Early upgrade stands buildings in good stead

RHONDA MARKBY
Last updated 05:00 31/01/2013
stephen newman
JOHN BISSET/ Fairfax NZ

STEEL SECURITY: Stephen Newman and Betty Manning, of Newman Manning Holdings, look at some of the steelwork installed as part of the earthquake strengthening work done on their Stafford St building in the 1980s.

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Stephen Newman jokes he will charge people 50 cents to stay somewhere safe during an earthquake.

And while the Timaru property owner might be joking, he is very thankful he spent the money to earthquake strengthen two Stafford St properties more than 20 years ago.

It was when he wanted to undertake major renovations of the two buildings, and shift his music school upstairs above what is now Unichem Timaru and Chapters and Verses, that he was "compelled to upgrade to the A1 standard," Mr Newman said. The work cost around $300,000, of which $50,000 was required for the earthquake strengthening.

"There is steel all over the place," he said of the way the buildings are tied together.

"Having done it we feel secure," he said.

Mr Newman has no doubt the work would have been more expensive to undertake now.

It has also been easier to obtain earthquake insurance for the building because it has already been strengthened, however he has been told his premium will still go up 52 per cent this year.

"As a landlord you are aware of tenants' fears. Landlords need to be the best they can be, otherwise it is not fair on the tenants," he said.

In spite of the work already done, the building is still not fully compliant of the new building code. To do that, Mr Newman wants the council to allow him to have posts on his verandah.

At present the verandah is "tied" to the building like with many other buildings along the main street.

He said anchoring the verandah to posts will strengthen the building.

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- The Timaru Herald

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