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Roof needed . . . The Marseille tiles on the roof of the Aigantighe House Gallery are past their use-by date and earthquake strengthening work is required. PHOTO: CHRIS TOBIN

by Chris Tobin

The Timaru District Council is starting to have headaches over rooftops.

The tiled roof on the Aigantighe House art gallery is the latest to have come to the end of its life and substantial earthquake strengthening of the building will also be required.

“The gallery is currently seeking costings to replace the roof with a lightweight replica roof,” the Timaru District Council was advised this week by Hamish Pettengell, the gallery’s acting manager.

The council is already investigating replacing the Timaru library roof which is expected to cost $1.9million. This work has been delayed.

Costings for replacing the art gallery’s roof were expected to be available this month.

“With the expected increase of capital expenditure for the project the gallery will be seeking external subsidy funding to minimise the financial impact on the council and ratepayers.”

Mr Pettengell said metal ties securing the tiles to the wooden roof had corroded and some were missing.

Many tiles had cracked and water had seeped through the roof as a result.

Several critical structural weaknesses were identified in the building as part of a seismic assessment which included: Chimneys made with unreinforced masonry, unreinforced walls, weak connections between walls, floors and ceilings, and unrestrained gables.

An engineering consultancy company Structex had been engaged by the council to report on the building and had found it had an estimated seismic strength compliance of 10% of the new building standard and was therefore earthquake-prone.

Other work that needed to be done was also identified which included increased accessibility to both floors of the gallery, repainting inside and out, climate control and fire protection for art works.

Mr Pettengell said since the house gallery was a category 2 Historic Places Trust building a resource consent was needed for work as well as a heritage impact assessment.

More work was required to ascertain the cost of the earthquake strengthening project.

The council has allocated $600,000 in the 2019-2020 financial year for strengthening work at the house gallery and a further $50,000 to refurbish the public bathrooms.

“With the expected increase of capital expenditure for the project the gallery will be seeking external subsidy funding to minimise the financial impact on the council and ratepayers,” Mr Pettengell said.