Earthquake-Prone Buildings

The unsettled ground that we have been living on since 4 September 2010 and the experience of Christchurch on 22 February 2011 have changed a lot of community attitudes towards earthquake-prone buildings.

The problem isn’t new, and the Council was about to reconsider its existing policy when the 4 September quake struck. It is probable that some of our buildings have been earthquake-prone since the day they were built and that what has changed is that better knowledge and community attitudes have led to increasingly stringent regulations.

Robbies in Rangiora (formerly the Junction Hotel) has been getting a lot of publicity this week, but we could remember that the large fancy parapet that you can see in the photo fell off in an earthquake on Christmas Day, 1922.

There are a number of buildings of concern in the District, including both Kaiapoi and Rangiora (but also beyond these).  Some commercial building owners in the District have received notices from CERA asking for engineers reports by a certain date.

The Council is very conscious of the need for public safety but also that we do not want the commercial hearts of our towns shut down. We will be working alongside building owners and their tenants to help them get the necessary engineering assssments and carry out strengthening if it is needed.  We are also thinking about temporary accommodation for businesses.

The community is walking a tightrope on this one.


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