Nelson Residents Association


Extracts from Opus Report


Opus International Consultants Ltd – Extracts from their report to NCC 26.02.15


Page 24 – Last paragraph

“From the review of previous detailed seismic assessment report, we understand the seismic capacity of the facility to be as follows:

Main Hall:   20-25%

Northern Building: 15%

Southern Extension: 25-30%

Civil Defence: 15% (still classified as IL4)”

Page 25 – Last paragraph:

“The intention of this options report is to progress re-opening of the Trafalgar Centre forward, not to review and validate previous reports.”

The above two quotes are in contradiction of each other.

Page 41 – Sliding Section of Western Side

Froeling told Mr Kirby in KCN’s presence that “it wouldn’t work”. Curiously it is now found in Opus’s report under Froeling’s name.

Page 31 – re Southern Extension

Currently not fire rated. NCC should have demanded that the structure comply with the code.

Page 50 – Item 9

“At present existing mains cable and transformer may be at the maximum.”

This item was upgraded early 2014.

Page 53 – 10.2

Users have transferred to Saxton Stadium and have indicated reluctance to return to a re-opening of the Trafalgar Centre.

Page 48 – Addendum 1

This is not realistic.

Question: What is this referring to?

Page 51 – Northern Building

Item 5: “Asbestos cement sheet present”. The emotion attached to this item is greater than warranted. Auckland Health Board Report, “Left undisturbed, the product is of little risk”. Sectors of Nelson’s water supply uses asbestos cement pipes therefore the issue is almost irrelevant.

Page 63 – Strengthening Options Table

Bullet Point 2:

The Problem: “The geotechnical issues which could most adversely affect the seismic performance of the building”. The problem has all but been eliminated from the site. Nelson has never experienced a major earthquake over the last 900 years. The Richter scale has not been recognised since 2012. Unfortunately the unnecessary closure has triggered off a raft of issues that now seriously threatens the viability of the Centre. The Pandora’s Box is now open. Page 110, a review of access for persons with disabilities, is another example of where this is now heading.

Page 79 – Extract from architect’s comments:

“Relatively minor work needed”


General Notes:

Both R O Davis and Tonkin & Taylor have based their reports on the building as IL4 (not to be confused with their comments on the geotechnical factors).

Tonkin & Taylor Report – June, 2013: Ref: 871024. Item 6.2.1

“We assume that the Trafalgar Centre is an important level (IL)4 structure”.

Dunning Thornton and Holmes Consultancy both refer to T&T as the basis of their reviews. The prime concern in their reports of the possibility of the building slumping and distorting was based on the assumption that the gravels under the TC would liquefy. An option in Opus’s report includes removing the lateral spread eastern side struts. This presumably is due to the belief that the foundation will slump and thereby drag the struts down.

Dunning Thornton in their report of 25 October 2013, page 5, para.3: “Given the reasonable difference in overall reported capacities of the building, it is recommended that Holmes Consultancy Group undertake a further detailed review of these elements.” Their general comments should also be read with the understanding that had they known the facts on the ground conditions and foundations their opinion would have been even more positive. It is regrettable that Dunning Thornton Consultancy’s scale of New Building Standards was not recognised in the first instances, e.g.

Northern Building:     Dunning Thornton Consultancy – 35-40%

                                    Holmes Consultancy Group – 15%

The question that must now be asked is why were the Holmes Consultancy Group’s figures used without referring to Dunning Thornton’s figures and why weren’t Dunning Thornton’s recommendations acted on? A suggestion of a fraudulent action by the author of the report to Council on 29 August 2013 may at this stage be a little too harsh but the evidence is leading in that direction.

IL4 vs IL3 percentage of New Building Standards and the various seismic zones of New Zealand need to be addressed.

Replacing stairs and other items identified in the report have little or nothing to do with engineering factors therefore must, along with any renovations, be isolated from the total estimate of costs. In any event, Councillor Ian Barker acknowledges that the Annual and Long Term Plan submission processes will determine what can be spent.

Concerned that Council has accepted the recommendation to proceed with the construction phases before knowing the results of further site investigations.

It is expected that those who have been responsible for creating the unnecessary disruption will be called to account. Primarily, the fault lies with the lawyer who, if he is aware of the now known facts, must make a statement accordingly. Nelson’s Mayor is on record stating that if her builder did not perform adequately, she would have his head on a plate. To be consistent, she will need a lot of plates.

Both the Victory Room and civil defence buildings have been graded as 15% of New Building Standards. The foundation under what was civil defence headquarters is a basic simple shallow design and had it been given the correct IL3 classification its percentage of NBS would be higher. By comparison, given that the Victory Room is now known to be founded on substantial foundations, both below and above ground, and has also had other important items clarified, it is reasonable to demand that the percentage of NBS on the Victory Room be raised significantly.

It is a travesty that emotive engendering items like asbestos cement sheeting are now in danger of assuming greater importance than the vital details of the site material and foundation details.

Regarding the 3-D modelling of the ground under the Trafalgar Centre, we would expect confirmation that the resulting information will require a completely re-worked earthquake risk assessment of the whole Trafalgar Centre. This, of course, needs to be done by people other than those used to date or the percentages will again be tainted by faulty reckoning. The ratepayers cannot afford any more of what has gone on before. This new “cutting-edge technology” is the sole basis of what Mr Kirby put to the councillors, giving them the expectation that it would most likely result in a far more relaxed assessment and massive financial and time savings. If a new risk assessment is not done, then any advice or recommendation will have little or no credibility.

This analysis of the Opus report presented to Nelson City Council 26 February 2015 was searched, analysed and collated by the following:

Stuart Walker

Pam Frahm

Ken Meredith

Kerry Neal