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Earthquake-Prone Building Assessors Selected

Earthquake-Prone Building Assessors Selected
For immediate release: Thursday 21 February

Engineering Design Consultants (EDC) has been selected to carry out mandatory assessments for earthquake-prone buildings on behalf of a group of Opotiki building owners.

A group of commercial building owners seized the opportunity to have their earthquake-prone buildings professionally assessed through a process facilitated by Opotiki District Council mid-way through last year. A tender process was initiated in late 2012 to facilitate the bulk deal, which will lower the costs for building owners who are required to carry out the inspections.

A Tender Evaluation Team comprising of Opotiki District Councillors, Robbie Peterson and Barry Howe, and two building owner representatives, Jim Mansell and John McLeod, considered expressions of interest from consultants. Councillor Robbie Petersen says, “These were then short-listed to three consultancy firms, which provided a price for each property to undertake the initial desktop assessment, and a detailed evaluation which will outline the work required to meet the standard of the Building Act.”

“EDC was selected based on a number of factors that included price; their extensive earthquake assessment experience and their ability to provide both structural and geotechnical engineering advice. This combination of attributes is expected to provide building owners with good value and well-rounded practical outcomes.”

On EDC’s appointment, Managing Director Patrick Harris says, “We’re very pleased to be able to work with the building owners of the Opotiki district to address this very complex issue.”

“The Council is to be commended on its approach which will see delivery of a complete result achieved more efficiently than had owners tried to tackle this legislative requirement individually,” he says. “We would recommend that other councils and business communities look to Opotiki as a leader in this area.”

Councillor Peterson says the amount of repair work that will be required for each building is different and depends entirely on the construction material and construction method for that building. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ solution,” he says. “It’s not a speedy process but our aim is to assist our community where we can to meet this obligation that Central Government has placed on us.”

Councillor Howe says he’s pleased that Council has taken a lead role in assisting the community with this very difficult project. “We realise that this is a daunting prospect for some building owners which is why we wanted to do it as smoothly and as cost-effectively as possible.”

“We also need to look towards government’s response to the outcomes of the Royal Commission of Enquiry into the Canterbury Earthquakes as this may well see a change to the legislation which would impact on the project.”

Councillor Howe assures the building owners that a sensible approach is being taken. “The assessments will still need to occur regardless of whether changes to grading levels or the timeline occurs. We’ll monitor what’s happening at the central government level and work with building owners throughout the project.”


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