The next step in managing earthquake prone buildings (EPB) in Hamilton starts next month, with the introduction of notices for some of the city’s buildings displaying their EPB rating.
The notices are new to Hamilton but have been in place in other areas of New Zealand over recent years. They are part of a nationwide process led by MBIE, starting with regions which have a higher likelihood of moderate earthquakes. As a medium-risk area, Hamilton is required to identify and placard EPBs this year.
Council’s Building Control Manager Cory Lang says it’s important people understand the notices don’t mean the building is unsafe or that people should stop using them.
“The latest guidance from MBIE has been clear that a low seismic rating, in itself, doesn’t stop the building from continuing to be used. The assessments and notices are part of a process to identify what work is needed on buildings and allow time for building owners to decide how to approach it.
Owners of buildings in Hamilton have between 12 and a half and 25 years to do the work.
“People might have questions if they see a notice on a building they use regularly, so we’ve produced some fact sheets and other info and we’re encouraging local landlords and others involved in the property industry to share information explaining what it’s all about,” Mr Lang says.
The rating is determined by a building’s weakest element so if one area has a low rating this is the score that will be applied to the entire building until it is removed or repaired.
Buildings are regarded as earthquake-prone if they are assessed as being less than one-third of the strength required for a new build in the same location in a moderate earthquake.
Eventually all EPB in New Zealand will be listed on a national register. Council has been working with property owners in Hamilton over the past 12 months to identify potential buildings and receive assessment reports.