The Earthquake Prone Building) Amendment Act

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The Building (Earthquake-prone Building) Amendment Act received royal ascent in May 2016. The bill reforms New Zealand’s approach to responding to the risk the built environment poses during an earthquake. It increases central government influence and regulation. It has been influenced by the Canterbury Earthquakes and the subsequent findings of the Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission.
In recent history, under the Building Act (1991) buildings were deemed to be earthquake-prone if they underwent catastrophic collapse causing injury or death, when the shaking intensity was half as intense, as required by the building code, which the act introduced. However, the act did not apply retrospectively and as such many of the
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Property groups and businesses are concerned that the necessary investment does not increase the value of their building. It is an expense with no real private gain. Consequently, there is a risk of demolition being utilised as a realistic alternative to strengthening. This is particularly true in smaller towns were there may not be businesses or investors who can afford strengthening, and thus demolish their buildings. MATAMATA EXAMPLE. If these buildings are not replaced it could result in empty sites in a town, which could have pejorative impacts on community …show more content…
Priority buildings are intended to address buildings that will restrict the ability of emergency services to respond to an earthquake and reduce the risks to life-safety in an earthquake, by addressing some of the more dangerous components of buildings first. The timeframe for identification and remediation is reduced to half that of other EPBs, in the same risk zone. Priority buildings can only be identified in medium or high seismic risk areas. The first class of priority buildings are parts of hospitals that are essential to providing healthcare services in the event of a disaster. Secondly, educational facilities, whether they be private or public institutions at any level, are priority buildings. The third class is emergency service facilities such as police, fire and ambulance stations and any emergency shelters and centres, typically known as a civil defence shelters. Corridor buildings that the TAs have identified as possibly impeding strategic transport routes, if they were to collapse, are priority buildings. The final class of priority buildings include parts of unreinforced masonry buildings that could fall in an earthquake onto a road, footpath or other thoroughfare. TAs must use the special consultative procedures under the Local Government Act 2002 to identify corridor buildings and access ways threatened by unreinforced

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