Quake prompts building check

Canterbury's devastating earthquake has prompted the Dunedin City Council to check the strength of its own buildings.

Council city property manager Robert Clark said he was confident the Municipal Chambers, Dunedin Centre, Civic Centre and Town Hall were of solid construction in the event of an earthquake.

However, "one or two" older buildings owned by the council needed to be checked again by engineers, to ensure they would be able to cope, he said.

Mr Clark would not name the buildings yesterday, saying he wanted more detail before discussing their condition.

The checks were a "desktop exercise", rather than involving labour-intensive tests, but appeared to be the "responsible thing to do".

"I believe that we're in good shape, but I'm just double-checking, basically.

"There's nothing of real concern. It's just that I decided it would be an appropriate and sensible thing to do."

Buildings were required to meet modern codes once modified, and the Municipal Chambers was already being strengthened as part of the $45.8 million Town Hall upgrade, with new steel beams being added.

However, the Canterbury earthquake had "certainly" brought the risk of earthquakes "to the fore", particularly when it came to Dunedin's older brick heritage buildings, Mr Clark said.

The review was expected to take about one month, when more details would be available, he said.

"The council chambers and all of the buildings here are good. There's just one or two others that... I'd like, just from my own peace of mind, to know that they're OK."

chris.morris@odt.co.nz

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