By Rosie Gordon of RNZ
More than 100 office workers have left the Meridian Building on Wellington’s waterfront due to earthquake safety concerns.
The building was designed to be 100% or above the new construction standard, but its owner, Stride Property Group, says early indications from an ongoing assessment indicate the building could be below 34% of the new construction standard.
Stride said the building, which was opened in 2007, had performed very well during previous major earthquakes, including the 2013 Seddon earthquake and the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.
But the company recently learned that the property may not be up to safety standards.
“Investigations conducted in 2021 have identified that there have been significant learnings and progress following the recent earthquakes, particularly with respect to the geotechnical (ground) conditions in Wellington. As a result of these learnings, our consultants have informed us that the property may not operate during a seismic event in the manner previously expected,” he said in a statement.
Further investigations to determine the seismic rating of the building are underway.
In the meantime, some tenants have decided to leave, including Meridian, which has sent its 180 employees home.
“Pending the final results of the assessment, as a precaution, Meridian has advised its employees to work from home while they set up alternate office space,” a spokesperson said.