4 Jul 2012

Timaru Hospital building deemed at risk of collapse in quake

12:13 pm on 4 July 2012

Staff are preparing to vacate a six-storey building at Timaru Hospital after a report revealed it was at risk of a catastrophic collapse in a severe earthquake.

The Gardens Block is one of a number of buildings the South Canterbury District Health Board is assessing for seismic risk in the event of an earthquake.

It houses about 80 staff, including senior doctor offices and clinical administration and was built in two stages in 1949 and 1961.

South Canterbury DHB chief executive Chris Fleming says the board on Thursday received a report into the siesmic stability of the building which revealed half the building is at risk of catastrophic collapse.

He says it is the first time any engineer has given such an alarming analysis of the building.

Mr Fleming says the north end of the block will be vacated by the end of the week and the south end in about a month's time.