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Stats House damage to be investigated

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 17/11/2016

A full technical investigation of Statistics House at CentrePort will be undertaken as the government looks to improve building regulations in the wake of Monday's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith says this week's quakes have "tested the seismic strength" of many multi-storey buildings in Wellington.

"Overall I am very satisfied with the way our major buildings in Wellington have performed," he said.

"This investigation will focus on Statistics House to understand its performance and where there may be wider lessons for improved design."

Dr Smith inspected the building on Wednesday.

He says sections of it failed and part of the library floor in one corner of the building collapsed.

MBIE will carry out the investigation into the 11-year-old waterfront building.

"Seismic engineering is complex and people shouldn't draw conclusions from the way specific buildings were damaged," Dr Smith said.

"The earthquake was particularly strong for buildings that are in the five to 10-storey range.

"The Stats building is on reclaimed land, and softer land tends to amplify shaking."

Dr Smith says Monday's quake was very unusual because major shaking lasted for 90 seconds.

In comparison, the deadly Christchurch quake shook for 12 seconds.

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