Professor Ken Ellwood. Photo: Jonny Knopp
Chief Executive Kevin Lavery said he’s extremely happy to
have Professor Elwood on the project as an independent specialist. “His
considerable expertise will be invaluable in helping the Council continue to
gather and consider the wide variety of industry perspectives on the Library’s
“The challenges are complex and we need to fully understand
these so that we can find the right solution for the future of this prominent
Professor Elwood also serves as the Research Director of
QuakeCoRE: NZ Centre for Earthquake Resilience and is actively involved in
research related to the seismic response of existing concrete and masonry
He spent 11 years on the faculty at the University of
British Columbia, Canada, and is also a member of several national and
international code committees including the seismic provisions of the American
Concrete Institute Building Code (ACI 318) and the Board of Directors of the
International Association for Earthquake Engineering (IAEE). He is currently
working on the BRANZ/EQC/ConcreteNZ-funded project to develop and validate
retrofit solutions for precast floors.
The Council made its decision to close the Central Library
on 19 March to protect the safety of customers and staff following the findings
of an engineering report it commissioned from Aurecon Engineering. The report
was reviewed and the findings confirmed by WSP OPUS in May this year. The
report found the building had structural vulnerabilities which meant it may not
perform well in the event of a significant earthquake.
Professor Elwood will be working to plan the stages of an inclusive
process where industry experts can join with the Council to explore the
findings of the report and help identify the ideas and themes presented. The
group will be encouraged to give their views in relation to finding potential
remedial engineering and construction solutions.
The Council and Professor Elwood will then be able to scope
the potential remedial options for the Library including indicative costs.
There will most likely be a further peer review of this advice which will
ultimately inform a report back to the Council. Mr Lavery said the process must
be rigorous and thorough, and is expected to take two to three months.
Library services remain open for business in the central
city. Since opening on 28 May, Arapaki Manners Library and Service Centre has
seen more than 33,000 visitors who have recorded a 92 percent satisfaction
rate. The Council is finalising leases on the two remaining CBD sites and is on
track to have them opening later this year.