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Exemptions from earthquake assessments may be extended

Exemptions from earthquake assessments may be extended to all low risk zones

In light of the announcement yesterday that farm buildings are to be exempt from assessment under the Government's earthquake-prone buildings policy, Auckland and other areas of low earthquake risk may also be exempted, the Employers and Manufacturers Association says.

"This is great news," said Kim Campbell, EMA's chief executive.

"The seismic upgrade has been calculated to cost $3 billion in Auckland alone but take 4000 years to save just one life.

"So its great to hear Minister Nick Smith say the government is 'to take a pragmatic approach and focus (our) efforts to improve the earthquake safety of buildings on those that pose the greatest risk to public safety.

"This means the exemptions to apply to farm buildings may well be applied to all zones where earthquake risk is low.

"It seems only reasonable to exempt all low risk buildings and we welcome the Minister's assurance that officials are looking into doing this.

"Zones where exemptions could apply include a large swathe of the Auckland region and Northland where earthquake risk is low.

"As Minister Guy says, doing this would a good example of avoiding unnecessary compliance.

"The Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill requires all buildings to be assessed in the next five years and for those under 34 per cent of the building standard to be upgraded within a period of 15 years, with a further 10-year extension available for heritage buildings. The Bill currently excludes residential buildings except those that are multi-storey and contain more than two homes."

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