Along with the Hawke's Bay DHB, we are improving the safety of this earthquake prone building as well as ensuring the hospital remains operational during the process.


  • Napier, New Zealand


  • Hawke's Bay District Health Board

Project Value

  • $600,000

Project Status

  • Estimated Completion Date: 2021

A Detailed Seismic Assessment of the Acute Assessment Unit (AAU)/Education Block at Hawkes Bay Hospital, carried out by WSP, revealed significant design and construction anomalies that required seismic strengthening. WSP worked with Hawke’s Bay District Health Board (HBDHB) to ensure priority upgrading work could be carried out rapidly, and staged the remaining upgrading, while ensuring facilities remained operational.


While delivering seismic advisory services to HBDHB, WSP conducted a Detailed Seismic Assessment (DSA) on the AAU/ Education Block. The assessment was conducted on a then unoccupied portion of the building as part of preparation for the planned expansion of the Histology Department into that area. However, the DSA indicated the building, which is has Importance Level 3, met only 15% of the National Building Standard and had a high earthquake risk. WSP began discussions with the HBDHB to develop a strengthening scheme to bring the building to 70% of the National Building Standard to ensure the it could function effectively after a major event. For HBDHB, the initial work needed to be carried out within the then existing alterations contract and was designated as Stage 1 of a 3 stage programme to upgrade the whole building.


WSP’s solution involved new seismic bracing frames to be constructed within the existing steel portals in the upper stories. This provides load paths for bracing loads to be transferred to foundations. The second stage which is under construction involves the rest of the upper stories. The third stage of the project, which is currently being detail designed, involves the lower storey and any foundation upgrades that might be found necessary. Geotechnical investigations have been completed for this work and are being incorporated in the detailed design and are proving just as challenging as the previous two stages.


As a result of the assessment and seismic strengthening HBDHB has successfully embarked on provision of a new Histology Department and extended the life of an earthquake-prone building. This is being undertaken with a minimum of inconvenience as possible and hospital services are being maintained throughout.