NZPFU seeking expert advice on Napier Fire Station seismic risks

The NZPFU has sought expert advice from an engineering consultant on FENZ’s commissioned testing and analysis of the structural integrity of the Napier Fire Station and a geotechnical review of the land it sits on.

In June 2020 the NZPFU National and Local representatives with the NZPFU contracted specialist engineer met with FENZ to discuss the dire seismic rating and life-safety risk for the Napier Fire Station. The NZPFU pushed for more investigative and testing to ensure any upgrade or rebuild on the site would result in a safe workplace.  The outcomes of that meeting can be revisited at https://www.nzpfu.org.nz/news/nzpfu-pushes-for-urgency-for-napier-fire-station-with-dire-seismic-rating/.

In 2019 FENZ’s commissioned seismic report returned a seismic rating of 15% which is a very low and high life risk rating.  The minimum acceptable standard is 67%.  The 2019 report did not measure the serviceability of the building which is critical to capacity to carry out the functions of the fire service after an earthquake.  In addition to the structural integrity of the building, there are liquefaction issues identified by the NZFS consultants in 2014.

Last week the NZPFU received various documentation from FENZ including results from testing that occurred late 2020 and we have sent them to our engineering experts for their analysis and advice.  We were also provided with a brief list of “proposed” scope of works on Friday.

We are greatly concerned that FENZ is forging ahead with minimum strengthening work and has started to work on design and estimates prior to even providing the new reports to the NZPFU.  We have also been informed that Area Management had a firefighter approach all watches to outline to the watches the work that will be undertaken. It was presented to firefighters as a done deal.  Those watch meetings were held prior to Friday’s email with the brief list of “proposed” scope of works and without any prior notification to the Local.

It is not in our members’ interests to engage on any aspect of any determined or “proposed” scope of works until we have our expert advice on the suitability of the Napier Station site and the nature of remedial, rebuild or relocation work necessary to provide a safe workplace.

If FENZ is very confident that it has undertaken the necessary investigations, and is “proposing” the appropriate scope of works to ensure the safety of firefighters as well as protect the ability to respond to protect the community from that station after earthquakes then the question begs why they did not provide the reports to the NZPFU prior to seeking estimates and “proposing” the scope of works?  FENZ is well aware we rely on engineering expert advice so why didn’t they provide us with the opportunity to seek that expert advice before they determined “proposed” scope of work to be undertaken?

We have asked our engineering experts to assess the documentation under urgency.   If FENZ had provided the documentation in November and December 2020 when they received results and analysis we would already have had our expert advice and requested an opportunity to have a meeting involving the experts to discuss the appropriate way forward.  Any delay rests with FENZ not providing us that opportunity at the time.

It is the NZPFU position that we must have our expert analysis of the reports and testing before we can determine what needs to be done to provide a safe workplace, and to ensure Napier Fire Station can still respond and protect the community post a seismic event.

In unity,
Wattie Watson
National Secretary

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