Wellington’s unreinforced masonry buildings secured

1 October 2018

Of the 113 Wellington buildings with dangerous facades, all but one has completed their reinforcing work within their deadline.

168 Cuba Street URM work

Building owners have had 18 months to secure their Unreinforced Masonry (URM) elements.

“It’s a real achievement that the city has reached this milestone,” says Wellington Mayor Justin Lester.

“Having the URM elements secured means Wellington is a safer, more resilient place for all of us.

“Three months ago 54 building owners were still to complete their work. There’s been a concerted effort by these owners to meet this tight deadline and on behalf of the city I’d like to congratulate them for their efforts.”

One building owner has failed to meet their deadline. However, this work is due to be completed today, Monday 1 October 2018. 

All building owners who met their deadline are eligible to funding support from the Government and Wellington City Council. 

Wellington City Council URM Programme Manager Hayley Moselen says “this has been a challenging project with tight deadlines. The Council appreciates the determination shown by owners and everyone involved to secure these buildings.”

“Over the last 18 months, Council officers have got to know these building owners and their contract teams well. They’ve all faced obstacles and unique circumstances and have pushed through these to get the work done.”

Unreinforced masonry is clay brick, concrete block or stone units bound together using lime or cement mortar, without any reinforcing elements such as steel bars.

Thirty-nine people were killed and more than 100 people were injured by unreinforced masonry buildings in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake.

Following the Kaikōura Earthquakes in 2016, Government passed a Recovery Act. It enabled councils to require owners of certain URM buildings to secure their street-facing URM parapets and facades within 12 months (from March 2017). The deadline was later extended by six months.