Contractors have started work on removing Rotorua's Community House.

All tenants have now moved to alternative homes around the city with the three-story Haupapa Street building to come down by mid-September.

The building, constructed 50 years ago for Government Life Insurance, was bought by the council in 1993 to provide affordable accommodation for local volunteer and community organisations.

News last year of a potential $2.4 million bill for earthquake strengthening prompted the decision to instead demolish the building.

Rotorua Lakes Council's Strategy and Partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston said once that decision was made as part of the 2015-2025 long-term plan process it became critical to find suitable homes for the tenants.

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New locations of former Community House tenants.
New locations of former Community House tenants.

"We've worked closely alongside them to ensure they move into premises suitable for them and where we can help we've negotiated rent subsidies," he said.

RDT Pacific associate director Sheryl Kirner said the work would be done in three stages and take four months.

The first stage will involve stripping of internal linings, doors, mirrors, cabinets, electrical and plumbing fittings, plant and equipment. Due to the age of the building a number of items contain asbestos and as part of stage two this will be removed by a licensed asbestos removal company.

The final stage involves a crane and a high-reach excavator with a "nibbler" which will break down the building in sections from the top down. The excavator will have a mist sprayer at the end of its arm to wet the structure and minimise dust.

The building will be broken down piece by piece with rubble cleared away regularly to keep the site tidy. Contractors will monitor the building's integrity regularly to ensure the safety of workers, the public, and those in adjacent buildings.

Meanwhile an access road between the library and the Community House where people drop off their library books into a book drop bin while still in their cars has been shut down for safety reasons.

A book drop bin remains at the front of the library in Haupapa Street.

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