Seismic strengthening work to begin at Wellington Railway Station
14 February 2014 9:09AM
Strengthening work is about to begin on parts of Wellington Railway Station to make it more resilient in the event of a significant earthquake.
KiwiRail Chief Executive Jim Quinn says a detailed engineering assessment of the Station has confirmed initial evaluations.
“Most of the building is at 50% or more of the new building standard for public buildings. However, as we said late last year, there are issues with the atrium support system just inside the main entrance, and we are finalising plans for strengthening work.”
Preparation for this work also uncovered asbestos roofing and dust within the ceiling, which will require removal. “We will be taking every possible precaution with that,” says Mr Quinn, “and that work will be carried out by specialist contractors working well away from the public.”
“We have been in touch with all of our tenants to discuss the work plan and how we can complete the strengthening work with minimal disruption to them,” says Mr Quinn.
“Ultimately, health and safety of KiwiRail’s staff, tenants and customers is non-negotiable. This is about ensuring people’s safety and the long-term viability of a Wellington landmark that constitutes a rich piece of our history.”
This work will take place over the next twelve months, with scaffolding being erected in the atrium over the next six weeks. The work will be largely invisible as it will take place in the ceiling space.
“The building is also heritage listed, and we take its preservation and care very seriously. The atrium ceiling will be protected during the repairs and will be reinstated to its present high quality, and much admired, heritage finish.”
Renovation work will also be done on the clock that adorns the front of the station; this will be the first work on that part of the building since 1930.
The work at the Wellington Railway Station is part of KiwiRail’s Building Resilience Programme, which is examining all of its 1,441 buildings nationally.
The main structure of Wellington Railway Station is rated at between 47-53% New Building Standard (NBS) for an ‘Importance Level 3’ building. However, the atrium truss system is rated below the 34% New Building Standard (NBS) compliance level and this requires us to do some upgrade works to lift the rating of this system. By technical engineering and legal definition, until that happens, the building is considered to be earthquake prone; once the atrium is fixed, the building will no longer be earthquake prone.
The Wellington Railway Station is an ‘Importance Level 3’ building because of the high level of public access, meaning it is assessed against a higher standard than an office building. It is worth noting that if the station was only used as offices its rating would be based on ‘Importance Level 2’ and would achieve a higher rating.
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