Seismic strengthening options 'radical' – Townsend
“Hugely radical” is how Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend describes proposed new earthquake standards.
The options are contained in a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment consultation document released today.
The Property Council has been closely involved in formulating the proposals.
Mr Townsend says the “dramatic” changes involve centralising standards under the government rather than allowing local authorities to set their own.
The other major change was a proposal to apply some of them to residential properties.
He says there is variation even between Napier and Hastings councils on seismic strengthening.
Christchurch has adopted requirements for buildings to be 67% of the building code.
But the proposed national standards would only require 33%.
It would bankrupt the country to set them up to 67%, he says. Even so, the exact number of buildings requiring strengthening or demolition is unclear.
The report cites 25,000 buildings involved and a cost of $1.68 billion. But Tauranga has yet to be included, according to Mr Townsend.
Features such as chimneys and parapets were big concerns for older residential homes, he says.
“If it wasn’t for the first September 2010 earthquake that brought down so many chimneys in Christchurch there would have been mayhem in the February earthquake, which was bigger as far as the city was concerned.
“There’s a lot of naivety outside of Christchurch about this,” Mr Townsend says.
The government proposals allow five years to identify buildings and another 10 years to fix or demolish them.