Tararua District Council's Dannevirke office and home to its emergency operations centre has seismic issues and is now on the register of earthquake prone buildings in our district.

Engineering firm Beca have reported to council that the problems in Dannevirke relate mainly to the two concrete block walls which have existed since the days when it was a crop and grain store.

The walls, outside the district mayor's office and alongside the chief financial officer's area, are key areas, council chief executive Blair King said.

"Having them removed is the simplest option and the suspended ceilings will have to go too," he said. "Because the roof structure in Dannevirke is robust, the work will be a lot more straightforward than what is required for the Pahiatua Chambers."


King said the work on the walls can be done with very minor disruption, along with some floor to wall connections, but the suspended ceilings will require staff relocation.

"We do have a budget for this work in our Long Term Plan, but what we don't have is a cost estimate to jack and pack the outside walls of the building," he said.

Meanwhile, Tararua Community Youth Services are moving from their historic Carnegie Centre building in Allardice St to the former Scanpower and Turfrey premises on March 1.

The Carnegie Centre requires earthquake strengthening to bring it to 34 per cent of earthquake code, with cost estimates of up to $1 million.

Owners of heritage buildings in regional areas are set to benefit from changes to Heritage EQUIP, the national earthquake upgrade incentive programme, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson has announced.

"Heritage buildings are integral to the character of regional New Zealand, but the cost of strengthening can be prohibitive for owners in these areas," Robertson said.

"These owners face lower building incomes and values that often don't justify the upgrade expense, and there can also be a shortage of locally available professional advice.

"Tailoring funding for heritage building owners in regional, medium and high seismic risk areas gives them more options to manage the unique earthquake strengthening challenges they face."


The grants provide up to 50 per cent of the costs required for obtaining services such as detailed seismic assessments, conservation reports, architectural and structural engineering plans and many regional building owners are also able to apply for up to 67 per cent of upgrade works costs.

Robertson said he was encouraging building advisers, councils, civic and heritage trusts and other qualified entities to work on behalf of groups of building owners in regional locations.