You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

One year to fix quake-prone masonry

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 25/01/2017 Sean Martin

The government has ordered earthquake-prone facades and parapets on an estimated 300 buildings in Wellington, Lower Hutt and Blenheim must be secured within a year.

The Kaikoura earthquake has significantly increased seismic risk in those centres during the next three years according to Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith.

Building owners have 12 months to carry out the work, with the government and councils paying half the cost.

Dr Smith says falling unreinforced masonry facades and parapets are a major risk to people on the street in an earthquake.

"We saw the terrible harm that can be done when 39 people were killed by unreinforced masonry in the 2011 Canterbury earthquake," he said on Wednesday.

"The prudent response is to require and assist building owners of these high-risk unreinforced masonry parapets and facades to secure them urgently."

Dr Smith says the work costs about $20,000 to $30,000, and securing the facades and parapets significantly reduces the risk they pose.

The government and councils will provide a 50 per cent subsidy up to a maximum of $15,000 for a facade and $10,000 for a parapet with $3 million allocated for the fund.

It estimates building owners will have to pay about $4.5 million in total, with local councils to contribute $1.5 million.

about 250 buildings likely to be eligible for the grant in Wellington, about 50 in Lower Hutt and 10 in the South Island. No buildings in Kaikoura met the criteria, the government said.

The government will use its special powers under earthquake legislation to exempt the buildings from the usual resource and building consents, provided the work is overseen by a qualified engineer.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon