DHBs stay mum on quake audits post

August 1, 2017

District Health Boards (DHBs) in high quake-risk zones are not saying if they will audit their buildings to make sure they are up to scratch.

A structural engineer says such audits would be prudent at Wellington's hospitals in particular.

Wellington faces much higher seismic risks than Auckland, where a quick check has found 40 percent of the main city hospital's critical non-structural assets are poorly restrained.

Restraints and braces not only keep pipes, cables, ceiling tiles and heavy aircon units from falling on patients and staff, but also ensure they do not smash into each other.

The experience in California and Chile, where the 2010 quake caused non-structural failures at two thirds of its 130 hospitals, shows the stakes are high.

Neither Wellington's Capital and Coast DHB nor Canterbury DHB has provided an assurance their buildings are up to standard.

Non-structural restraints specialist Terry Johnson has taken a cursory look at Wellington's main hospital block, built in 2008 in Newtown.

"It's a reasonable attempt but it's not compliant," he said.

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