UPDATED12.50pm:Baywave will re-open to the public at 2pm on Wednesday, eight days after the pools complex was shut for urgent seismic upgrades.
The construction team completed the works over the weekend – ahead of the initial nine-day turnaround which would have had the facility reopening this Friday, says Bay Venues CEO Gary Dawson today.
He has nothing but praise for everyone involved in the process given the tight deadline to ensure the facility is open for the National Underwater Hockey Secondary School Championships starting this Friday and the AIMS Games on Monday, says Gary.
Strengthening included infilling a window so that it became a solid wall and adding bracing to the steel girders that run along the spine of the building. Installing six plates takes the centre from a Grade D to a Grade C seismic risk.
Given the tight deadline to ensure the facility is open for the National Underwater Hockey Secondary School Championships starting this Friday and the AIMS Games on Monday, Gary says he has nothing but praise for everyone involved in the process.
“Contractors have worked brilliantly to lift the building's seismic safety rating in such a short amount of time, says Gary. "We have had great support from Tauranga City Council, BECA, Contract Mechanical Services, Steeplejacks Scaffolding, Searob Building and Red's Blocklaying to rapidly address the issue.
“Thanks must also go to the staff and public who have been incredibly understanding about our safety priority.
“It has been warming to see the local community banding together. Other gyms have offered temporary memberships and private aquatic facilities have provided lane space and facilities to accommodate patrons and swimming squads.”
Bay Venues is expecting to receive a finalised BECA report in three weeks' time with more detail on how to improve the building's seismic safety.
Baywave will re-open this week in time for the AIMS Games, says Bay Venues CEO Gary Dawson.
Gary spoke to SunLive following a board meeting yesterday where engineers delivered a report on progress at the pools, which were closed on August 29 for seismic repairs.
“It will be available for the AIMS Games and the NZ Underwater Hockey championships.
“Progress has been very good and we are slightly ahead of schedule, so there's no risk of it not being available for those key events.
“We don't have a definite time for it to open, we still have got some work to be done. But we are certainly slightly ahead of where we thought we would be.”
The final decision on when to re-open the pools is expected today.
The pools were shut a week ago when directors learned engineers assessed the aquatic centre as being a Grade D earthquake prone building, which represents a 10-25 times greater earthquake risk than a new building under the latest earthquake-strengthening guidelines.
The report stated the building constructed in 2005, had “significant deficiencies” and recommended seismic remediation work.
The engineers' recommendations included the following:
• That the building's bracing system be strengthened (which is the immediate remedial work Bay Venues will be undertaking)
• That further checks be undertaken on the cladding, window support systems and pre-cast concrete stairs
• That the possibility of liquefaction be investigated
The remedial work will improve the integrity of the building and move it from Grade D to Grade C – a risk 5-10 times greater than a new building. Achieving Grade C means the facility is at an acceptable standard to open, says Gary.
Bay Venues has not yet begun any investigation into how a relatively new building could become an earthquake risk.
“What we want to do is get it opened obviously, and get the AIMS Games under way and then next week we will turn our mind to exactly what we need to do in terms of a review; how did this happen?
“But our focus has really been just on getting it open.”
The National Underwater Hockey Secondary School Championships begin at Baywave on Thursday and close on Sunday September 10.
The AIMS Games start September 10 and finish Friday, September 15.