Warning to spend on seismic strengthening

A top property consultant is advising property owners nationwide not to skimp on seismic strengthening of buildings if they do not want it to cost them more in the long term.

Brian Jones, director of property consulting firm Hampton Jones, said the outcome of New Zealand seismic research was expected to change the face of commercial property.

He believed the research would influence changes to seismic standards, which would affect building owners and occupiers throughout the country.

Jones said the actual costs of strengthening a building were not always as significant as people believed, particularly when compared with loss of income if spaces remained untenanted.

"Those landlords undertaking strengthening work in the short term may wish to go beyond meeting current minimum strengthening standards, as I believe the building standards will be increased once the review of current standards has been completed."

Jones said new seismic research had the potential to be of huge economic benefit to the country, with studies from organisations such as GNS Science along with the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago producing valuable insights into building design and the performance of construction materials during earthquakes.

This information was now being used to update national seismic codes.

Jones viewed this research as a huge economic growth opportunity for New Zealand, because the country was likely to become the international leader in the study and construction of seismic resistant buildings.

"Our entire country is exposed to seismic and volcanic risk and, as we have a large percentage of the population who would be at risk in the event of a significant event, there is a pressing need to continue the research into those areas," he said.

"We know that it is possible to build buildings that are economically resilient.

"We are becoming experts on how to build buildings that are economically resilient after an earthquake so that they can be quickly and economically repaired after a seismic event."

While Hampton Jones' expertise lies in the seismic performance of buildings, rather than seismic research, he believes continuing research will be of great financial benefit for New Zealand.

Waikato Times