Last Thursday, Council announced that two Earthquake Prone Building (EPB) Notices were being applied to Civic House.

Two risks with the building have been identified. Firstly, the bracing to the Tower Block roof is considered be high risk. This is a risk to staff that could not be managed, as a result staff were moved off the Level 6 floor.

The other risk related to the ceiling tiles in various parts of Civic House that do not meet the 34% threshold of the New Building Standard (NBS).
Council undertook work in 2021 to install suspension wires to the grid support in many areas of heavy tiles and added braces to internal partitions. Once this work was completed, a third-party report was commissioned to check its effectiveness. For parts of Civic House, that third-party report has rated the ceiling tiles at less than 10% NBS to above 34% NBS depending on the weight and type of ceiling system at each location.

This report has identified issues that extend beyond what had been identified in previous reports and recommends total replacement of ceiling systems for many areas. A detailed seismic assessment of the ceiling systems has now been commissioned as some of the findings are inconsistent with how the building has behaved in previous earthquakes.  Council officers are also working with consultants to determine other areas and workplaces that may have the same or similar issues.  

Council Chief Executive Pat Dougherty said it was important to remember that many earthquake prone buildings can continue to be occupied.
“It comes down to safety and managing risk. In the case of the ceiling tiles, a preliminary safety assessment has not found any reason for the building to be immediately vacated, but this assessment now needs to be externally reviewed and this will be done urgently.”

Mr Dougherty said his focus was on staff and their wellbeing.