High earthquake risk to West Coast Regional Council building

4:51 pm on 9 June 2021

A report on the risk of the West Coast Regional Council headquarters collapsing in an earthquake might make staff eat lunch at their desks.

Google Maps image of the West Coast Regional Council.

The West Coast Regional Council headquarters are at risk of collapsing in an earthquake. Photo: Google Maps

Consultants Eliot Sinclair were called in to assess the seismic strength of the offices in Paroa, Greymouth and have given

them a 'D' rating.

This is the second-lowest rating - and the lunchroom was identified as the riskiest part of the building.

Originally a restaurant and nightclub, the building has been standing since the mid-1980s.

The engineering report gave it a seismic rating of less than 34 percent of new building standard.

"Grade D buildings represent a life safety risk to building occupants equivalent to 10 to 25 times greater than expected for a new building, indicating a high earthquake risk exposure," the report said.

The northern extension had a safer rating of 55 percent for its timber-framed walls and 75 percent for its steel-framed portals.

But the lunchroom dragged the overall rating down.

The lunchroom wall was described as a critical structural weakness that could potentially lead to catastrophic collapse, the engineers said.

"It is desirable to seismically strengthen earthquake risk buildings to as near as reasonably practical to that of a new building but, as a minimum, seismic improvements should achieve at least 67 percent of new building standards," the report said.

The council agreed that Eliot Sinclair should do further work to bring the lunchroom wall up to 34 percent of new building standards and investigate what it would cost to bring it up to 67 percent.

no metadata

Local Democracy Reporting is a public interest news service supported by RNZ, the News Publishers' Association and NZ On Air.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs