There’s the bank, the car dealership and the tyre shop. The bike store, the booze store and the real estate firm.
Take a walk around the streets of Masterton, the 23,000-strong beating heart of the Wairarapa region, and you wouldn’t go far before seeing one of the near-new commercial properties, the product of a thriving rural economy and a civic centre that takes great pride in its appearance.
But take a closer look, and cracks start to appear.
A Stuff investigation has found 13 near-new buildings have structural weaknesses in Masterton, raising fears of systemic failings in the engineering industry.
The design faults, which were not picked up by council, reduced five of the buildings’ seismic strength status to “earthquake prone”.
Now the owner of two of the buildings is struggling to find anyone accountable for the costly errors.
Faulty design work was first discovered when a private Masterton developer Percy McFadzean commissioned a seismic review of a building he constructed in 2005 to be leased to ASB Bank on Masterton’s Queen St.
The initial report found serious design flaws that made the new building earthquake prone. These findings were backed up by two more detailed reviews conducted by independent structural engineering firms.
Header image Photo Credit: Wikimedia
Horowhenua Mayor Feyen’s personally funded (to the tune of $25K) independent earthquake report was released yesterday, amidst much discussion on social media and by HDC establishment that the building is still safe! So, okay, it’s just safe enough but only under certain conditions and I look forward to reading the fine print on that. To get you up to speed, this building is only TEN years old, cost $10 million and has cracks in its basement! The new norm by all accounts. This is defending the indefensible. And it was designed by a company that “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design”. Now we have an independent report stating the building is rated ‘E’ only and will only achieve a ‘C’ if the Civil Defense are moved along.
“The report, carried out by Structural Concepts, says if the civil defense headquarters stays put inside the council building, it should be considered earthquake-prone.
…there are “potential structural vulnerabilities”, including concerns about the roof. The report also states that the site on which the building stands consists of “unconsolidated to poorly consolidated mud, sand, gravel and peat”.” Stuff
The building needs remedial work to the tune of $30K. Remember this building is only 10 years old people.
“Mr Clapperton says expected costs of the remedial work, recommended by ISPS Consulting, to lengthen the life of the building have come in. The cost will be in the vicinity of $30,000 and will be covered within the existing maintenance budget.”
Remedial work? On a new building? Why are the designers and the construction company not under investigation? Why are they not being made to stump up with the remedial costs? Oh that’s right it’s the 21st Century when corporations and companies get away with all sorts incurring wee small taps on their wrists with wet bus tickets. Fines payable from their petty cash.
“A Stuff investigation has found 13 near-new buildings have structural weaknesses in Masterton, raising fears of systemic failings in the engineering industry. The design faults, which were not picked up by council, reduced five of the buildings’ seismic strength status to “earthquake prone”.
Now the owner of two of the buildings is struggling to find anyone accountable for the costly errors.
So HDC’s current stance is basically ‘it’s safe as houses, no worries’. There is more however that they’re not highlighting in the discussions or on their website (including the $68 million debt nobody wants to talk about & they won’t open the books).
Firstly, this design company has recently been under scrutiny in the Wairarapa district:
“A Masterton community-owned trust is suing the engineers responsible for designing two of its buildings that were found not to meet the seismic design standard for new buildings.
Masterton Trust Lands Trust has begun High Court action to recover the costs of remediating the buildings’ structural faults.
The company that undertook the structural design of the buildings, Kevin O’Connor & Associates, as well as consenting authority Masterton District Council, and Spencer Holmes Ltd, which was engaged by the council, are all subject to the claim…
Trust general manager Andrew Croskery said costs of remediation work for 61 and 73 Dixon St were significant enough to warrant court action.
“More work is needed to understand the full extent of these costs. If we decide to include the cost of remediating additional buildings in this claim, these costs could run into millions of dollars.”
“Council has sought advice from its liability insurers in the first instance. As a result of the court proceedings we are not at liberty to respond more fully other than to say that Lands Trust Masterton have kept us fully informed of their position throughout this process to date.”
“We will not be able to comment further until this matter is resolved.”
The trust is considering its options in relation to a further nine of its buildings, all of which were structurally designed by Kevin O’Connor & Associates.
Of these, four buildings have been assessed as not meeting the New Building Standard.
The remaining five buildings are undergoing detailed reviews by independent engineers after initial assessments identified potential structural design issues.
Overall the 11 buildings, built between 2003 and 2016, make up about 20 per cent of the value of the trust’s total property assets, owned on behalf of the Masterton community.
