Below-code buildings not a worry says HB Racing

By Patrick O'Sullivan

2 comments
A notice on the Hylton Smith Stand at the Hawke's Bay Racing Centre tells people they enter a below-code building and can request a refund if unhappy with the risk. Photo / Duncan Brown
A notice on the Hylton Smith Stand at the Hawke's Bay Racing Centre tells people they enter a below-code building and can request a refund if unhappy with the risk. Photo / Duncan Brown

Hawke's Bay Racing officials are not worried about the safety of their buildings but still plan a thorough seismic review more than a year after telling people they entered "entirely at their own risk".

A sign was erected on the Hawke's Bay Racing Centre racecourse buildings in Hastings 15 months ago, warning people many buildings would not meet the New Building Standard for earthquake resistance.

"Any patron who uses these buildings does so entirely at their own risk," the notice says.

"Any patron who does not wish to attend in view of the current uncertainty about the degree of risk may obtain a ticket refund."

The New Building Standard was introduced after the devastating Christchurch earthquake.

Hawke's Bay Racing general manager Andrew Castles said the signs were erected "just to say we are on the path of earthquake assessment and to keep people updated and where we are at".

An initial seismic assessment was completed, indicating many buildings were below code and the next step was a detailed assessment.

"We are in dialogue with some structural engineers about progressing to the next stage of the assessment," Mr Castles said.

The discussions for the "very expensive" detailed assessment centred on whether the buildings would be assessed progressively or all at once.

Hawke's Bay Today recently received comments from several readers concerned people were being put at undue risk.

"To be honest I'm not worried about any of the buildings," Mr Castles said.

Past chairman and current board member Mick Ormond said the initial report estimated all buildings were below the 33 per cent threshold of the New Building Standard.

The detailed assessment would cost "hundreds of thousands of dollars on building like ours" and Hawke's Bay Racing had plenty of time to remedy the situation within the legislated time period.

The sign was erected "because we felt it was the responsible thing to do" and similar signs were routinely seen on Wellington buildings in use.

"It doesn't mean to say they are unsafe, it means they are not up to 34 per cent of the New Building Standard - it is just a protection for everybody," he said.

He said the closure of many buildings, until remediation was carried out, was a knee-jerk reaction unnecessary for buildings used sporadically.

"We put notices on all the buildings, people read them and after a while realise that's just life and they get on with it - we accept some risk."

- Hawkes Bay Today

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