Evaluations done on only 390 buildings
Christchurch Earthquake 2011
The Christchurch City Council is in the dark over how 95 per cent of the city's commercial buildings stack up against the new building code.
A council report on the merits of introducing a public rating system based on how buildings measure up against the new building standard shows the council holds detailed engineering evaluations on only 390 of the 7500 commercial buildings in Christchurch. It is unaware of how the rest of the buildings measure up.
The evaluations on the 390 buildings have been provided to the council by the Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, which has the power to require a structural survey of buildings and has been doing so since last October.
There is no legislative mandate for introducing a building rating system, and building owners cannot be compelled to display a building rating system, but the Canterbury earthquakes royal commission and the Business Innovation and Employment Ministry are investigating options for such a practice.
After a unanimous vote by city councillors last month, the council has been looking at how a building rating system might work.
In a report prepared for tomorrow's planning committee meeting, resource consents and building policy unit manager Steve McCarthy noted the council had made submissions to the royal commission endorsing a building rating system based broadly on the Quake Star concept developed in the United States and adapted for use here.
The concept uses the star symbol to depict how well engineers believe a building would withstand quake damage. The more stars, the stronger the building.
McCarthy said the commission was due to release its report in mid-November and it was likely to include recommendations on how to assess and publicly disclose information about a building's safety.
Once the ministry had considered those recommendations, proposals would probably be put to the Cabinet for amendments to the Building Act to provide for structural assessments and rating of all commercial and public buildings in New Zealand.
McCarthy is recommending that the council wait for "legislative direction from the Government" before it proceeds with proposals for a building rating system.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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