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Levin Tornado Event - Designation Of Area For Building Emergency Management – Update 1 - 21 May 2022

Horowhenua District Council has designated an area in Horowhenua under the Building Act 2004 to support the response and recovery from the Tornado on 21 May.

Daniel Haigh – Horowhenua Civil Defence Emergency Management Local Controller says, “This is an important administrative step in managing affected buildings after an emergency.”

The decision to designate the area of the Horowhenua District will allow the Horowhenua District Council to manage any ongoing risks to people from buildings as a result of the event.

The Urban Search and Rescue team carried out initial rapid assessments of affected buildings yesterday and Council’s Building Advisor Officers will now carry out further assessments to understand the severity of damage. If required, they will be adding placards to buildings that need them.

The Building Act 2004 sets out powers for managing buildings following an emergency and allows the Council to investigate building failures that did or could have caused serious injury or death.

The designation powers allow the Horowhenua District Council to:

- Carry out work to, or demolish, any buildings that pose an immediate risk to life, or risk damage or disruption to neighbouring buildings or public thoroughfares

- Require building owners to provide information, such as detailed engineering assessments to help determine the risks posed to buildings

- Require damaged buildings to be repaired or demolished on a case by case basis.

Once a designated area is in place, the Building Act provides a number of special powers that may be exercised in respect of all buildings within the designated area.

The powers that can be used within a designated area provide a responsible person with authority to (among other things):

- Enter buildings;

- Complete post-event assessments;

- Direct the evacuation of buildings;

- Put in place measures for protecting buildings and keeping people at a safe distance;

- Place notices and signs on buildings;

- Direct the owners of building or land to provide information;

- Direct works (urgent and non-urgent) to remove or reduce risks;

- Direct works for long term use or occupation of a building.

“If you think you might be impacted by the designation, I urge you to visit the Ministry of Building and Innovation and Employment’s (MBIE) website to learn more about the post-emergency building assessment process, and the resources and related information available,” continues Daniel.

This designation will be reviewed every 90 days by Horowhenua District Council to confirm that the powers granted by the designation are required to manage the response and recovery. The designation will remain in place until 30 May 2025, unless terminated earlier.

MBIE has activated the National Building Response Management Plan to support the response to the emergency in the Horowhenua District. The Building Management Response Team will continue to monitor activities in the designated area and consider options for further investigation.

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