Three buildings owned by the Wellington City Council are set to be quickly demolished after inspections related to this month's massive 7.8 earthquake.

Wellington City Council programme manager Mike Mendonca said two of the buildings between Cable St and Wakefield St are constructed from "fragile brick, masonry and concrete", and have suffered structural damage and could collapse in another strong quake.

One of them was unoccupied and the other was tenanted by Towbar Express, according to the council. They have been fenced off and shipping containers will be placed around them for public protection.

The two buildings are on land that the council has purchased as the site for a proposed museum and convention centre and were already earmarked for demolition, while the St John's Church hall in Karori will also be brought down "in the next fortnight or so" according to the council.


The hall was unoccupied and had been damaged in the 2013 quakes. It is showing signs of further stress following the quake on November 14, according to the council.

It was intended to be demolished in the medium-term to clear the site for sale, to raise funds for the construction of a new Karori Community Centre.

The announcements are the latest development in the capital's broken buildings saga.

Yesterday, IRD's headquarters in the Asteron Centre on Featherston St was evacuated due to earthquake safety concerns.

A council spokeswoman said the evacuation was "precautionary" after engineers found damage in a stairwell.

"The damage might mean if there is another significant earthquake there would be no safe way to evacuate the building."

According to architects Warren and Mahoney, the 17-storey centre is Wellington's largest single office building at 48,000sqm.

Most of Queensgate shopping centre in Lower Hutt was also closed for engineers to assess potential quake damage to its 13 buildings.

More than half its stores will reopen tomorrow after many of the buildings were cleared of safety concerns.

However, the cinema building and a 300-space carpark will stay closed until damage to the areas can be repaired and the buildings made safe.

Part of the shopping centre near the cinema will also be cordoned off as a precaution.

Centre chief executive Peter Alexander said ensuring staff and customers' safety was the company's key concern.

"We have taken the time to ensure that the conclusions our expert engineers have reached have been thoroughly peer reviewed and re-evaluated and we are confident of the decision to reopen part of the centre."