News | 2 May 2023
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Guide to building a more resilient future

A new guide produced by Wellington City Council for heritage building owners will help ensure the city is safer and more resilient for the future.

Mount Victoria heritage buildings.
Mount Victoria heritage buildings: Credit Maanvi Chawla

Aotearoa sits on the Ring of Fire, and Wellington has a long history of earthquakes. The city’s building construction has changed and evolved based on what has been learnt about how buildings respond to earthquakes.


Guide to Seismic Strengthening for Heritage Building Owners


Standards set by MBIE identify buildings, or parts of buildings, that achieve below 34 percent of the New Building Standard (NBS) as having a higher chance of causing damage or injury in an earthquake. As per the set legislation on earthquake risk, they are considered earthquake-prone and require to be remediated in a specific amount of time.


The Guide to Seismic Strengthening for Heritage Building Owners is intended to support the owners of earthquake-prone heritage buildings to secure their buildings and to ensure long-term use, or sustainable reuse. 


It provides a practical step-by-step guide to strengthening heritage buildings, and aims to remove much of the uncertainty, stress and complexity currently experienced by many building owners in the capital.


Manager Strategic Planning Sean Audain welcomes this guide as an additional Council support for heritage building owners.


“Wellington’s heritage buildings are an important part of our story as a city, it’s important that the people who own and work on these buildings have the information they need to successfully strengthen them.”

The recent launch event for the Guide to Seismic Strengthening was a great success according to Clara Caponi, Associate Engineer at Egis.

“It was a fantastic event and response from the engineering community to this event, and a great opportunity to be a part of the discussion. More than 900 registered for this event, and several dozen attended the seminar in person which testifies to the relevance of the guide for the engineering practice and the willingness of our engineering community to improve the assistance to heritage building owners.”

The Council also supports owners of heritage buildings through the funding scheme of Heritage Resilience and Regeneration Fund (HRRF).

This fund supports Wellington’s unique heritage buildings to be safely adapted and preserved for the future generations. Of the total fund, 15 percent is reserved for conservation-specific work, whilst 85 percent is applied to work related to earthquake strengthening.