Our Wellington

News | 25 February 2021

How we can support building owners

We’ve all heard the term ‘earthquake-prone buildings’, but what exactly does it mean? What are your responsibilities as a building owner? And how can Wellington City Council help?

To answer these questions and more, we sat down with Hayley Moselen, who manages the Resilient Buildings Team, responsible for the earthquake-prone building programme for Wellington city.

In the third of three articles, we discover how big the issue is, and what help is available for owners.

A shot of Wellington city and harbour at twilight.

How many buildings have notices on them in Wellington?

Hayley: Since 2006, Council has assessed over 6,400 buildings and 1,031 of these were found to be earthquake prone. Of these, 452 have been strengthened or demolished, and we now have around 579 earthquake-prone buildings in the city with a significant number of notices expiring in the next seven years.

READ MORE:
Meet our Resilient Buildings Team
Earthquake-prone buildings, explained

Some of these buildings are large and complex (like the Town Hall) and some are small corner dairies and fish and chip shops. This graph shows the building use and expiry dates of our current earthquake-prone buildings.

A colourful graph spanning from 2012 to 2035 showing the dates that Earthquake Prone Building notices expire.

What do the owners need to do?

Hayley: If they’re stuck they can call us. We are here to help and talk with any building owner who doesn’t know what to do to or where to start to resolve the issues with their earthquake-prone building. We don’t want to end up penalising anyone, but we will if building owners do not meet the deadlines as stated on their notice. That’s our last resort.

The Council offers a range of support options for building owners who are managing earthquake-prone buildings and this includes rates remission, building consent fee rebates, the Built Heritage Incentive Fund and the Building Resilience Fund.

Kāinga Ora is also offering the Residential Earthquake-prone Building Financial Assistance Scheme which is in place to support owner-occupiers of earthquake-prone apartment buildings that are facing financial hardship as a result of the costs of undertaking seismic work to their buildings. Find out more here: https://kaingaora.govt.nz/working-with-us/residential-earthquake-prone-building-financial-assistance-scheme/

Do you need advice or support?

Whatever your earthquake-prone building issue, we are here to support you and help you to understand the steps you need to take to improve the earthquake safety of your building. Please get in touch. Email: buildingresilience@wcc.govt.nz Phone: 04 499 4444 and ask to speak to one of the Resilient Buildings team members.

From 9 February 2021, you can apply for the Council’s Building Resilience Fund. This fund helps owners of non-heritage buildings with the cost or part-cost of a seismic assessment and design ahead of building strengthening. Find out more here: https://wellington.govt.nz/community-support-and-resources/community-support/funding/council-funds/building-resilience-fund