Half of the New Zealand buildings suspected to have design flaws similar to the Canterbury Television Building, which collapsed in the February 2011 earthquake and killed 115 people, have been cleared by engineers.
Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson today announced that a Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment-led review of 242 buildings with non-ductile columns has cleared 111 buildings, with excluded a further 62 so far.
Two North Island buildings have been vacated due to a number of issues, Mr Williamson said.
Another one building in Christchurch has been upgraded and its structural issues resolved.
The review so far has seen 79 buildings in Auckland being assessed by engineers and cleared, along with 18 in Wellington.
In Christchurch, 13 buildings were originally in scope.
But 12 have now been deemed out of scope because they have been demolished, acquired for demolition or did not have non-ductile columns.
The one building in scope has been upgraded and its previous structural issues resolved.
In other areas, excluding Christchurch, 13 buildings have been assessed and cleared.
Mr Williams said another 62 buildings (including the 12 Christchurch buildings) have been ruled out of scope because they don't meet the review criteria - they either didn't have non-ductile columns, weren't consented in the timeframe non-ductile columns were allowed, were under three storeys, have been demolished or will be demolished.
"I'm advised there are a further 128 building engineering assessments booked and that councils are following up with the remaining 39 building owners to check when assessments are to be done," he said.
"The two building owners in Auckland who had refused to get an engineering assessment have now changed their minds. This is very pleasing as the review is being done for reasons of public safety."
Mr Williamson stressed that just because a building has non-ductile columns it does not mean it is unsafe.
"If such buildings are balanced out by other design features they pose no greater danger than other buildings," he said.
"It's important to reiterate the CTV building failed catastrophically due to many more issues than just non-ductile columns, including a flawed design."
Given that the review is on-going, Mr Williamson said it would be "inappropriate" for details of the buildings involved, especially those that have been cleared, to be released.