There’s that word again … ‘remediation’! Read the whole article HERE.
The faulty design work was first discovered in Masterton when private developer Percy McFadzean commissioned a seismic review of a building he constructed in 2005 to be leased to ASB Bank.
The initial report found serious design flaws that made the new building earthquake prone — findings that were backed up by two more detailed reviews conducted by independent structural engineering firms. SOURCE
Secondly, there are similar rumblings in Palmerston North.
“Investigations into the safety of building plans are underway after weaknesses were found in Masterton buildings designed by a Palmerston North firm. The Palmerston North City Council will ask independent experts to review a sample of engineering plans for city buildings by Kevin O’Connor and Associates.”
Read the article HERE.
So while HDC appear to remain staunch supporters of the said company/ies and continue to maintain the building is safe (they’re filling up the cracks with epoxy resin folks) and a certain disgruntled section of the public are still trying hard to be rid of this Mayor who is a fly in their proverbial ointment … please do consider the obvious here. Would you really employ a company to design anything of yours with so many strikes against its name? Seriously?
So to recap, the $10 million HDC building was built to also accommodate Civil Defense emergencies, but hey, no worries we’ll just relocate them somewhere else! Christchurch ran their emergency earthquake operation out of the library, so what’s the problem? And speaking of Christchurch, remember the CTV building?
“The “six-story office building that collapsed and killed 115 people in New Zealand’s devastating earthquake … was poorly designed by an inexperienced engineer, inadequately constructed and should never have been issued a building permit, a government report has found.”
The report found several deficiencies in the CTV building’s engineering design and said the city council should never have issued the building a permit because the design did not comply with the standards at the time. The commission also concluded that there were problems with the building’s construction.”
“…the building had been issued a “green sticker” following a magnitude-7.0 earthquake in September 2010, signalling authorities had given it the thumbs-up for people to continue using it.
An investigation by The Associated Press last year found that inspection checks routinely used across the world to verify the safety of buildings following earthquakes fail to account for how well those buildings will withstand future quakes. The AP found that building occupants and public officials in Christchurch did not understand that a “green sticker” doesn’t mean the building has undergone a thorough analysis of its structural health, nor that it would stay intact during future quakes.”
Read the article HERE.
You could be forgiven for thinking our building industry and the standards it abides by is being run by cowboys. Seriously. Have they really learned anything here? This company “specialises in earthquake engineering and seismic design” amongst other things. Time for a serious overhaul and back to basics surely?
Watch this space and keep an eye on HDC’s FB page and this ongoing discussion. There are questions being asked there about the previous reports that need to be answered.
For more information on happenings in the Horowhenua district check out our Local Govt Watch pages at the main menu and search ‘categories’ as well.
It’s been an eventful week nobody could argue, and an equally as eventful time since the very large quake that rattled NZ last month on November 14th. What to make of it all?
Then last weekend we had Gerry Brownlee advising us to be prepared for a major quake and yesterday along with the PM’s shock announcement, the equally esteemed economist Shamubeel Eaqub (the one of ‘zombie towns have to die’ Agenda 21 renown) is hinting that the housing bubble could be set to burst. They were talking about this back in June. So what’s really going on here? In my humble opinion it all has a very suspicious smell to it.
On the quake topic, a trusted friend recently told me
“…a mate of mine’s husband is a first responder, he was called by his team leader 2 days before Gerry Brownlee got this out in the media, and told to triple his first aid kits and to prepare his family’s emergency kit…”
There is a man who gave folks a heads up on the last quake (Nigel Gray, an unassuming painter and decorator from the Hawke’s Bay who has been documenting geoengineering and weather modification) drawing world wide attention to Kiwiland. He has indicated we should be on the alert next week either side of 13.12.2016.
Note mainstream originally debunked him … until he drew global attention, then they did an about turn. Typically of media, and not surprising in that he has drawn attention to geoengineering, something our government admits is a scientific practice, but deny is happening here.
So basically I’m not taking any chances, as neither we should in light of Brownlee’s warning even. We need to be prepared in any event so stay safe people and get your emergency back up plan ready. Just in case.
