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Containers Installed as Public Safety Measure

News: 30 March 2016

Containers are to be placed near a building on New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) land in Wellington to help keep the public safe in the event of a significant earthquake.

View of the containers alongside the historic NZDF building.

The General Officer in Command Headquarters (GOCH) on the corner of Taranaki and Buckle Streets has been assessed by engineers and is only 9 percent of national building standards. The building is vacant but given its location on a busy thoroughfare, the NZDF is placing containers on the footpaths nearby to shelter the public from falling masonry in a significant earthquake.

NZDF is taking this step after carrying out work to assess the earthquake risk of buildings throughout the Defence estate and undertake remedial work to minimise the risks to personnel and the public.

Another old building, the HMNZS Olphert, is also at less than 10 percent of national building standards but its location at the back of the site makes it less of a risk to the public.

NZDF planners applied to Wellington City Council for permission to install the containers, which will be put in place overnight from 30-31 March.

The GOCH, constructed between 1911 and 1913, was originally used as the Defence Stores Office. In 1930, it was extensively converted with the creation of office spaces to become the GOCH. The building was used by the NZDF and other government departments from that time but has been vacant for more than 22 years.

No decisions have been made about the site in the long-term.

Any future plans for the building will be in keeping with the Pukeahu Park precinct, and will retain as much as possible of the GOCH building’s heritage values in acknowledgement of the NZDF’s historic association with this site.

Updated on 11th April 2016