Christchurch City Council is today closing the Harewood Community Centre building after receiving the results of a Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE) assessment.
The community centre building in Harewood Road is used by Harewood Playcentre and a number of community groups.
Engineers have assessed the building as having a seismic capacity of six per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS), which means it is earthquake-prone. Although the building has relatively minor structural damage, a potential critical structural weakness has been identified which needs further investigation. A number of issues, including the age of the building, the materials with which it is constructed and the type of construction have contributed to its low seismic capacity. Councillors have agreed to close all Council-owned buildings that are assessed as below 34 per cent of the NBS.
General Manager Community Services Michael Aitken says Council staff are today advising the management committee that looks after the building on behalf of the Council about the decision to close it.
“The community centre has been well used by residents and we are therefore mindful of the disruption and inconvenience its closure will cause. While closing the building is a cautious approach, the Council has made a commitment to close its buildings that are assessed as below 34 percent of the NBS to ensure the ongoing safety of the public.
“The Council had already carried out assessments on this building following the earthquakes and the building was deemed fit to occupy at that time. However, as a DEE assessment is a much closer look at the way a building might perform in future earthquakes, it has highlighted a number of structural issues. With this new information to hand, it is now prudent to close the building,” he says.
A full damage assessment of the building, which will include the development of repair and strengthening options, will now be carried out. This will help to inform the Council’s discussions with insurers and help staff to prepare recommendations about the building for consideration by councillors.
The Council is carrying out DEE assessments of its buildings following the earthquakes as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project. The assessments help to determine the level of damage a building has sustained in the earthquakes and its capacity to withstand future earthquakes, expressed as a percentage of the New Building Standard. They also help the Council to make an informed decision about whether a building should continue to be occupied.
A final copy of the engineering report for the community centre will be available on the Council website at www.ccc.govt.nz/facilitiesrebuild.