Better rules for earthquake strengthening

Better rules for earthquake strengthening

BusinessNZ has welcomed moves to improve earthquake strengthening rules.

Commercial building owners in low earthquake risk areas would have faced unnecessarily high strengthening costs under draft legislation.

The proposed rules, prompted by the Christchurch earthquakes, would have required expensive strengthening or demolition of many commercial buildings.

BusinessNZ Chief Executive Phil O’Reilly said Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith had listened to business concerns and responded correctly.

“Business commends the Minister for being prepared to listen and to improve this draft legislation.

“Moving from a one-size-fits-all approach, to a risk-based approach is sensible.

“While all commercial building owners will wish to ensure their buildings’ safety and stability, this is best achieved with regard to the actual earthquake risk in differing areas.

“Buildings in low risk areas should not have to bear the same expense as those at high risk.

“The new proposals for earthquake strengthening requirements will almost halve overall strengthening costs while prioritising key buildings for strengthening sooner than originally proposed.”

Mr O’Reilly said business would request that the Minister continued to listen to the views of communities and take a flexible approach as the policy was implemented.

Contact: Phil O’Reilly 04 4966552 or Stephanie Moakes 021 959 831

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11 May, 2015

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