More sensible earthquake strengthening rules

Stuff reports:

Major changes to the rules around assessing buildings means the number of structures needing inspection has dropped from 500,000 to 30,000.

The Government was revising its policy on managing earthquake risk by better targeting regulations on buildings which posed the greatest risk to life, Building and Housing Minister Nick Smith announced on. 

The policy’s priority was public safety and minimising future fatalities, he said. 

The timeframe for assessing and strengthening buildings that posed a risk would be varied from the current assessment period of five years and require any strengthening work be carried out within 15 years.

The country would be split into low, medium and high risk seismic risk zones with respective timeframes for assessment of five, 10 and 15 years, and strengthening to be carried out within 15, 25 and 35 years.

Linking the timeframes to risk is much more sensible than the same requirements over the whole country.

Smith said the more targeted approach would reduce the estimated cost from $1.360 billion to $777m while retaining the safety gains. 

The policy would result in an estimated 330 fewer deaths and 360 fewer serious injuries from over the next century, he said. 

So cost less, and be more effective. Good.

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