Building owners given notice
Auckland Council is expecting challenges from owners of buildings identified as earthquakeprone.
Owners of around 1800 earthquake-prone buildings in Auckland can expect letters, notifying them of their building’s status, from November.
Building owners that have had their buildings assessed as earthquake-prone will be able to either accept the assessment and be added to a national register or undertake a private assessment within a year.
A building is deemed earthquake-prone if its seismic strength is assessed as less than 34 per cent of the design standard for a new building in the same location.
Auckland Council expects it could face several challenges from building owners.
This could include owners who had not been previously notified, owners who bought without realising its status, buildings with more than one owner and building owners who refused to display a required earthquake-prone notice.
In 2014 economist Ian Harrison released a report showing strengthening old Auckland buildings to the required 34 per cent standard would cost $3 billion.
Auckland Council manager of building consents Ian Mccormick said Auckland was a low seismic risk zone and being confirmed as earthquake-prone did not mean the building was unsafe to occupy or use.
Waitemata Local Board had about 795 earthquake-prone buildings, the most in Auckland with the next highest in Albert Eden Local Board area having 381.
Waitemata Local Board member Vernon Tava, who has the heritage, urban design and planning portfolio, said there was no cause for panic.
‘‘We don’t want people to be alarmed or to feel they can’t continue working in or owning or supporting a heritage building because of the strengthening,’’ Tava said.
‘‘We want heritage to be protected as best as possible.’’
When the issue first reared its head there was a lot of fear mongering, but it was often a lot less serious and expensive than people thought, he said.
It could take up to 15 months to issue letters to owners and strengthening had be done within 35 years from the date the notice was issued.
Waitemata Local Board member Vernon Tava is speaking with concerned building owners.