As many of you will know, Central Hawke’s Bay experiences earthquakes, many of these are small and go unnoticed. However, there is always a risk of a large earthquake occurring, causing damage to property, disrupting emergency services and possibly isolating communities for a time. Central Hawke’s Bay has been categorised as a high-seismic risk area.
In July 2017 the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 came into force. This Act is a result of the significant damage and loss of life caused by the serious earthquakes in Christchurch.
The Act provides a new system to ensure our buildings are managed for future earthquakes in a consistent way across the country and to provide more information to people who use and own buildings that are at risk in an earthquake.
The Amendment Act prioritises the identification and remediation of earthquake prone buildings that either pose a risk to safety of inhabitants, or are critical to recovery efforts in an earthquake. The first step for Central Hawke’s Bay District Council is to identify all ‘priority buildings’, these are categorised as:
The definitions of these buildings are controlled by the Amendment Act. Other buildings may be considered ’Priority’ if they are located on a route of pedestrian or traffic importance that may be required to be clear in the time of an emergency. We were required to consult on our routes of importance and we did so throughout September and October 2018. Throughout this time we also held two building owner forums for owners of buildings in our district to attend to learn more about this process, talk to our staff and specialists and ask questions.
On 13th December 2018 Council approved the areas of priority routes in both Waipukurau and Waipawa, these areas are based on the guidance recommendations from Ministry for the Environment and the consultation process we undertook.
Due to our location in a high-seismic risk area, we are must identify priority buildings by 1 January 2020. Building owners who own a priority building have 12 months to get an engineering assessment of the building which will inform us of the earthquake prone status and if remedial work is required it must be undertaken within 7.5 years.
If the building is not already identified because it is a hospital, emergency or education building, then the building will be an unreinforced masonry building ‘URM’ which means that in an earthquake a part of the building could fall onto the road or footpath, potentially injuring people or blocking the route. These parts of the buildings are, for example, a parapet, an external wall or a verandah. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment sets out clear guidance about how to identify these buildings.
No, but if you have any information about your building, have had strengthening work done in the past or have any query at all, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to discuss this with you.
Yes, some work was done and identified buildings along the main streets of Waipukurau and Waipawa as being potentially susceptible to earthquake damage if a big one hits. Building owners were notified and as a result a few owners did upgrade their buildings. No further work by Council was carried out after 2012 and as the legislation has changed we are now required to revisit that work as well as ensure we follow the new requirements.
Council recognises the challenges that the requirements of the Act will bring to building and business owners. In parallel to this process, Council will be running regular forums to support building and business owners to gain greater understanding of the Act, its impacts and other opportunities. In conjunction with this, as part of the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan, Council also included Town Centre Planning as a longer term project to ensure our Town Centres remain active and diverse places for building and business investment to remain. A new Community Pride and Vibrancy Fund, has also been established to support local pride, vibrancy and placemaking in our communities.
Yes, this first stage is about identifying priority buildings, Council then needs to identify all ‘other’ buildings by 1 July 2022. If your building is considered to be earthquake prone under this identification process you will have 15 years to undertake remediation work. Given the longer time frames, Council is not currently carrying out this work at this time as we are focussing on the priority building identification.
Throughout December and January Council staff will be compiling a list of buildings within the areas identified and we will start to undertake our assessments, with the aim of identifying all priority buildings by June 2019.
If Council staff or any consultant that we have hired to undertake this work on our behalf needs to do a site visit we will make contact with you before we visit.
To determine which pedestrian and vehicular routes and routes of strategic importance, are located within our District, we are consulting with you. This consultation will help us determine if there are any 'priority buildings' along these routes that have to be identified by the 1 January 2020 timeline.
If you would like to contact us about any of the above information, if you have queries or concerns, please send us an email at email@example.com or call Alison Francis, Customer and Consents Manager on (06) 857 8060
16 December 2018
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