Overview on status of buildings and structures in Civic Precinct

2 August 2018

Wellington City Council has collated and published information that provides an overview on earthquake assessments and the condition of buildings in the Civic Precinct.

Wellington's Civic Square, showing the Town Hall and the Council's Building.

With strengthening of the Town Hall getting underway later this year, the Council is starting to consider the wider development of the Civic Precinct as a centre of cultural activity. Councillors provided support for this work to continue at a Councillors’ workshop in May 2018.

The Civic Precinct takes in the Michael Fowler Centre, the Town Hall, Municipal Office Building, Civic Administration Building, Central Library, City Gallery, the former Capital E building, the City to Sea Bridge, Civic Square and Jack Ilott Green.

The assessments of buildings in the Civic Precinct are part of a city-wide programme to make Wellington safer in the event of earthquakes. In particular, the Council has worked proactively over several years to look at its own buildings and make them more resilient.

The Council has released a presentation about the Civic Precinct that was shown to Councillors in May 2018:

Civic Precinct: Agreeing a new strategic direction (1.3MB PDF)

See below a summary of this presentation.

Central Library

The Central Library building will be strengthened. It is 60 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS).

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is currently reviewing the methodology used to assess buildings that include pre-cast concrete flooring panels in their construction. The library has pre-cast concrete flooring panels. As a result, any planned additional work on the library is pending the outcome of that work. This is to ensure we have all of the relevant information before we start work. 

The MBIE review is still underway, and is expected to conclude later in 2018.

Michael Fowler Centre

The Michael Fowler Centre (MFC) has been strengthened in specific areas and may require some further work. The building is 50-60 percent of the NBS overall.

The former Capital E building and City to Sea Bridge

The former Capital E building was closed and ‘yellow stickered’ some years ago after being declared earthquake prone. The Council commissioned an engineer’s report on the building and the City to Sea Bridge to determine if any other actions were needed from a public safety perspective.

While we’re still waiting for a final full report, the engineers have confirmed the risk to people traversing the Capital E roof toward the City to Sea Bridge in the event of a moderate earthquake is ‘very low’ and no immediate action is required. 

The City to Sea Bridge is not earthquake prone, at 40 percent of NBS.

Michael Fowler Centre car park

The Michael Fowler Centre car park is closed to the public while it is used to accommodate a rehearsal space for the Royal New Zealand Ballet. 

Town Hall

The Town Hall is scheduled for major strengthening and refurbishment starting in late 2018. Work is underway on reinforcing the brickwork on the exterior of the building.

City Gallery

The City Gallery building, which is owned by the Council, is at 67 percent of the New Building Standard and the entry upgrade has been completed.

Civic Administration Building

Formerly accommodation for Council staff, the Civic Administration Building (CAB) was closed after the 2016 earthquake. The Council is negotiating with insurers over the insurance claim on CAB.

Municipal Office Building

The Municipal Office Building (MOB), which accommodates Council staff and elected members, will be affected by the proximity of the Town Hall strengthening work when that gets underway later this year. The Council announced last year it will move temporarily to a building on the Terrace. The MOB is 40 percent NBS.

Council car park (underneath Central Library)

The car park, which is for public and Council use, needs work to address issues including saltwater leaks as a result of the high water table.

Public spaces in the Civic Precinct

Civic Square

The opportunity is to develop Civic Square into a more active public space. There is a need to address the earthquake risk to Civic Square around settlement and spread towards the Whairepo Lagoon. Consideration will be given to the necessary improvements to the seawall along this part of the Quays.

Jack Ilott Green

The Council recently agreed that designating Jack Ilott Green as a reserve be investigated as part of the wider Civic Precinct assessments.