Wellington's older homes leave residents more vulnerable, warns Insurance Council

Wellington has the country's highest percentage of homes built more than 75 years ago. (File photo)
JOHN NICHOLSON/STUFF

Wellington has the country's highest percentage of homes built more than 75 years ago. (File photo)

Wellington's unusually large stock of old houses is putting residents at greater risk from earthquakes, the Insurance Council has warned.

A survey run by the council has shown the capital has the nation's largest stock of homes more than 75 years old, and the fewest residents living in houses less than 25 years old.

The figures were not a surprise, but would be factored into the premiums Wellingtonians paid for earthquake cover, Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) chief executive Tim Grafton said.

Combined earthquake hazard map for Wellington.
SUPPLIED

Combined earthquake hazard map for Wellington.

The good news for capital residents is that the survey also showed Wellingtonians were better at checking their homes for quake resilience than homeowners elsewhere.

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Wellington City Council chief resilience officer Mike Mendonca said those figures were positive, but there was still room for improvement.

"The reason we worry is, if you're displaced from where your work, that's one thing. But if you're displaced from where you live, that's another issue."

The city council was working toward an earthquake resilience budget to put forward for councillors' consideration in the city's Long-term Plan, he said.

The city's commercial sector had vastly improved when it came to earthquake preparedness, but the residential sector had "never actually done it". "We are getting there."

"Older homes will be more vulnerable in an earthquake, generally," says Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton. ...
SUPPLIED

"Older homes will be more vulnerable in an earthquake, generally," says Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton. "It's important to do the checks for your own life, safety, to ensure the house won't come down on top of you." (File photo)

The UMR phone survey, run by ICNZ, surveyed 750 people, including 300 Wellingtonians, aged over 18. It found 21 per cent of Wellingtonians lived in homes over 75 years old, which was six percentage points higher than the national rate.

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Homes between 26 and 75 years old housed 59 per cent of Wellingtonians, compared with 50 per cent nationally. Only 20 per cent of Wellingtonians lived in homes under 25 years old, compared with 34 per cent nationally.

Grafton said the capital's older homes raised earthquake risks for Wellingtonians, who already faced a higher danger than people in other parts of the country, thanks to its sitting on three major fault lines.

Wellington City Council chief resilience officer Mike Mendonca urged people not to ignore doing quake checks on their ...
SUPPLIED

Wellington City Council chief resilience officer Mike Mendonca urged people not to ignore doing quake checks on their homes. "The reason we worry is, if you're displaced from where your work, that's one thing. But if you're displaced from where you live, that's another issue." (File photo)

The Wellington fault runts right through the middle of the capital. Other active faults in the region include the Wairarapa fault line and Ōhāriu fault line.

"Older homes will be more vulnerable in an earthquake, generally," Grafton said. "It's important to do the checks for your own life, safety, to ensure the house won't come down on top of you."

The survey found Wellingtonians were ahead of national figures when it came to checks on sub-floors for borer and dampness, even flooring, properly aligned foundations, braced roofs and repiled homes.

QUAKE CHECKS:

* Secure your hot water cylinder and your ceiling/roof header water tank.
* Remove your chimney if not in use, or check its stability and safety if still used.
* Correctly fasten the floor bearers to the piles and check the stability of the piles.
* Check the foundations and the connections of the floor joists to bearers.
* If you have a clay or cement tile roof, check the wire fixing tiles to tile battens.

Source: Insurance Council of New Zealand

 - Stuff

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