Lawyers urged to be familiar with new earthquake-prone buildings requirements

by Sol Dolor07 Oct 2016
Engineering Design Consultants (EDC) is urging lawyers and accountants to be familiar with the requirements under the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016.
The call comes as the engineering consultancy firm reminds its fellow professionals in different fields that the new law was passed in May 2016 and will likely become operative in 2018.
The legislation will ultimately affect all building owners in New Zealand, EDC said, with local councils even notifying owners if the council believes a building is earthquake prone.
Timeframes for councils to assess buildings range from 2.5 years for high-priority buildings in high risk areas to up to 15 years in lower-risk areas, the engineering firm said.
Buildings found to be earthquake prone will require strengthening or demolition, it stressed.
Remediation timeframes range from 7.5 years for high-priority buildings in high-risk areas to up to 35 years for lower risk areas, with the countdown beginning once a building is tagged earthquake prone.
Earthquake prone buildings are judged via three criteria.
They are buildings which seismic strength is less than the seismic demand in a moderate earthquake, which is defined as a third of the current code seismic loading level.
Furthermore, collapse of the building in a moderate earthquake is likely to result in injury or death, or damage to other property.
Thirdly, these are buildings which are not houses or farm structures. These are buildings which are offices, shops, factories, multi-unit residences with at least 2 floors and at least three units, hotels, hospitals, heathers and the like.
The comprehensive guide prepared by EDC can be read via the firm’s resources page.