Napier City Council delays decision to demolish empty civic, library buildings

Napier City Council has delayed their decision to demolish their empty Civic and Library buildings due to the resurfacing of an old seismic report into the safety of the building.

In 2017, an engineers' report from Strata group found the council's civic and library buildings to be 10 and 15 per cent of the legal building standard to resist earthquakes.

This forced the council to vacate and relocate to three separate sites around the city.

However, former top EQC structural engineer Graeme Robinson told councillors this morning that his own assessment of the building in 2010 found it fully complied with earthquake standards.

Mr Robinson made the point that had the building standards been that low, they would have suffered serious damage and could have collapsed in major earthquakes which have occurred since it was first built.

He said, had his calculations reached the consensus of the Strata group report, the building should have been fenced off to the public.

His main issue with the Strata report was that it did not explain the level of "earthquake horizontal force" applied in its calculations, which determines how much force would cause the building to collapse.

Council staff told councillors the recommendation to demolish the civic building was about the building not being fit for purpose.

The council is currently in negotiations with a hotel developer to sell or lease the site for future development.

They say the site would be more appealing to a buyer if the building is demolished, which is estimated to cost $1.1 million.

In light of the new information, the council voted to delay their decision to the next council meeting in two weeks' time.