Earthquake Prediction Goes Viral: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/the-country/news/article.cfm?c_id=16&objectid=11756897
Supermoon: Man’s Earthquake Prediction Debunked: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11747602
‘Be Prepared for a Major Earthquake’: Gerry Brownlee Warns Kiwis: https://nz.news.yahoo.com/a/33380885/be-prepared-for-a-major-earthquake-gerry-brownlee-warns-kiwis-as-slow-slips-between-tectonic-plates-detected/?cmp=st#page1
NZ Has Zombie Towns That Need to Close: https://www.nbr.co.nz/article/nz-has-zombie-towns-need-close-—-economist-ns-159124
Nation of Debt: Ready, Set, Crash – Could NZ be the Next to Fall?: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/personal-finance/news/article.cfm?c_id=12&objectid=11653661
Blowing Bubbles: Bubbles are Normal and Rational and then they Pop – Shamubeel Eaqub: http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/opinion-analysis/87130093/shamubeel-eaqub-bubbles-are-normal-and-rational-and-then-they-pop
The Military’s Pandora’s Box
by Dr. Nick Begich and Jeane Manning
This article was prepared to provide a summary of the contents of a book written in 1995 which describes an entirely new class of weapons. The weapons and their effects are described in the following pages. The United States Navy and Air Force have joined with the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, to build a prototype for a ground based “Star Wars” weapon system located in the remote bush country of Alaska.
The individuals who are demanding answers about HAARP are scattered around the planet. As well as bush dwellers in Alaska, they include: a physician in Finland; a scientist in Holland; an anti-nuclear protester in Australia; independent physicists in the United States; a grandmother in Canada, and countless others.
Unlike the protests of the 1960s the objections to HAARP have been registered using the tools of the 1990s. From the Internet, fax machines, syndicated talk radio and a number of alternative print mediums the word is getting out and people are waking up to this new intrusion by an over zealous United States government.
The research team put together to gather the materials which eventually found their way into the book never held a formal meeting, never formed a formal organization. Each person acted like a node on a planetary info-spirit-net with one goal held by all — to keep this controversial new science in the public eye. The result of the team’s effort was a book which describes the science and the political ramifications of this technology.
That book, Angels Don’t Play this HAARP: Advances in Tesla Technology, has 230 pages. This article will only give the highlights. Despite the amount of research (350 footnoted sources), at its heart it is a story about ordinary people who took on an extraordinary challenge in bringing their research forward.
HAARP Boils the Upper Atmosphere
HAARP will zap the upper atmosphere with a focused and steerable electromagnetic beam. It is an advanced model of an “ionospheric heater.” (The ionosphere is the electrically-charged sphere surrounding Earth’s upper atmosphere. It ranges between 40 to 60 miles above the surface of the Earth.)
Hear Dr Begich’s Lecture:
Here also is a short 10 minute video on what HAARP does
“It’s no secret that exposure to high levels of radiation increases the risk for cancer. Nevertheless, showing that radiation exposure causes cancer is notoriously difficult. For the first time, the Japanese government has acknowledged that a worker at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant developed cancer from radiation exposure.”
“The man is in his 40s and is suffering from leukemia. He didn’t work full time at Fukushima the weeks following the disaster in March 2011, when radiation levels were at their highest. However, he did install covers on damaged reactors at the power plant from October 2012 to December 2013, and was exposed to a total of 19.8 millisieverts of radiation during that time … he was exposed to nearly four times the annual dose allowed for nuclear workers in Japan, which is less than half the amount US nuclear workers are exposed to each year.(1)”
“The man will receive compensation for medical expenses and paid time off for lost income, said government officials.(2)”
“It’s not just workers at Fukushima who are at risk for radiation related illnesses. According to a recent study, thyroid cancer rates are 20 to 50 times higher among children who live inside the Fukushima Prefecture than those who don’t. This number is 25 percent higher than thyroid cancer rates reported last year.(3)”
(Note: the references cited (1-3) are contained in the original article)
“As the number of fracking-related earthquakes increase with alarming frequency and intensity across the Central U.S., more and more people in the area might be wondering something they haven’t had to before: “What do I do during an earthquake?”
Reuters reports that government agencies are preparing residents in the Central U.S. on how to stay safe in case of a damaging earthquake. Tomorrow, Oct. 15., the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other organizations are coordinating the “Great ShakeOut,” a nationwide earthquake drill.
A large number of residents from the Central U.S. will be participating in their first-ever national earthquake drill. According to Reuters, “About 3 million people are signed up to participate across 14 central states that include Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Illinois and for the first time, Texas, up from 2.76 million a year ago, organizers said. Nationwide, nearly 19 million people are registered for the drills, FEMA said.”
Further Links from ecowatch: