Baywave TECT Aquatic & Leisure Centre will close immediately for seismic upgrades.
A preliminary draft of a BECA report has assessed the centre as being a Grade D earthquake-prone building.
A Grade D building represents risk 10-25 times greater than a new building under the latest earthquake-strengthening guidelines.
The report indicates that the building has “significant deficiencies” and recommends that seismic remediation work be undertaken with “high priority”.
The report is yet to undergo internal BECA verification and peer review. However, Bay Venues management has chosen to act immediately rather than wait for the final version.
It is anticipated these immediate remedial works will take about nine days, with the facility to reopen in time for the National Underwater Hockey Secondary School Championships and the swimming and waterpolo events of the AIMS Games.
“We regret any disruption to our patrons, but safety is our number-one priority and for that reason we will close the building immediately,” says Bay Venues chief executive Gary Dawson.
“We will keep our staff and the public informed as we work to set this right.”
Gary says the draft report was sent through Friday evening and upon receiving it first thing Monday morning he immediately called an urgent Bay Venues Board meeting.
A meeting with Tauranga City Council Mayor Greg Brownless and CEO Garry Poole and two BECA senior consultants followed, resulting in a recommendation that the facility be closed.
BECA undertook assessments that included the following:
• Visual checks inside and out
• Reviewing all planning and engineering documentation along with modelling of the building
• Core samples taken from 10 concrete areas
• Checks of the hydro slide structure and adjoining area
They found that several parts of the building had “significant deficiencies” and Bay Venues will be undertaking immediate remediation works to repair these deficiencies.
The engineers' recommendations included the following:
• That the building's bracing system be strengthened (which is the immediate remedial work Bay Venues will be undertaking)
• That further checks be undertaken on the cladding, window support systems and pre-cast concrete stairs
• That the possibility of liquefaction be investigated
Gary says this remedial work will improve the integrity of the building and move it from Grade D to Grade C – a risk 5-10 times greater than a new building. Achieving Grade C means the facility is at an acceptable standard to open.
Bay Venues will work closely with its other venues to minimise disruption caused to all patrons, including the fitness centre, learn to swim, childcare centre and swimming squads.
Staff are also being communicated with and will either be re-deployed to other Bay Venues employment where possible or will be on leave with pay.
Bay Venues will release further information as it emerges.