Press Release – Christchurch City Council
A major programme that will provide a framework for future decision making around 1600 Christchurch City Council-owned buildings was presented to today’s Council meeting.15 December 2011
Programme to look at future of Council-owned buildings
A major programme that will provide a framework for future decision making around 1600 Christchurch City Council-owned buildings was presented to today’s Council meeting.
The Facilities Rebuild Plan project includes Council-owned commercial buildings and community housing facilities.
Following the earthquakes, all Council-owned buildings have already undergone Level Two Rapid Assessments – a visual assessment of the inside and outside of a building to determine if there is any obvious structural damage.
Under the next part of the Facilities Rebuild Plan programme, the Council has been undertaking Detailed Engineering Evaluations of its buildings. This helps to determine the level of damage a building has sustained and the types of repairs or other work it may need. This level of assessment also provides a measurement of a building’s capacity to withstand future earthquakes, expressed as a percentage of the New Building Standard (NBS). The NBS was introduced after the February earthquake.
The results of these assessments will help to inform decisions about the future of a facility, along with a number of other factors including insurance cover, the building’s heritage significance; how often it is used and its long term benefits for the community.
There are a number of possible scenarios for a building’s future. A building is repaired to the same level or a facility is repaired to a higher standard. Alternatively, a building could be demolished and replaced with the same type of facility, demolished and replaced with a different facility or demolished and not replaced at all.
Mayor Bob Parker says, “This programme promises to be a huge challenge for the Council over the coming years, but it is also an opportunity for us to look at the types of facilities that will best meet the needs of our community long term.”
All major decisions about a facility will be made by elected members. However, the Council today agreed to delegate a number of responsibilities to Council staff which will allow them to make decisions within the Facilities Rebuild Plan programme.
• The ability to close and re-open buildings occupied by Council staff and the public following the receipt of Detailed Engineering Assessments. This is according to a clear set of guidelines.
• The ability for the General Manager Corporate Services to accept partial insurance payments provided they are not final and do not commit the Council to a decision about a facility.
• The ability for the General Manager Corporate Services to settle insurance claims up to $5000.
• The ability for the General Manager Corporate Services and General Manager Community Services to approve the demolition of buildings for safety reasons, for example in response to a CERA section 38 notice; repair an existing facility within insurance proceeds where the cost of the work is less than 50 percent of a building’s total insured value and to give approval for urgent stabilisation and weather-proofing work. Relevant community boards will be advised at least 48 hours before proposed work starts on a building.
Project Sponsor and General Manager Community Services Michael Aitken says this is just the beginning of a long term process, which aims to provide safe buildings for staff to work in and the public to visit. “The length of time it will take to repair or make another decision about a facility depends on the type of facility, the level of damage, the results of engineering assessments and the insurance process.
“We are likely to face some tough decisions in the next few years about buildings that are too badly damaged or will cost too much to repair because we unfortunately don’t have the money to repair everything.”
He says a lot of public consultation about the type of facilities the community wants has already occurred as part of the draft Central City Plan for Ministerial Approval and other key Council strategies.
“We are committed to keeping the public informed about decisions made about a facility. There is also likely to be some further public consultation around some of the major facilities.”
For more information about the Facilities Rebuild Plan, visit http://www.ccc.govt.nz/thecouncil/councilfacilities/index.aspx