Firms move out of Wellington high-rise due to quake damage

7:07 am on 30 May 2017

Three companies have moved out of a Wellington high-rise where the steel reinforcing bar stretched in the Kaikōura earthquake.

Toomath Building on Ghuznee Street in Wellington has had a red sticker for many years. 'Do not approach' sticker on the exterior of the building.

Checks earlier this month found that rapid checks on Wellington buildings after the Kaikōura earthquake missed serious hidden damage in 11 of them. Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

This comes after the owner of the 15-storey building on 36 Customhouse Quay gave all the tenants an engineer's report on Friday and met with them today.

The owner Cornerstone Partners is now seeking more engineering advice about how to repair the building and get it to 100 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

It was one of 72 buildings the Wellington City Council ordered to have invasive inspections because they resembled the partially collapsed Statistics House.

"There was cracking to the building that required further investigation by our engineers Holmes Solutions," said Andrew Cotterrell, Cornerstone's chief executive.

"The results of these investigations indicate that steel reinforcing bars within the building structure have stretched."

Steel rebar that is inside concrete, and gives it all its tensile strength, can stretch to a point where it is permanently deformed.

Colliers International has moved its 70 staff out until it gets more information.

Craigs Investment Partners, which has its name on the building, has moved its 25 staff out, probably permanently.

Cornerstone had been undertaking multi million dollar earthquake strengthening for several years, aiming to hit 100 percent NBS, when the quake hit last November.

"Cornerstone's main priority is the safety of its tenants and resolving the status of the building as soon as possible," said Mr Cotterrell.

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