Large person’s fall could collapse NZ block of flats

Some flat dwellers have been living dangerously in Wellington. Testimony to that is that tenants poured out of a block of flats after Housing New Zealand said its façade was so weak that “a large person falling in the wrong place could have caused masonry to fall off the building.”

The exodus was sparked the week after 131 residents were given just seven days to leave the Gordon Wilson Flats. The letter said the facade had deteriorated seriously since concerns were first raised about problems in 2010.

“In the worst case it is even feasible that a large person falling heavily at a critical location would provide a sufficient force to dislodge elements [and force a collapse],” the letter from engineering consultants warned.

The letter followed a site inspection which said that in addition to this ongoing problem of … pieces of concrete falling from the building, recent inspections have exposed an even more serious problems.”

In particular, concrete had cracked and fallen away around pins holding supporting columns in place, so that some columns and precast panels could fall away with only a little force.

– Murray Burt

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