Making Main Streets Earthquake Safe

Published: 07-Dec-2018

Three main thoroughfares across the District have been given special designation under new legislation which aims to prepare the area as best as possible for future earthquakes.

Legislation in The Building (Earthquake-Prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 says that buildings identified as earthquake-prone have 15 years to meet seismic strengthening requirements.

However, those located on priority routes – such as strategic thoroughfares in case of emergencies – have just half that.

Fortunately for the Waimakariri District there are only a handful of identified thoroughfares and affected buildings. These are:

  • Williams Street, Kaiapoi – the former BNZ building
  • Walker Street, Kaiapoi – Kaiapoi Mill
  • High Street, Rangiora – approximately nine buildings

A report was approved by Council at its meeting earlier this week, which recommended that it adopt the following as priority routes and acknowledge earthquake prone buildings along these.

Regulation Manager Nick Harrison says “We’re fortunate in our District that building owners have carried out a lot of work so we have very few earthquake-prone buildings remaining. We still need to recognise the risk these few un-strengthened buildings pose if they fail in an earthquake and block critical access routes important for the community.”

To determine which routes and building were identified as being ‘priority’ Council looked at both strategic thoroughfares and those with a high risk of being blocked due to un-strengthened buildings being nearby.

Waimakariri building owners are aware of their responsibilities under the Act, and the Council is confident that owners will meet the timeframes for seismic strengthening work.