Published Friday 17 Jun 2022

On Wednesday 22 June the Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHB Boards will consider the final draft detailed seismic assessment of the Heretaunga building, which updates the previous engineering advice on how the building would perform in a significant earthquake.

The original draft DSA, issued on 8 March, rated five structural and non-structural elements at 15 percent of the NBS at IL3. Under the Building Code a building’s significance is defined by its importance level (IL), which relates to the consequences of the structure failing in an earthquake. An IL3 building may contain crowds, have contents of high value to the community or pose a risk to large numbers of people in close proximity, such as conference centres, stadiums and airport terminals.

Due to the importance of the Heretaunga building, we engaged another external engineering company to carry out a peer review of the original DSA.

This peer review process is now complete and, as a result, the precast concrete façade panels are now the only part of the building rated at 15 percent NBS at IL3 in the final draft DSA.

The result does not change the overall status of the building. With one element still at 15 percent NBS, the building would still be considered earthquake-prone (subject to determination by Hutt City Council). The other elements are considered earthquake risk. We are therefore recommending that the Board confirms our earlier decision to relocate services out of the building as soon as reasonably practicable.

The timeframes will be based on the steps we need to take going forward, which will be outlined in the health and safety risk assessment and further engineering advice. These additional steps may allow for longer timeframes than initially indicated. Our focus remains on maintaining the ongoing health and safety of staff, patients, and visitors.

We have updated our emergency evacuation procedures and plans in the event that people need to leave the building in the event of any emergency.

The precast concrete façade panels are on the building’s exterior and we are awaiting more engineering advice on further mitigation or remediation. As a first mitigation step, we currently have a barrier fence around the building.

We have explored a wide range of options to shift services, including testing capacity in the community and our other providers. We will continue working with our partners, however we are likely to need to plan for temporary and longer-term options given the ongoing capacity constraints and demand across the sector.

Internally we are updating our Heretaunga project team structure to reflect the work and resources required. The clinical task force set up to provide expert advice to the project met last week. We also continue to engage with key stakeholders including interim Health New Zealand, the Ministry of Health, and the Hutt City Council in planning our next steps. 

Board papers and meetings

The Board papers, including the draft final detailed seismic assessment and peer review report, will be available on our website by Monday 20 June:

People are welcome to watch the Board meeting online which will run from 9am – 4pm, Wednesday 22 June 2022, by dialing into and then entering pin number 835 0269 8434.

Hutt Valley and Capital & Coast DHBs do not have anything further to add to this statement as it would not be appropriate to comment publicly ahead of the Board meeting on Wednesday 22 June.

Media contact: Communications Unit – or