Council & City

Update to earthquake-prone status for Central Library building

Wednesday August 21 2019

In December, the Palmerston North City Council accepted detailed seismic assessment results for the Central Library, which identified the building as earthquake-prone.

Earthquake-prone building notices were placed at the main entrances of the building, stating the earthquake rating for the building of 20-25% of the New Building Standard, and giving Council seven-and-a-half years to complete remedial works.

A peer review of the assessment has confirmed the building is not designated a priority building under Section 133AE of the Building Act. As a result, the statutory timeframe for remediation is now 15 years. A priority building poses a higher risk to life and safety because of its construction, type, use or location, or because it’s critical to recovery in an emergency. The building isn’t deemed to be a priority building because it’s not constructed from unreinforced masonry.

“As we had earlier identified, the building is not dangerous to occupy,” says Debbie Duncan, PNCC General Manager – Community.

“The Central Library will continue to operate all services and regular events as we continue to consider all options, irrespective of the newly expanded timeframe.

“The previous Library of the Future project, which is in part aimed at addressing a number of maintenance and renewal issues, has been superseded by the process of addressing the seismic issues identified with the building.”

This work is being conducted alongside the development of the Civic and Cultural Masterplan, in which the Central Library and Te Manawa – also an earthquake-prone building – play critical anchor roles. Council will undertake community consultation on the masterplan, including high-level options for the library, in early 2020.

“Council is determined to identify the best and most cost-effective options for the revitalisation of the two facilities within the proposed precinct.”