Christchurch City Council will close South Library and the Beckenham Service Centre in Colombo Street at the end of today (Monday 23 July).
The Council will close the building after receiving the results of the second stage of a Detailed Engineering Evaluation, called a quantitative Detailed Engineering Evaluation (DEE). The DEE assessment shows the building is below 34 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS) and is therefore earthquake-prone. Elected members have agreed to close all Council-owned buildings that are below 34 percent of the NBS.
Following the closure, engineers will carry out further investigations on several parts of the building, which will help to better inform the development of permanent repair and earthquake strengthening options for the facility. The Council is also working with engineers to look at the possibility of short-term repair and strengthening options, which could allow the building to re-open sooner.
Affected Council staff are being advised of the closure today and the Council is now working to move them to other buildings. The owner of the Red Café, which is also housed in the building, is also being advised that the facility is closing.
General Manager Community Services Michael Aitken says the Council is aware the closure of the building will be a huge loss for the community and the staff who work there.
"The library and service centre has been a very popular destination for so many Christchurch people and we know the facility will be greatly missed. Once we have more information, we will have a clearer picture of the next steps that can be taken."
Since the 22 February 2011 earthquake, engineers have carried out a number of Level Two Rapid Assessments, which are a visual assessment of the inside and outside of a building.
A qualitative DEE, which is the first stage of a DEE, was also completed in April this year. It assessed the building as having a seismic capacity of more than 34 percent of the NBS and it therefore remained open. However, more intrusive investigations, which include the removal of wall claddings and ceiling linings, carried out during the quantitative DEE have found more damage to the building than was previously identified.
"The quantitative DEE allowed engineers to gain a much better appreciation of some of the structural issues the building has, which has resulted in its closure. While closing the building is a cautious approach, the Council has made a commitment to close its buildings that are assessed as below 34 percent of the NBS to ensure the ongoing safety of the public and its staff," Mr Aitken says.
The Council is carrying out DEEs of its buildings following the earthquakes as part of its Facilities Rebuild Plan project. All long term decisions about South Library and the Beckenham Service Centre will also be made as part of this project.
A copy of the engineering report for South Library and Beckenham Service Centre will be available on the Council website later today at www.ccc.govt.nz/facilitiesrebuild.
The closest open libraries are Spreydon Library, 266 Barrington Street, Upper Riccarton Community and School Library, 71 Main South Road, and the newly opened Central Library Tuam at 121 Tuam Street. The Civic Offices, 53 Hereford Street, and Riccarton Service Centre, 199 Clarence Street, are the nearest alternative service centres.