News | 12 May 2017

Summary of ‘80’ targeted building assessments released

The final reports of the targeted building assessments have been reviewed and a summary of all the findings, including nine recommendations for making Wellington safer in the future, has been shared by Wellington City Council today.

Following the November earthquake, and under temporary powers granted through the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act 2002, Wellington City Council required owners of buildings that met certain attributes to complete a thorough engineering assessment on their property.

Under the conditions that the emergency powers were granted, the details of individual buildings cannot be released by anyone except the building owner. However, an anonymous, high level summary of the results has been created to support the recommendations.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the inspections and recommendations are about making the city safer in the event of future earthquakes.

“Making our city more resilient and keeping people safe is our top priority. It’s why we asked for extra powers to compel inspections and it’s why we are releasing a series of recommendations today to help make our city safer in the future,” he says.

“We were able to make a statement in February confirming that based on what we received, we had no concerns around public safety with these buildings. Now we’re able to go a step further and share a summary of the reports as well as key recommendations which will enable building owners, engineers and government agencies to refine current standards and make improvements.

“We are grateful for Central Government’s quick action which gave the Council the power to act and undertake this programme.”

Wellington City Council’s Resilience Manager Mike Mendonca says the report reveals a range of different levels of damage suffered by buildings after the earthquake.

“The results today reinforce how important it was that these targeted inspections were carried out. There was a spectrum of damage identified and all buildings with significant issues are either closed for further assessments or repair and strengthening work is under way.

“The targeted assessment process has given us confidence that these building owners take their responsibilities seriously. The more we can learn from events like November 14 and share, the more we can prepare ourselves for the next one.”

A summary of the recommendations within the report are:

  • Building Owners should get the recommended work done.
  • The engineering sector is working under urgency on technical solutions to retrofit, repair and strengthen buildings with precast floors.
  • The sector is also working on how to address seismic rating variability (NBS).
  • As with the Statistics House report, there does seem to be a correlation with soil and ground conditions. Wellington City Council continues to refine its knowledge of ground conditions across the city.
  • Wellington City Council will work with MBIE to ensure the findings from this report inform Post Earthquake Assessment processes.
  • Wellington City Council is considering options as part of the Annual Plan process to improve the sensor networks across the city.