Wellington building housing MPs' offices to be vacated for earthquake strengthening

Bowen House in Wellington CBD.
Bowen House in Wellington CBD. Photo credit: Getty

A building in Wellington CBD across from Parliament housing MPs' offices is being vacated over concerns it is not earthquake-prone. 

House Speaker Trevor Mallard announced on Thursday that BECA, the engineers who undertook a full detailed seismic assessment (DSA) of Bowen House on behalf of the landlord, do not consider it to be fully safe. 

"Our structural engineers, Holmes Consulting Engineers, are currently reviewing the findings of the DSA work with BECA to understand the results in more detail and provide further guidance," Mallard said. 

He said the building - which houses the offices of New Zealand First and Green MPs - will be vacated in a "controlled, managed way" so it can be brought up to 100 percent NBS (New Building Standard). 

"The heads of the agencies on precinct are currently working together to confirm our next steps, including a timeframe for the exit from Bowen House, and any temporary accommodation required for staff," Mallard said. 

Earthquakes in Wellington are relatively common, with Earthquake Track recording about 20 over the past year, one in the last month. 

Last month, a magnitude 4 quake struck near Porirua at a depth of 27 kilometres, with more than 14,000 people reporting they felt it, according to Geonet. 

Wellington buildings were damaged in 2016 when a magnitude 7.8 quake struck Kaikoura, sparking the closing or demolishment of several buildings.