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Christchurch City Council is today (Monday 24 September) closing a block of 24 units, 10 of which are occupied, in the Airedale Courts City Housing complex in the Central City.
Following further investigations of the building, engineers have revised a quantitative Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) assessment of the building, which was received by the Council in July. The block, which is situated at 51-57 Salisbury Street, now has a seismic capacity of between 15-25 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and is therefore earthquake-prone. It is being closed in line with an agreed approach by elected members that buildings that are under 34 percent of the NBS should not remain open.
Under the requirements of the Residential Tenancies Act (Section 59), the Council has now given the 10 affected tenants seven days’ notice because, due to the risk of future earthquakes, their homes are now deemed uninhabitable. The Council expects to offer all affected residents alternative homes in other Council social housing complexes. It will also offer to move residents’ belongings to their new homes.
Council Community Services General Manager Michael Aitken says the block of units had remained open after the Council received the quantitative DEE in July because the building’s seismic capacity at the time was assessed as 36 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS).
Elected members have agreed that Council buildings that are assessed between 34 to 66 percent of the NBS can be occupied where engineering advice confirms that there is a low to moderate risk. This assessment is made on a case-by-case basis.
“These more recent investigations were already planned as a follow up to other work already carried out on the building as part of the original quantitative Detailed Engineering Evaluation. Engineers wanted to look even more closely at some parts of the building to determine how it would stand up to future earthquakes, which involved carrying out a number of other tests such as removing wall claddings and ceiling linings.
“Now that this new information shows the building is earthquake-prone, we must ensure that we are protecting the future safety of residents living there. While we understand this news will be upsetting and inconvenient for those affected, our staff will be taking every step possible to find residents alternative homes and to try to minimise the disruption this will inevitably cause.”
All six other blocks in the complex have been assessed as having a seismic capacity of at least 34 percent of the NBS and are not earthquake-prone. While some units in these blocks remain closed due to earthquake damage, those that are currently occupied by residents can therefore remain open.
For more information about the Council’s Detailed Engineering Evaluations, which are being carried out as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project, visit www.ccc.govt.nz/facilitiesrebuild