A Wellington ferry arrivals terminal remained open to the public for seven years despite an engineering report that rated it at just 23 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and a recommendation to strengthen it.
The Interislander Arrivals Terminal Building is owned by CentrePort and leased to KiwiRail.
Getting to the bottom of who knew what and when about the "concerning" situation surrounding the seismic status of the building has proved a difficult task.
There was a scramble to close the terminal in September this year following a risk assessment of the building, which was completed as part of ongoing earthquake recovery and resilience efforts across the port following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.
The assessment put the terminal at just 23 per cent NBS. Buildings with a rating of less than 34 per cent are considered earthquake prone.
Except, it wasn't the first time the building had been rated so poorly.
In 2012 CentrePort's engineers assessed the building and also rated it at 23 per cent NBS.
Just because a building is considered earthquake prone doesn't mean it has to be closed.
However, some owners choose to, regardless, because of the potential risk, especially if the building has high foot traffic.
CentrePort insists it informed KiwiRail of the 23 per cent rating back in 2012.
"CPL and KiwiRail have been working on options for solutions since 2012 regarding the future requirements and design of the terminal," a CentrePort spokesman said.
But correspondence released under the Official Information and Meetings Act shows the 2012 report caught KiwiRail Chief Operating Officer Todd Moyle unawares on September 13 this year.
"FYI - this is concerning. A report from 2012 indicating the building is only 23 per cent of code and a recommendation to remediate to 75 per cent but nothing has been done. Need to check if this has ever been submitted to us," he wrote in an email.
Interislander Executive General Manager Walter Rushbrook said in a statement KiwiRail did not have any records confirming it was informed of the earthquake status of the arrivals terminal prior to 2019.
It said current staff did not have any recollection of being informed before then.
"However, this does not rule out the possibility that someone in KiwiRail was informed, but failed to record that information or pass it on to the wider business.
"Once the issues outlined in risk assessment reports provided were brought our attention in 2019, we acted immediately to ensure the building was closed to the public, and that alternative arrangements were made", Rushbrook said.
To further muddy the water, this report wasn't the only probe into the building's seismic status back in 2012.
Wellington City Council completed something known as an Initial Evaluation Procedure at the time.
This type of report is a screening tool - a basic and broad assessment carried out by engineers contracted by the council to determine whether a building might be earthquake prone.
A detailed seismic assessment may lead to a different earthquake rating for the building.
WCC was unaware of the more detailed assessment CentrePort had also commissioned in 2012 deeming the building at 23 per cent of NBS.
A council spokeswoman said that report was not provided to WCC until September this year.