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Hamilton City Council confident of safety of stand at Waikato Stadium

Hamilton City Council confident of safety of stand at Waikato Stadium
August 28, 2019

Hamilton City Council has advised that it is confident that the WEL Networks Stand at the FMG Waikato Stadium, which is likely to require seismic strengthening, is still safe for fans to use.

The grandstand, which can hold 3000 people, is expected to come in below New Zealand’s New Build Standard after a comprehensive review which is likely to be completed by the end of September.

In the wake of the Christchurch earthquakes and the Government requirement to seismically assess all its building, the Council’s assessment of the WEL Networks Stand has been described as “just one of many” assessments.

The Council has advised that the report from engineers will most likely deem it earthquake prone and will mean some strengthening work on the venue's eastern stand will be required.

As reported by Radio New Zealand, a score of less than 34% of the New Build Standard is considered earthquake prone.

Council General Manager for Venues, Major Events and Tourism, Sean Murray, said if the stand comes in less than 34% then the Council is required to fix it and it will have 12 years to do so.

Advising that if the percentage score is really bad decisions will need to be made and that may mean closing the stand, Murray stated “we would (then have to) make decisions on whether or not we continue to use the building.

"This is a building that is used very, very rarely, it is used for a matter of hours every year being a rugby stadium, so the utilisation of it is incredibly low, so it's not like an office block that is open 24/7 for example."

Murray said spectators using the stand can be assured that it is absolutely safe, noting that the initial report, which was a desk-top study, does not say the stand is not safe and like any other building it will continued to be used until the detailed seismic assessment is done.

He added “it's a matter of putting bit of a perspective on it and we just have to wait and see the degree of the assessment when it comes in and where it sits on the percentage scale.

"The assurance can be no greater than any one in any building, anywhere, at anytime should there be a disastrous seismic event

"There are buildings with low ratings after having a Detailed Seismic Assessment that are still open and operating around the country and they are allowed to do so within the legislation."

People buying tickets for upcoming games, such as next month's All Black-Tonga test, are being told of the situation and are being offered the chance to relocate to the new stand, the Brian Perry Stand.

The Waikato Rugby Union recently said it was not going to use the WEL Networks Stand for the Mitre 10 Cup this season, not because of concern over an earthquake risk, but because of dwindling attendance numbers at games.

Click here for more information on the Seismic Assessment Project.

Related Articles

21st August 2019 - Taranaki Rugby slashes ticket prices at New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium

26th June 2019 - Work set to start on new corporate boxes at FMG Stadium Waikato

13th December 2018 - Further accolades beckon for H3 and Hamilton’s events

8th June 2018 - New Plymouth’s Yarrow Stadium closed due to earthquake fears

22nd May 2017 - Rugby Sevens New Zealand event moves to Hamilton as 2017/18 schedule announced

7th July 2016 - Report confirms seismic issues with Hamilton’s Founders Theatre

25th March 2016 - Second big screen installed at Waikato Stadium

27th November 2015 - Report reveals unexpected seismic strength of Napier’s Art Deco heritage

28th August 2015 - Hamilton highlights positive results from FIFA Under 20 World Cup game hosting

31st July 2015 - FMG secures naming rights for Waikato Stadium

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