building – after each of the major earthquakes. These assessed the building as fit to occupy.
Facilities Rebuild Plan Project Sponsor Michael Aitken says, “Although the building was deemed fit to occupy after these earthquakes, the Detailed Engineering Evaluation has enabled engineers to gain a much better appreciation of the structural issues within the building, which has led to it being assessed as an earthquake-prone building.
“We know that the café is a popular spot for visitors to the Gardens and that it will be greatly missed. Although closing the building is a cautious approach, it is necessary to ensure the safety of the public and the tenant occupying it in the event of future earthquakes or aftershocks.”
The future of the Council’s 1600 buildings is being determined as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project.
Mr Aitken says due to the number of Council-owned buildings currently being assessed, it is unfortunately unclear when a decision will be made around strengthening the Christchurch Botanic Gardens Tea Kiosk building.
“To ensure we are making the best decisions about the future of our buildings, it is important to carry out Detailed Engineering Evaluations. Christchurch Botanic Gardens Tea Kiosk was among the first of our buildings to receive an assessment, but this is just the first step in a complex decision-making process.”
The Council will now carry out further engineering investigations of the building, which includes exploring strengthening options. Recommendations around the future of the building will be made to elected members for approval as part of the Facilities Rebuild Plan project.
For more information about the Facilities Rebuild Plan project, visit www.ccc.govt.nz/facilitiesrebuild