DOC may remove low use huts..

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DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Tue 15 Mar, 2016 10:43 am

Warning to Kiwi trampers: Prove you're using high country huts, or risk losing them for good

https://www.tvnz.co.nz/one-news/new-zea ... -them-good
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby Ciaran » Fri 18 Mar, 2016 7:03 pm

That would be a shame.
I will be there next week doing the Caples Greenstone track and Gillespie Pass the week after so any huts I use will have my name and comment in.

Weather's looking pretty wet for next week, can you organise some sunny days for me please Wayno?

Just a couple will do.

Cheers.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Sat 19 Mar, 2016 2:45 am

the huts on those tracks arent likely to be affected, they all get heavily used through the warmer months.
theres hundreds of backcountry huts that get little use.
there was a major accident in the 90's when a DOC built viewing platform over a canyon collapsed, killing several people.
as a result DOC issued a specifically documented minimum standard for all their structures...
any structure that doesnt meet the minimum standard, is likely to either be brought up to standard or is completely demolished. they have demolished some structures on trivial issues, bridges that were still quite functional and relatively safe but not up to the new specification so they were destroyed, leaving no safe river crossing in floods... they were low enough use to be too low on the priority list to be upgraded...
DOC wants to cover itself against OSH issues that it faced after cave creek. and its now a lot more expensive for them to do so, so they want to minimise as much as they can the structures they have to look after.
theres a lot of volunteer groups that already maintain huts, huts that wouldnt be there anymore without those volunteers.. I'd heard there was an issue around huts of 6 bunks or more legally needing two doors now because they were applying OSH standards for houses to huts, and they were removing bunks to get to 5 so they wouldnt have to put a second door in, otherwise the'd demolish the hut.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby sim1oz » Sat 19 Mar, 2016 9:27 pm

wow, maybe DOC should check out some of the decrepit huts we have in Oz! We keep them for historical/cultural reasons and/or emergency shelters.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Sun 20 Mar, 2016 4:22 am

sim1oz wrote:wow, maybe DOC should check out some of the decrepit huts we have in Oz! We keep them for historical/cultural reasons and/or emergency shelters.


any hut like that in NZ has to be maintained. only the most out of the way forgotten huts that arent maintained, remain.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby Stroller » Wed 13 Apr, 2016 10:18 am

Hi Feel free to delete this post.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby Suz » Sat 16 Apr, 2016 5:28 pm

Isn't it a bit of a risk to remove them? What will happen when trampers in these areas have no emergency hut to shelter in? NZ weather kills enough people as it is. The DOC is such an amazing dept. Govt should just boost its funding. I wouldn't mind paying more to stay in huts there. Or paying at all for the unmanned ones that don't charge. Maybe they could look at raising the hut fee on the great walks to subsidise repairs / upgrades on the low use ones. If people have old maps and the low use ones get removed, that will surely end up costing lives.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Sat 16 Apr, 2016 5:50 pm

after the collapse of the cave creek viewing platform and the death of several people, DOC have gone strictly down the OSH route... they removed dingy's from a couple of places for OSH reasons...
fault can be blamed on them if a hut collapses on someone or someone gets injured in a dilapidated hut.. no longer can you use a bridge at your own risk if its not maintained properly.
but if something happens because a hut has been removed, it will be entirely your responsibility, no DOC structure was involved....
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby izogi » Mon 25 Apr, 2016 9:27 pm

To be fair, the sequence of DOC-administered events which led to the Cave Creek Platform Collapse in 1995 was utterly abhorrent. It wasn't so much a case of "trust this platform at your own risk". It was a case of "this platform is 1 year old and is being presented as expertly built and fit for purpose, yet its construction is an utter shambles and a catastrophic failure waiting to happen". It wasn't just several people who died. It was 14 people, plus another 4 seriously injured.

