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Tougher standards for earthquake prone buildings says LGNZ

MEDIA RELEASE

Tougher standards for earthquake prone buildings says LGNZ

9 February 2012


Local Government New Zealand supports a more stringent national standard for strengthening earthquake prone buildings.

This statement follows today’s release of the Technical Investigation into the Structural Performance of Buildings in Christchurch by the Department of Building and Housing.

“A stronger national specification for strengthening older buildings avoids uncertainty. Currently the law only sets a minimum standard for retro-fitting earthquake prone buildings.

“LGNZ believes this encourages building owners to just do the minimum for retro-fitting earthquake prone buildings,” said LGNZ President Lawrence Yule.

Mr Yule adds the decisions on strengthening older buildings are complex, particularly when you are looking at heritage buildings.

“It can cost a lot of money to retro-fit an older building. People need to consider how much they value the older buildings in their community, and how that influences their concerns about building performance in an earthquake.

“This is about risk management – weighing up the desire to keep heritage buildings and the costs associated with them, with the potential for injury or loss of life in an earthquake.”

Mr Yule says this could mean some communities may choose longer compliance timeframes and LGNZ supports this.

LGNZ says central and local government now need to work together to clarify policy, and develop a mutual strategy for addressing earthquake prone buildings.

Ends

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