Speeding up the rules to “deal with” earthquake-prone buildings

News from Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment
The first of seven regional public information meetings on the Ministry’s proposals to improve the earthquake-prone buildings policy system will be held in Wellington tonight.

The meeting, from 7-9 pm at the Michael Fowler Centre, will be hosted by the Wellington City Council. The Minister of Building and Construction Maurice Williamson and Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown will attend.

The meeting is an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the change proposals, set out in the Ministry’s consultation document Building Seismic Performance, available at the web address below. The proposals are for a consistent national approach to dealing with earthquake-prone buildings. In essence, they require:

• all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings to have a seismic capacity assessment within five years of the changes taking effect, and this information to be made publicly available on a register

• all earthquake-prone buildings be strengthened, or demolished, within 15 years of the changes taking effect (up to five years for local authorities to complete seismic capacity assessments, followed by 10 years for owners to strengthen or demolish buildings), compared to an estimated 28 years (on average) under the current system

The consultation runs until 5pm on Friday 8 March. The Ministry encourages submitters to use the online response form at the web address above. Submissions on some or all of the questions are welcome. A 15-minute video explaining the proposed changes can also be viewed on the website http://www.dbh.govt.nz/earthquake-prone-buildings-consultation-video.

The regional public information meetings will comprise a short presentation on the proposals, followed by questions and answers. A full schedule is appended.

More information on the earthquake-prone buildings policy review and consultation is available at www.dbh.govt.nz.

URL: www.dbh.govt.nz/consultingon-epbp

News from NZ Government
The first of a series of public meetings to discuss proposals for a new policy on earthquake-prone buildings will be held on Tuesday night in Wellington. Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says public submissions will be crucial in establishing a new policy. Proposals for a national approach to deal with earthquake-prone buildings are currently out for consultation, and if adopted would mean all such buildings would be dealt with within 15 years, compared with an average of 28 years currently.

“This consultation is important and I encourage people to have their say by attending one of the seven public meetings around the country or completing the online response form.

“Getting the policy right involves striking a balance between the risks posed by buildings in earthquakes and the costs of strengthening, or demolishing, them,” Mr Williamson says.

Currently, individual local authorities are responsible for how earthquake-prone buildings are dealt with in their areas, in consultation with their communities.

“Some councils have been active and others less so. As a result many earthquake-prone buildings are not being dealt with in a timely and cost-effective way.”

Under the proposed changes, all non-residential and multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings would have to be assessed within five years. Owners of buildings assessed as being earthquake-prone would then have up to 10 years to strengthen or demolish them.

The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has issued a consultation document and a DVD which explain the proposed changes in detail. The Ministry is also running seven public meetings around the country.

“I will be attending a number of these meetings, including the Wellington one.”

The Wellington meeting will be held at the Michael Fowler Centre on Tuesday 5 February, starting at 7pm.

The consultation document, details of the public meetings, and an online response form can be found at: www.dbh.govt.nz/consultingon-epbp

The consultation process runs until 5pm Friday 8 March 2013.

 

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