Earthquake-prone buildings in Wellington

Last updated 11:02 15/03/2011

There are an estimated 600 earthquake-prone buildings in Wellington that could kill and maim thousands when the big one strikes.

The Dominion Post has created this map to illustrate the locations of those buildings which have been inspected by Wellington City Council, and is based on information coming directly from them.

If you have updated information concerning this graphic, please email web@dompost.co.nz. Graphic by Michael Mulheron.

A recent report by Greater Wellington regional council spelt out a bleak picture for the capital of the likely consequences of an earthquake similar to the 7.1 magnitude one in Canterbury last September.

It found up to 1500 people would die and 13,000 would suffer injuries. Previous forecasting estimated 300 deaths in Wellington.

Up to 1500 central city buildings would burn as ruptured gas mains caused fires. About 18,000 homes would be destroyed and 50,000 damaged. Wellington's CBD alone could be strewn with 2.25 million tonnes of debris.

Two years ago, Wellington City Council stretched out by five years the time that owners had to re- strengthen their earthquake-prone buildings. But after Canterbury's 7.1 magnitude shake in September, the capital's earthquake-prone policy was reviewed, with the findings due this month. This study has since been extended to consider lessons from last month's killer quake.

The review will not only consider reducing the time owners have to strengthen their buildings, but also whether appropriate heritage rules could be relaxed to allow more latitude and flexibility in strengthening.

It could lead to the replacement of heavy masonry such as parapets or chimneys with replicas built from lighter glass-fibre, timber or carbon-fibre materials.

Rule changes could force building owners who can't afford the strengthening work to remove these heavy and dangerous parapets and chimneys from the roofs and facades of their premises.

There may also be an increase in grant funding to help more owners complete strengthening work.

Wellington Mayor Celia Wade- Brown says the restrengthening timeframes - 10, 15 or 20 years depending on the work required - are maximums. They were imposed, partly, to give building owners time to find money to pay for the work.

Related stories:

A list of the earthquake-prone buildings in Wellington

If Wellington shudder, how will the city cope?

What are buildings required to withstand?

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