Top Scoops

Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | Scoop News | Wellington Scoop | Community Scoop | Search

 

Thousands of quake-prone buildings yet to be identified

Thousands of quake-prone buildings in need of work yet to be identified

Phil Pennington, Reporter

Councils estimate they have yet to identify 10,000 buildings nationwide that are earthquake-prone and need upgrading or demolition.

pavement sign for a
cafe saying 'we have been earthquake strengthened'

2011 photo via Wellington.Scoop

About 700 of those must be identified in high-risk seismic zones by the first deadline of 1 January.

The figures come from the first update in months from the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment about implementing the earthquake-prone building laws.

About half of the 38 councils in high-risk zones are "not confident" or only "somewhat confident" of meeting all the deadlines for priority seismic work.

However, 36 of the 38 councils believe they can identify all their priority buildings by 1 January.

"Confidence is high that the first deadlines for identification will be met," the ministry said, after analysing reports from 62 councils.

So far, 283 buildings in high seismic-risk areas of 10 districts have been strengthened or demolished, and another 65 buildings in medium-risk zones.

Of the 37 councils in medium-risk areas, a third have identified all potentially priority earthquake-prone buildings, and all expect to have done this by mid-2022.

Building owners who were alerted by councils in 2018-19 to take action now face having to get 1200 engineering assessments done.

In the past 12 months, 331 buildings in high-risk zones were assessed as earthquake prone and 1264 not.

However, councils recorded concerns about "the accuracy, quality and timeliness of engineering assessments" revolving around a lack of information from engineers, including how they justified their assessment.

Overall, the ministry expected engineeers to assess 10,300 buildings in the next eight years, resulting in 4100 of those being added to the earthquake-prone building register.

"Some territorial authorities noted a shortage of qualified engineers, while others noted that engineers' reports were being provided within the time (12 months) expected."

In high-risk zones, about half of the councils have consulted with communities about what routes should be classed as particularly busy, along which the toughest deadlines to do up or demolish buildings - or just 7.5 years - would apply. Half of councils have chosen not to designate any routes as busy or strategic.

The ministry has also been evaluating the new national system for managing quake-prone buildings, and expects to wrap up that work next month. Most councils have now removed local policies to fit with the national approach.

Apartment owners in Wellington have petitioned Parliament asking the government to provide financial and technical help to residents facing "significant financial costs and personal stress to comply with the current earthquake-prone building legislation".

They are warning buildings will not be strengthened unless the government intervenes.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Top Scoops Headlines

 

Gordon Campbell: On The Addiction To Chinese Student Fees

Last week, Australian PM Scott Morrison extended its ban on foreign visitors from or passing through from mainland China – including Chinese students - for a third week. New Zealand has dutifully followed suit, with our travel ban ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Coronavirus, And The Iowa Debacle

As Bloomberg says, the coronavirus shutdown is creating the world’s biggest work-from-home experiment. On the upside, the mortality rate with the current outbreak is lower than with SARS in 2003, but (for a number of reasons) the economic impact this time ... More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Dodging A Bullet Over The Transport Cost Over-Runs

As New Zealand gears up to begin its $6.8 billion programme of large scale roading projects all around the country, we should be aware of this morning’s sobering headlines from New South Wales, where the cost overruns on major transport projects ... More>>

Gordon Campbell:On Kobemania, Palestine And The Infrastructure Package

Quick quiz to end the week. What deserves the more attention – the death of a US basketball legend, or the end of Palestinian hopes for an independent state? Both died this week, but only one was met with almost total indifference by the global community. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Double Standard That’s Bound To Dominate The Election

Are National really better political managers than Labour, particularly when it comes to running the economy? For many voters – and the business community in particular - their belief in National’s inherent competence is a simple act of faith. More>>


Gordon Campbell : On Dealing With Impeccable, Impeachable Lies

By now, the end game the Republican Senate majority has in mind in their setting of the rules for the impeachment trial of Donald J. Trump is pretty clear to everyone: first deny the Democrats the ability to call witnesses and offer evidence, and then derisively dismiss the charges for lack of evidence. For his part, does former security adviser John Bolton really, really want to testify against his former boss? If there was any competing faction within the Republican Party, there might be some point for Bolton in doing so – but there isn’t. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On Why The Dice Are Loaded Against Women..

If they enter public life, women can expect a type of intense (and contradictory) scrutiny that is rarely applied to their male counterparts... More>>