But that was largely through completely dysfunctional departmental mismanagement from the top down, combined with unrealistic and ambiguous expectations from very limited funding. Now DOC has the improved management, just not so much the expectations nor the funding, though even the money available is an order of magnitude more than was available in 1994.
Last edited by izogi on Tue 26 Apr, 2016 7:32 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Tue 26 Apr, 2016 4:57 am

the cave creek platform was professionally designed with plans and was up to the specifications required to support the no's of people that were on it when it collapsed.
DOC had no adequate system in place to ensure the plans were followed and the structure would be built professionally and no inspection system to ensure the bridge was up to spec and safe to use before it was approved to be used...
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby izogi » Tue 26 Apr, 2016 6:38 am

wayno wrote:the cave creek platform was professionally designed with plans and was up to the specifications required to support the no's of people that were on it when it collapsed.


Not exactly. If builders had stuck to the design then it mightn't have collapsed, but the Commission of Inquiry still found that it hadn't originally been designed by an appropriately qualified engineer. There hadn't been any geotechnical report undertaken on the site, despite the height and gradient of the cliff which meant it definitely should have been, and design documents weren't suitably specific.

The platform was a small part of a larger track building project. It hadn't been identified in the wider picture as a safety-critical thing, and it was really only after all of the original design failures that the design documents were lost and the platform was built on-site by ad-hoc work parties pulled together with the intent of just getting the entire task done, of which the platform was only seen as one feature. Nobody was clear about who was responsible or in charge of the project, they weren't aware a formal design even existed, and they missed out vital components from the original design... including a 7 metre section of steel that'd been meant to attach the platform to a concrete counter-weight. Then, afterwards, when local DOC staff realised proper legal consent hadn't been obtained under the law and that it hadn't been built to the design on file, they needed plans of the actual construction before they could even apply for a building permit retrospectively. They had a volunteer German exchange student, who was handy in the local conservancy at the time, reverse engineer the design, who presumably assumed it'd been built with some level of competence in the non-visible areas and got it wrong. In the end there was no application anyway, so there was no paper trail for independent inspectors to even know it existed, let alone detect the shoddy building.

During all this, nobody considered that the platform might have been so fundamentally unsafe to be in need of closure. Then it collapsed with some of 17 kids jumping up and down, because that's what kids do, but the jumping almost certainly only sped up the inevitable. 13 of those kids and a DOC ranger died.

DOC's possibly overcompensated, but I think a certain amount of it is remaining consistent with actual building, health and safety law. Many people don't feel the need to respect the law when it doesn't suit them or appears silly and pointless, but DOC's in a tricky place as a government department that's defined by the law. It got a serious shake-up after Cave Creek. In part the law is where the issue is if there is one, especially as it's still ambiguous and not fully tested in court on where the responsibility lies around accidents in all of the relevant scenarios, but it's also one of those things that's hard to get right.
Last edited by izogi on Tue 26 Apr, 2016 10:04 am, edited 7 times in total.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby wayno » Tue 26 Apr, 2016 6:49 am

the platform was nailed to the foundations, the plans called for gangnails to be used to attach it to the foundations, they werent used, when the students jumped up and down the lack of gangnails contributed to the platform separating completely from the foundations where the platform meets the land horizontally
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby Nuts » Tue 02 Mar, 2021 3:20 pm

Watched this on the weekend, the implications very likely reverberated here as well. Such a tragic string of errors (as described above): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5SVwv5Uhnkw

PS. Or mostly described, even the late concern and the 5 person limit sign could have avoided tragedy, yet ended up in a desk drawer.
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Re: DOC may remove low use huts..

Postby tomh » Sat 08 May, 2021 1:24 pm

Back to the huts and
Rafting crew restore five remote South Island back country huts in the Nelson Mail:
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/125050342/rafting-crew-restore-five-remote-south-island-back-country-huts
Funding to repair and maintain huts, tracks and bridges in some of New Zealand’s more remote places was announced last September as a key part of the Covid-19 economic recovery package.
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