Earthquake-prone building vacated

Nadi Wellness owner Sandi Murphy has left the building.

While she didn’t have to leave her leased earthquake-prone building at 55 Gorge Rd, Murphy believes her wellness business couldn’t take the chance.

That’s because the Queenstown building, signed off in 2011, has been assessed at just 10% of New Building Score — the minimum standard is 34%.

Murphy: ‘‘How can I expect the community to feel safe coming to a place like that?’’

She first opened Nadi Wellness in 2010 in the top of the Brazz building and only shifted in to the Pure Investments Ltd-owned Gorge Rd building last December with her 10 staff.

Intending to expand, she purchased two salt float spas, two infrared saunas and an ice bath.

She tells Mountain Scene she was alerted by her landlord during her lunch break on November 24 there was a problem and was immediately sent an engineer’s report, showing the building was ‘‘structurally compromised’’.

‘‘By the end of my lunch break, I evacuated my staff, the clients and closed the business, temporarily.

‘‘It’s a very heavy hit.’’

Upstairs residents have also gone and the two-storey building’s sat empty ever since — Murphy’s left behind an interior fitout, including a yoga studio, that cost her hundreds of thousands of dollars and is temporarily working from Sherwood, while hunting for a new, permanent home.

A Queenstown council notice slapped on the front window of the building says the owner’s got until November 30, 2038, to bring it up to scratch.

Queenstown council’s planning and development GM David Wallace confirms the council issued a building consent in 2011, noting the building was ‘‘designed by an engineer’’.

‘‘In issuing that consent, council relied on the engineer being competent to undertake the design, and also relied on the engineer to monitor the work.’’

Wallace says inspections throughout the construction process took place ‘‘in the normal way’’, with the construction being checked against the engineer’s design.

It appears as though it was the building’s owner who blew the whistle, though.

Wallace: ‘‘Since council undertook a district-wide process to identify potentially earthquake-prone buildings in 2019, it acts when an owner advises their building is, or may be, earthquake-prone (as in this case), or when council is provided with information that a building may be earthquake-prone.

‘‘In the latter instance, council can require the owner to provide an earthquake-prone building assessment.’’

Murphy, who’s fighting for compensation for business interruption, says she contacted Pure Investments’ owners on Scene’s behalf, but they didn’t want to comment.

She declined, on legal advice, to provide Scene with a copy of the engineer’s report.

[email protected]

- Advertisement -