Rooms' quake remedial costs awaited

By Roger Moroney

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The cost of incorporating earthquake strengthening into an upgrading of the now-vacant Community Rooms in Memorial Square is likely to be presented to the Napier City Council by the end of next month.

A complete upgrade of the building had been part of the annual plan and authorised, but for the main occupants, the Napier Citizens Advice Bureau, the need to move out came early - as a result of an engineer's report which rated the building as seriously earthquake-prone.

The bureau staff relocated to what they hope will only be temporary premises at the Community Hub in Raffles St early in May.

Napier City Council chief executive Neil Taylor said the rooms, which were built in 1934, had been earmarked for an upgrade to more suit their use as a community facility.

But after the engineer's report showed it had just a 12 per cent earthquake safety compliance (the minimum is 33 per cent) it was decided, for safety reasons, to close it down rather than wait for the upgrade work to begin.

Mr Taylor said the architects handling the original design for the upgrade were now factoring in the strengthening requirements, and the related costs.

It was likely the building would get a new roof, as a major part of the potential earthquake danger was the heavy tiles presently in place.

While there was no firm time-frame in place for the work to be carried out, and the rooms cleared for occupancy, Mr Taylor had earlier said he would like to see it "as soon as we can".

He said he anticipated the architect's upgrade report and inclusion of costs for earthquake-proofing to go before council by the end of August.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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