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Council considers options for upgrade of Brougham House and Victoria Square facilities

26 Feb 2024

The building which houses Buller District Council’s main offices, Brougham House, and the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) in Victoria Square have been assessed to determine their suitability for occupancy both in the short term and into the future.

Assessments to identify actions required to ensure the facilities meet required standards and cater to council’s future needs began in 2021 and were paused due to the flooding events of July 2021 and February 2022.

Factors examined included building performance in an earthquake, fire safety design and accessibility considerations, heating and cooling requirements and the ability to meet current and future staffing needs.

The review identified Brougham House as seismically 'at-risk', with specific structural weaknesses that could be problematic in a strong earthquake. Brougham House remains safe to occupy in the meantime, with necessary mitigations and clear evacuation procedures in place.

There are also issues with fire safety, capacity to accommodate staff, and the need to replace the outdated heating system. With winter approaching, the most pressing issue at Brougham House is the installation of a HVAC system to replace the end-of-life coal boiler.

Brougham House remains safe to occupy in the meantime, with necessary mitigations and clear evacuation procedures in place. Council is actively working towards solutions to ensure the buildings remain conducive to council’s work now and in the future.

Similar seismic concerns were raised regarding the Emergency Operations Centre in Victoria Square, plus a number of requirements which still need to be met, including provision of a fire alarm, emergency lighting and backup water supply, all necessary to meet the requirements for an EOC.

Neither building currently meets the obligations under the building code to function as an emergency operations centre (EOC) or a welfare centre after an earthquake or other disastrous event - such buildings must meet Importance Level 4 (IL4) regulations.

Due to the significance of these issues in regard to in safety, compliance, building function, and post-disaster functionality, they will be reported to council at the end of February.

Recommendations are that seismic strengthening be included in future long-term seismic upgrade programmes at an appropriate time.

Council had initially set aside $2.3 million from the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan (LTP) for the required assessments and subsequent upgrades.

Given the sizeable scope of the project and unforeseen price adjustments, council will continue to operate its main activities from Brougham House as a short-term solution and give strategic consideration to where any potential new building could be located.


For further information please contact:
Chief Executive Officer
Steve Gibling