Quake-risk buildings list grows

JANINE RANKIN
Last updated 12:00 09/04/2014
Norfolk
GRANT MATTHEW/Fairfax NZ
NORFOLK CHAMBERS: The Grey St building has been listed as quake-prone.

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Five more buildings have been added to Palmerston North's list of earthquake-prone buildings.

The additions to the public list, which now stands at a total of 151, are Norfolk Chambers, Bed Barn and an office building in Grey St, and Princeway Panel Beaters and Central Rentals in Princess St.

Of the new listings, all but the offices at 52-60 Grey St are rated an E, assessed at 25 times more likely than a building meeting the new building code standards of collapsing in a moderate earthquake.

None of them are listed as heritage buildings.

City council customer services general manager Peter Eathorne said the building owners would need to follow up the initial assessments by getting their own structural integrity reports, or start planning to overcome the risks.

So far, the council has done initial assessments on about half of the 400 buildings it identified as priorities for checks.

Most of them are unreinforced masonry buildings in the centre of town, have high public use, or are important as emergency services buildings.

Several building owners have already provided reports showing that their buildings rate above the earthquake-prone threshold, or have carried out remedial work, and the buildings have been removed from the list.

While the council continues to work through its list of identified buildings, it has also made a submission on the Building Amendment Bill asking for more time to assess and strengthen all buildings assessed as earthquake-prone.

The proposed time frame is five years for assessments, and 15 years to demolish or strengthen.

An estimated 1532 buildings in the central business district and outer business zone are likely to need to be checked. The council has questioned whether the city has the resources to get the job done within the total 20-year time frame.

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- Manawatu Standard

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