The service, called Quakecheck, has been developed in partnership with Master Builders and Certified Builders, and is the first service of its kind in New Zealand. It is being trialled in Wellington city and is available to residential property owners at a cost of $160 for a two-hour assessment. If the service proves popular it may be offered in other parts of the Wellington region.
The Council worked with both organisations to help establish the service and will be helping to promote it.
Mayor Celia Wade-Brown says that making the city more resilient is a priority for the Council and a broad range of projects are being undertaken to help achieve this objective.
"This is the third phase of our project to ensure Wellington homes are as resilient as possible," says the Mayor. "Council held a series of meetings throughout the city about the earthquake strengthening issue, we have released a booklet called 'Earthquake Strengthen Your Home' and now we are pleased to offer this very affordable assessment service.
"Quakecheck is aimed at providing confidence, safety and security for homeowners," she says.
Brian Ludlow of the Certified Builders Association says they are pleased to be working with the Council and Master Builders to offer the new service. "We think it will be very helpful to people who are concerned about their property. Assessors will check the security of the foundations of the house, the stability of the chimney, connections between the floor and bearer and whether clay or cement roof tiles are properly secured," he explains.
"The customer is provided with information on whether the features of their property that have been assessed need strengthening, and an estimate for the cost of having the work done," says Warwick Quinn, Chief Executive of the Registered Master Builders Federation. "We think the service is good value for money for property owners and will be popular," he adds.
Councillor Iona Pannett, the Council's Built Environment Portfolio Leader, says the Quakecheck service complements the free home strengthening guide. "Many people will use the guide to make checks on their property. Other people may not feel confident about getting on their roof to look at their chimney or going under the house to check their foundations and may want to book a professional assessment."
"We know there is a demand for this service as 150 people registered to have their home assessed before the service was even established," she says.
People can book a Quakecheck home assessment online.