Morgan Tait

Morgan Tait is the NZ Herald's consumer affairs reporter.

Cracks force residents from CBD apartments

Michelle Nand is among residents who have had to vacate the Prince Albert Apartments because of cracks in the foundations. Photo / Sarah Ivey
Michelle Nand is among residents who have had to vacate the Prince Albert Apartments because of cracks in the foundations. Photo / Sarah Ivey

Residents of an inner-city apartment block were told to pack their belongings and find alternative accommodation last night after cracks were found in the building's foundations.

The Prince Albert Apartments at 41 Albert St was evacuated by Auckland Council staff within an hour of engineers finding significant cracking in foundation columns.

The council's building control manager, Ian McCormick, said the council was notified about 4pm.

"They removed some of the cladding that was around a number of internal columns in the building and identified some cracking to a number of the columns," he said.

"They subsequently advised us, and our engineers assessed those columns and acted accordingly and we had this building evacuated."

The owner of one of about 30 apartments in the four storeyed-building and member of the body corporate, Kathy Ross, told the Herald the cracks were discovered during routine repairs.

"I was seeing to some repairs on the ground floor and had all the right people, an engineer and a specialist in to assess the repairs and the engineer informed the council."

She said the damage was not bad and believed the situation had been "dramatised".

"They said we had to get out of the building and weren't allowed back in until it had been repaired. This is a building I have been living in for two years and so I am not very happy because the repairs were scheduled for this month and were all going to plan until a few people got very excited.

"I'm a bit cheesed off we had to move out, it was my home and it just feels like everyone is trying to cover their backs in case there was some freak earthquake in Auckland that would change it into another CTV building or something."

Mr McCormick said building evacuations happened "from time to time" but were usually due to subsidence after heavy rain, or for sanitation reasons if sewage or plumbing pipes were damaged.

Michelle Nand, 24, has lived in the building since February with her partner.

"I was at home the whole time, but when my partner arrived home the building manager was at the door and said you need to evacuate because the foundations were unstable," she said.

Security guards manned the building last night and residents would be informed of the building's situation.

The building was built in the early 1900s and was converted to apartments in 1995.

- NZ Herald

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