INDEPENDENT NEWS

LGNZ says earthquake building policy provides certainty

Published: Wed 7 Aug 2013 06:38 PM
7 August 2013
LGNZ says earthquake building policy provides certainty
Local Government New Zealand, the peak body representing local authorities around New Zealand, says today’s Government announcement on earthquake-prone building strengthening requirements is pragmatic and provides clarity to councils and their communities.
LGNZ’s President, Lawrence Yule, stated that while the total strengthening timeframe has been extended from 15 to 20 years, and overall the policy decisions appear to be workable, the impact on territorial authorities around New Zealand will vary.
“While the decisions provide a consistent approach nationally, councils around new Zealand will differ in their response to the requirements. A number of councils which are already well-progressed in assessing buildings may question whether the new rules require a quick enough response to earthquake-related risks, and whether the strengthening levels are high enough,” Mr Yule said.
“For others, the timeframe to complete assessments within five years will be challenging, simply because of the commitment of council resources to other projects.
“It’s also unclear what, if any, additional costs these seismic assessments will require and LGNZ is currently analysing the potential impact on councils and ratepayers.”
LGNZ noted that while the building strengthening standards had not changed, market forces were in many cases driving up strengthening standards well beyond minimum requirements.
“With regards to building standards staying at current levels, we have observed that where there is sufficient demand for properties, the market seems to be taking care of this already,” Mr Yule said.
LGNZ will work closely with its members to analyse the implications of the decisions announced today.
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