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Wednesday 25 September 2013
Ashburton District Council is pleased with the response from local building owners having engineering assessments done on their properties.
Building Services Manager Michael Wong says more than 300 buildings in the district were identified as potentially earthquake prone and the owners of all but 36 have been in touch with the Council.
Of the responses received 128 have been found, on an initial assessment, not to be earthquake prone, while 105 have been found to be earthquake prone. The Council has granted extensions to the June deadline for assessment to owners of a further 48 buildings.
Mr Wong says most buildings deemed to be an earthquake risk will need a more detailed assessment to accurately identify the risk and, if confirmed to be earthquake prone, to suggest a strengthening approach.
"It is important that building owners and the community understand an initial engineering assessment is very much an indicator only and that more work is usually needed to understand the level of risk associated with a particular building," said Mr Wong.
The Council is concerned the owners of 36 buildings have not been in contact but at this stage will not be undertaking the assessments itself.
"We hope owners we haven't heard from are having their buildings assessed and are taking a responsible approach," said Mr Wong.
The Government recently indicated changes will be made to earthquake prone building legislation late this year or early next year. The Council will then review its policy in light of any new requirements.
"We expect the legislation to be more focussed in terms of the approaches councils can take and will need to ensure our policy is consistent with any changes," said Mr Wong.
In the meantime the Council will continue to advise building owners to take a safety first approach.
"Our primary concern is public safety and we certainly expect building owners to share this view," Mr Wong added.
To date the Council has issued 21 consents for building strengthening following engineering assessments showing local owners are willing to invest in improving their building stock.