Risky masonry streets identified
Tuesday 7 March 2017
Thirty eight streets in the Wellington region where building owners will have to secure unreinforced masonry parapets and facades within 12 months have been identified.
By Miriam Bell
Following last year’s Kaikoura earthquake, the government received advice that Wellington, Lower Hutt, Blenheim and Hurunui will have significantly increased seismic risks over the next three years.
For this reason, in January the government announced that it would require urgent upgrades of parapets and facades on high risk unreinforced masonry buildings.
The government is using its powers under the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquakes Recovery Act 2016 to require building owners to do the necessary securing work within 12 months.
Building and Construction Minister Dr Nick Smith said 38 streets where reinforcement work must take place have now been selected by the councils based on traffic and risk levels.
A combined government and council fund, which amounts to about $4.5 million, has been established to help building owners with the cost of securing the parapets and facades, he said.
“The fund will be used to provide a 50% subsidy for the work up to a maximum grant of $15,000 for a façade and $10,000 for a parapet to help building owners with the cost, estimated at $9 million.”
The next step in the process is for councils to formally notify the building owners affected.
Smith said that many of the building owners in the four districts identified will already be aware of the parapets and façades which need to be secured.
But notices from councils to the owners will officially start the clock for the 12-month deadline for the securing work to be done, he said.
“Falling unreinforced masonry is a major risk to people on the street during an earthquake as we saw in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake, when it claimed the lives of 39 people.
“It’s essential we’re proactive about this work so as to avoid a repeat of that terrible tragedy."
The list of the 38 streets identified can be found here.
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