Another building in the lower North Island will close since being assessed against guidelines issued after the partial collapse of Statistics House in the Kaikoura Earthquake.

The Ministry of Justice announced this afternoon the Levin District Court will be closed indefinitely from November 18 for strengthening.

The proposed guidelines it was assessed against were issued by MBIE after two floors of Wellington's Statistics House partially collapsed in the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake.

They're the same guidelines the capital's now-closed central library was tested against.


These guidelines around precast concrete floors are not yet part of legislation and cannot be used to determine whether a building is earthquake prone, which is anything below 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

That's because MBIE is still in the process of gathering evidence and feedback on the guidelines.

But it's difficult to ignore findings under the guidelines when they have a dramatic effect on the numbers.

Techically, the part of the District Court building engineers are concerned about is as high as 50 per cent NBS when assessed under rules that are a part of legislation.

But when that first floor concrete diaphragm was considered under the proposed guidelines it was rated below 34 per cent NBS.

In the case of Wellington's central library, technically it has an overall NBS rating of 60 per cent but engineers calculated that could drop as low as 15 per cent when taking the guidelines into consideration.

As for Bowen House, home to party leaders, MPs and parliamentary support staff, Parliamentary Service does not own the building.

It has been assessed under the guidelines and remains open.


Although Speaker Trevor Mallard confirmed representatives for the landlord said the building was not earthquake prone, as of late October he had not been provided with a copy of the building's current NBS rating or a calculated rating under the new guidelines.

The decision to close Levin District Court was made as soon as possible to speed up the strengthening work and reduce risk to the building's occupants, Ministry of Justice Chief Operating Officer Carl Crafa said.

"For the safety of our staff and other court participants, we have chosen to close the court while work to increase the strength of some connections between a floor slab and some steel beams is undertaken.

"I recognise that this will cause significant disruption to court participants in Levin and we are doing all we can to minimise this, changing venues and times for court hearings to the closest courthouses to Levin," Crafa said.

Managers have met with staff based at the court to announce and explain the decision, and to outline the support available to them.

The Ministry has also spoken with the judiciary and relevant stakeholders about the closure.