Earthquake prone building register in Auckland

Source: NZ Herald

Aucklanders will be able to find out soon which of the city’s commercial buildings could collapse in a moderate earthquake.

Two weeks after the Auckland Council refused to release the “earthquake-prone building register” of 412 unreinforced buildings in the old Auckland City Council’s area, a mayoral spokesman yesterday said the first cut of an Auckland-wide report of earthquake-prone buildings should be completed by the end of next month.

The report would include details of a method of coming up with a more detailed report by next year, the spokesman said.

Council chief executive Doug McKay – with backing from Mayor Len Brown – would not release the register two weeks ago, saying it was out of date and could affect owners’ property values.

Mr Brown said the council was taking a “measured response” to the issue and asked officers to draw up a regionwide list of earthquake-prone buildings as quickly as possible.

Many of the 412 buildings are in old town centres built over a hundred years ago, such as Dominion Rd, Kingsland, Sandringham Rd and Onehunga Mall.

About 5 per cent of commercial buildings and 2 per cent of residential structures in the city centre are reinforced.

The Building Act defines earthquake-prone buildings as those likely to collapse in a moderate quake, causing injury or death, or damage to any other property.

Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye, who wrote to Mr Brown on March 7 about the timeframe for releasing a list of earthquake-prone buildings, yesterday welcomed quick progress on the issue.

“I think the important thing is to ensure that when the list is released, there is a clear policy from the Auckland Council to ensure the information is regularly updated and is readily available to the public in an accessible way.

“The purpose of having this information in the public domain is so that we can make more informed choices about where we choose to work or spend time.”

By Bernard Orsman