MBIE to investigate Wellington’s Statistics House
Following the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that devastated Kaikoura and affected a number of buildings in Wellington’s CBD, MBIE has released its terms of reference for an investigation into Statistics House – which could see changes made to building regulations.
Located on The Boulevard, Harbour Quays, the six-storey high Statistics House is closed indefinitely after the partial collapse of an intermediate floor during the 14 November quake.
The terms of reference state that the investigation and report is to establish, where possible, the cause of the partial collapse in order to allow MBIE, if necessary, to amend its regulations or powers to act.
Building, Resource and Markets Acting Deputy Chief Executive Chris Bunny said the aim is to provide insights on buildings that share similar design features and ground conditions with Statistics House.
“We need to understand why Statistics House responded as it did, while nearby buildings appeared to have suffered little damage,” said Mr Bunny. “Once the investigation is complete, if needed, we will consider changes to the building regulatory system.”
Matters of culpability and liability lie outside of the report’s scope.
Matters to be investigated
The purpose of this technical investigation into the performance of Statistics House is to establish and report on:
- The original design and construction of the building.
- The impact of any alterations to the building.
- How the building performed in the 14 November 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.
The investigation will take into consideration the regulatory settings in force at the time the building was designed and built, including:
- Design and engineering standards and guidance.
- Local knowledge of specific design and construction requirements (including land conditions) for the area.
- Any changes over time to knowledge in these areas.
A timeline for the report is yet to be released; however, a final report is being sought by February 2017. MBIE is currently appointing experts to sit on the investigation’s panel, which will be chaired seismologist Dr Helen Anderson.