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Notices go up on quake-prone Council buildings

Notices go up on quake-prone Council buildings

Earthquake-prone building notices are being attached to 41 Christchurch City Council-owned buildings.

Twenty-seven of those buildings are open to the public but independent engineering assessments have confirmed they can still be occupied. Most of them are toilet blocks or pavilions which are used infrequently or intermittently.

“As the owners of these buildings we are required by law to display notices advising the public of their earthquake prone status, but their status is the same as before. Detailed engineering advice we have received shows the buildings that are open are still fit to occupy,” Council Head of Facilities, Property and Planning Bruce Rendall says.

“While they have a seismic capacity less than one third of the level required for a new building and are therefore classed under the Building Act as earthquake-prone, engineers have advised that because of their design they do not pose unacceptable risk. This is due to the design of the buildings and how they would behave in a future earthquake.”

An amendment to the Building Act that came into effect on 1 July 2017 gave owners of earthquake-prone buildings between seven-and-a-half and 15 years to either strengthen their buildings or demolish them.

Until such time as the strengthening or demolition is done, an earthquake-prone building notice – officially known as a section 133AL notice – must be prominently displayed on the building so the public is aware of its status.

“As the local authority we have been sending letters to the owners of all earthquake-prone buildings(external link) in Christchurch and Banks Peninsula reminding them of their legal obligations to strengthen or demolish their buildings. The letters contain copies of section 133AL notices which they must display prominently.

“We’re not immune from that obligation so the public will see notices appearing on our earthquake-prone buildings too. Council staff and community groups who are using the buildings have been informed of their status,” Mr Rendall says.

A number of the buildings are currently being repaired and strengthened or are included in future work programmes.

“Due to the type and usage of our buildings, we have 15 years to either strengthen or demolish them,” Mr Rendall says.

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