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Wellington building to be 'deconstructed'

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 15/11/2016

The damaged building on Molesworth Street in Wellington central that has caused much of the area around it to be cordoned off is likely to be "deconstructed".

Wellington City Council (WCC) and teams of engineers assessed the eight-storey building early Wednesday afternoon.

"It's likely the building will need to be deconstructed," said Wellington Mayor Justin Lester. "We've had some assessment and the landlord and insurers are in agreement with the engineers' advice."

Earlier on Wednesday it had been assessed as being at significant risk of collapse because of structural failure, and the area around it was cordoned off on Tuesday afternoon.

"We may end up reducing the cordon a little bit by the end of the day, depending on what the engineers say. We have to be really cautious about how we do this, we don't want to put anybody at risk.

"At the same time, we're aware of how much of an impact this is having on the city and that area in particular," WCC's general manager of building control, Mike Scott told reporters.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Tennyson Apartments were evacuated, and the New Zealand Defence Force building was deemed uninhabitable.

Mr Lester said there was no concern about public safety with any of the buildings.

A senior structural engineer from Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) joined WCC engineers as well as independent engineers to inspect the Molesworth Street building.

Emergency services were alerted to the building at 4.43pm on Tuesday by a passer-by.

Other buildings around the area, including a church, Rugby House and the New Zealand Red Cross headquarters, were evacuated as a result.

"This isn't going to be a quick fix. This earthquake has had significant impact across the city and the region," Mr Scott said.

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