Wellington Railway Station stoush - division over earthquake-prone status

KiwiRail decided to take matters into its own hands in a stoush with Wellington City Council over the seismic status of the capital's central railway station.

The council insists the building is earthquake prone and remains at just 20 per cent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

But KiwiRail has challenged that in the course of the dispute and, based on advice from independent engineers, went as far as to take Earthquake-Prone Building [EPB] signs down at the station.

The building was deemed earthquake prone in March 2014, according to Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment records.

Work was undertaken to strengthen the building in the early 2000s, with further work in 2015 after the 2013 Seddon earthquake. Additional work was also undertaken following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake.

Since then there has been toing and froing about the status of the building, council chief resilience officer Mike Mendonça said.

"It's a large, complex building and while that work reduced the vulnerabilities of some parts of the building there are about five aspects of the building where we require more work to be done," he said.

The council maintains KiwiRail has never provided evidence the building is no longer earthquake prone.

"I need to be clear, the building is and always has been earthquake prone," Mendonça said.

But KiwiRail Capital Projects & Asset Development Chief Operating Officer David Gordon said on completion of the strengthening work they received advice from independent engineers the building was not earthquake prone.

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