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Last reviewed: Mon, 21 Oct 2013

FAQs Council Facilities Rebuild Plan

Frequently asked questions regarding the Council Facilities Rebuild Plan.

How long will it take for decisions to be made and work to be done?

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 and the assessment and insurance process. Decisions for one site must take place within the context of all 1600 Council-owned facilities across the city and in Banks Peninsula.

Due to the large number of buildings owned by the Council and the limited number of engineers, quantity surveyors and other staff available, it took until mid 2014 alone to complete full engineering assessments on all facilities.

All major decisions about a facility are made by elected members. They will be presented with a full report, which includes recommendations from Council staff, about a building.

Due to the size of the project, decision making, investigations, repair work and rebuilds is occurring in stages. Repairs and rebuilding will occur to some facilities as investigations into other buildings and decision-making about them continues.

Some repair work to facilities has already been completed, allowing them to re-open to the public. Some temporary facilities have also opened until more permanent solutions are in place.

In September 2014, the Council set aside more than $40 million to fast-track the repair and rebuild of ‘priority’ heritage and community facilities across the city and Banks Peninsula. The focus is on repairing earthquake-damaged buildings that are closed to the public and rebuilding demolished facilities.

The funding has come from the Council’s Facilities and Infrastructure Improvement New Borrowing Allowance ahead of insurance discussions being finalised on the facilities. The proceeds of any insurance claim will be returned to the allowance.

Work is now underway on many of these facilities. It is expected that much of the repair work will be completed within the next year and it is likely to take up to two years for all the new priority facilities to be rebuilt. See the list of the priority facilities. See media release.

For updates on the repair and rebuild of Council facilities visit Future Christchurch.

Are the Council buildings that are currently open safe?

All Council-owned buildings have undergone Detailed Engineering Evaluations. All Council buildings that are open have been assessed as suitable to be occupied. Council facilities were prioritised for DEE assessments according to a risk-based profiling approach endorsed by the Engineering Advisory Group Committee. Factors that are were into account include:

  • Recommendations made as part of a Level Two Rapid Assessment.
  • The age of a building.
  • The material with which it is constructed.
  • The number of people using the building.
  • The type and duration of building use.
  • Ground conditions.
  • Whether it is likely to be an earthquake-prone building.

On 27 February 2014, the Council agreed to revise its threshold for closing non-residential buildings that have undergone a DEE assessment, which led to some Council facilities re-opening.

The Council revised its previous policy of closing all non-residential buildings with a seismic capacity of less than 34 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS) following a DEE assessment. The policy was introduced in December 2011 following the Canterbury earthquakes.

Under the policy introduced in February 2014:

  • All buildings that do not have significant damage and do not have a brittle collapse mechanism (defined as a part of a building which, on failure, could lead to a collapse) can be occupied without restriction.
  • Buildings with significant damage that have a seismic capacity under 34 per cent of the NBS should not be occupied. (Significant damage is structural damage or damage to the ‘load bearing elements’ of a building such as beams or columns).
  • A specialist engineering panel will be set up to provide recommendations on the occupancy of Council buildings that have a seismic capacity below 34 per cent of the NBS and have a brittle collapse mechanism (defined as a part of a building which, on failure, could lead to a collapse). Buildings that fit into this category but are deemed fit to occupy by the engineering panel will also remain open.

What will happen to the buildings that are part of this Facilities Rebuild Plan?

There are a number of possible scenarios: a building is repaired to the same level; a building is repaired to a higher standard; a building is demolished and replaced with the same type of facility; a building is demolished and replaced with a different facility or a building is demolished and not replaced.

Will I have a say in what happens to a facility?

A lot of public consultation has already occurred as part of key Council strategies around its facilities and the services provided there. We are committed to keeping the public informed about decisions made about a facility. Some public consultation is being carried out to where community facilities have been demolished and where there is need for them to be rebuilt. This includes consultation over whether the facility should be rebuilt on the same site and the type of facility that is needed to meet residents’ needs.

Does the Council have enough insurance to cover all its buildings?

Council insurance will cover earthquake damage but it will not cover any betterment or improvements such as strengthening a building. Before the earthquakes, the Council’s assets were insured for close to $1.9 billion on a full re-instatement basis per asset.

This was based on advice from professional valuers. The gap between insurance and rebuild costs is the extra cost required to strengthen our buildings and to introduce improvements. Unlike open-ended replacement household insurance, our facilities were covered to a set value based on repairs to 33 per cent of New Building Standard.

What steps must occur before a Council building is repaired?

To make sure the right decisions are being made, the Council needs to follow a rigorous process and this takes some time to complete.

All Council buildings underwent a Level Two Rapid Assessment – a visual assessment of the inside and outside of a building – or an equivalent assessment after the earthquakes.

All buildings have also undergone a Detailed Engineering Evaluation or DEE. The DEE provides a more detailed picture of the building’s structure, earthquake damage and assesses its ability to withstand future aftershocks. This is expressed as a percentage of the New Building Standard (NBS). The Council reassessed if a building could remain open/closed in line with its occupancy criteria based on the results of the DEE assessment.

A full damage assessment comes after the DEE is completed. This details the damage to the building and what steps need to be taken to repair it. This information is used in discussions with the Council’s insurers to come to an agreed position about a building. At this point it may become apparent that a building is damaged beyond economic repair.

Next the Council progresses to a conceptual repair strategy which includes options for repair and strengthening the building if required. The options for repair are costed.

Following Council approval, a detailed repair and strengthening plan is developed by a builder.

At this stage, if a consent is required, the Council lodges one and, once issued, the repair works can begin.

Click here for a visual flow-chart of this repair process.


Authorising Unit: Capital Programme

Last reviewed: Monday, 21 October 2013

Next review: Monday, 21 April 2014

Keywords: council facility, facility