Monday, 22 July 2013

History is repeating in Wellington

When the Christchurch earthquake hit, the Christchurch council building—intended by the Building Code and Civil Defence plans to be built to extra strength to ensure it is available after an earthquake—to be “fit for purpose,” in other words—was instead among the buildings knocked out by the earthquake for more than four months, slowing down the recovery while everyone needing a council clipboard-holder to give them permission to move in the locked-down city needed to scout the city to find one..

It seemed the council’s building inspectorate lacked the competence to even inspect their own building properly. And the designer of the building, Ian Athfield, was rewarded for his award-winning design of the failed building with the job of Christchurch’s architectural czar.

History is repeating in Wellington.

Reports are coming in that all the Wellington City Council’s buildings including the library, the City Art Gallery and the Council offices, were expect to reopen at midday but have all remained closed indefinitely for similar reasons to those in Christchurch—once again bringing into question the competence of a council inspectorate unable to even ensure the safety and integrity of their own buildings.

Wellington Regional Council chair Fran Wilde said there was extensive flooding at her council's building and stairwells were also being checked for damage.. Ms Wilde acknowledged that it was not the best that both the city council offices and regional council offices were closed while inspections were being made.

And the award-winning designer of the Wellington council buildings? Ian Athfield.


  1. *Abysmal* stuff - well done for exposing this!

    I wonder how much Mr Athfield knows about seismic engineering?
    Nowhere near enough, so it would seem.

    The one thing that councils around the country seem to have in common is their sheer incompetence and wastefulness.

  2. Peter ... the Christchurch Council offices were knocked out for 2 weeks following the Sept 2010 event ... and near 12 months following the Feb 2011 event.

    At least $10 million was poured in to the building following the Feb 2011 event, although to the best of my knowledge there has been no public disclosure of the amount and details of the work carried out.

    In civic administration terms, it was a complete shambles ... but whats new about that.

    The penny still hasn't dropped about the unnecessary risks of centralisation. But for bureaucrats on power trips, that's of no interest whatsoever of course.

    We sure are a bureaucratically buggered country.

    Hugh Pavletich


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