What Owners Should Know About the Planned New Earthquake Legislation in Wellington?

As the Building Act 2004 has regulated and set the definition of an earthquake-prone building, all building constructed prior to 1976 must be at least 34%of the New Building Standard within a given period.

But after Wellington was hit badly by the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake on November 14, the council’s disaster planners are looking to speed up the introduction of new building regulations.

The council was worried about the resilience of the city and was considering this as an opportunity to improve the city for the future generation.

The focus was on homes because it was known that Wellington’s central city could be compromised after a big earthquake and it was important that people could work safely elsewhere, Mendonca said.

Referring to Stuff.co.nz, Wellington homeowners could be forced to spend thousands removing chimneys, reinforcing piles and installing emergency water tanks under new earthquake regulations that could be fast-tracked by the city council.

The total cost will be approximate $1000 depending on the size of the water tanks required.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said people needed to know they were safe in high-use public areas.

“The biggest priority for me is un-reinforced masonry buildings. This is an immediate requirement.”

Derek Baxter, the council’s building intelligence manager, said Wellington engineers had been engaging with Building and Construction Minister Nick Smith about developing a long-term policy for public safety.

“The un-reinforced masonry buildings on Cuba St were not vulnerable to the quake but that does not make them any less of a risk.”

The owners of the 80 CBD buildings were due to report back to the council by January 20 to acknowledge receipt of the request, and had until February 10 to undertake assessments, Baxter said.

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