The Christchurch Civic Offices are due to open again in November - but we still don't know if the building complies to modern earthquake standards. Apparently the engineering reports are still being prepared.

We're being told that the Christchurch Civic Offices will open again in November. The official line is that this architectural monstrosity will be open to the public on November 13 and the first council meeting will be held on November 24.

But - remember - this is a $140 million plus turkey of a building that Sideshow Bob has previously claimed was only superficially damaged when it was hit by the September quake and has claimed since that there is nothing fundamentally wrong with the building. Just like there was nothing wrong with bailing out bankrupted property developer Dave Henderson to the tune of $17 million.

So we can't take anything for granted.

As I wrote in an earlier post it appears that no structural strengthening was done to a building constructed in the 1970s and that it failed to comply to modern earthquake standards.

Indeed, shortly after the September quake hit last year, Sideshow Bob admitted to the The Press that 'the council had considered upgrading the new civic building to Civil Defence standards, but instead it was built to office building standards.'

The fundamental question now is what structural strengthening has been done to the building to ensure that it is not a quake risk? Does it now comply to modern earthquake standards?

Worryingly, no one is saying anything. There is a suspicion that all information on the state of the Christchurch Civic offices has been whisked off to that shadowy place where 'Bob and Tony' hatch their secret plans.

Councillor Yani Johanson has tried to obtain engineering reports on the building but has amazingly been told that none exist - but are being prepared and will be 'peer reviewed'. When? And by who?

This situation is less than satisfactory. Some very expensive repairs and alterations have been undertaken - without engineering reports being prepared first! What is going on here? Are safety standards, once again, being sidestepped in the mad rush to get this building functioning again?

We also don't have any information on the state of the land that the building occupies.

And how many more millions have been thrown at a building that should never been given the green light in the first place?

Like the decision to upgrade AMI Stadium , the process that led to the decision to buy the old Post Office building and turn it into the city's administrative centre was both politically motivated, woefully misguided and disgracefully rushed.

As I wrote in a previous post on the Christchurch Civic offices:

'As with the AMI Stadium the architects of this massive debacle - Sideshow Bob, Tony Marryatt, Garry Moore, Sue Wells, Barry Corbett, to name just several - are not being held accountable. They remain in their highly-paid jobs. The rest of us get to pay for their incompetence and cronyism.'


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