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Over half of Wellington URM buildings secured

More than half of Wellington buildings listed as dangerous to the public in an earthquake, because of unreinforced masonry, have been upgraded as a deadline for the work approaches.

A large number have started securing works but with less than three months remaining before the deadline, a few are yet to begin, which is concerning Wellington City Council.

Following the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, the Council identified 113 buildings with unreinforced masonry.

The buildings’ owners were given a Government-imposed deadline to secure them. The deadline, which was extended by six months, is now between 15 and 27 September.

So far 59 buildings have been taken off the list, 54 buildings are still having work carried out, or have completed but not submitted final documentation, and 14 are yet to begin.

“Well done to the bulk of the owners who have completed and started the work,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

“But with three months to go, time is running out for those who haven’t yet started.

“This is work that is important for public safety. Council is undertaking millions of dollars’ worth of work on its own buildings and we urge those who haven’t started to do so.

“Resilience is one of the City’s priorities, and for Wellington, resilience starts with the buildings in and around which we spend a good part of our lives.”

To assist with the urgency of the work, Wellington City Council has contributed $1 million and the Government $2 million.

This funding contributes: up to half the costs of work involved in securing the parapet and/or facade, up to a maximum of $25,000 for buildings two storeys and below, and up to $65,000 for buildings three storeys or over.

Unreinforced masonry is clay brick, concrete block or stone units bound together using lime or cement mortar, without any reinforcing elements such as steel bars.

Thirty-nine people were killed and more than 100 people were injured by unreinforced masonry buildings in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

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