Bevan Hurley is the Herald on Sunday chief reporter.

Mind your head under verandas

Verandas over some of Auckland's busiest footpaths are in danger of collapse, council chiefs say.

A review of buildings found hundreds of corroded canopies in the CBD, Ponsonby, Newmarket and Mt Eden.

Auckland Council building policy manager Bob de Leur said: "There is a real issue. We have to do something to make sure they are in a sound state because if someone was walking underneath and then the veranda collapsed, then that is not a good situation."

One veranda in Garnet Rd, Westmere, collapsed last year.

Repairs were under way this week on the Penny Lane bakery in Onehunga Mall, where there was a collapse last April in high winds.

The parlous state of verandas was uncovered during a $1.5 million investigation into the earthquake-proof state of Auckland's buildings.

Council inspectors have contacted about 800 owners of buildings, asking them to strengthen rusting and poorly maintained balconies.

"Unless they are maintained they have the potential to fall down," de Leur said. "It's often not visible from the outside."

De Leur, in charge of bringing Auckland's buildings into line with post-Christchurch earthquake laws, said most owners had responded to the requests.

Cameron Brewer, of the Auckland Council, said absentee owners often allowed their buildings to fall into disrepair.

"It is hard to motivate landlords, particularly when so many are based overseas and run by trusts and lawyers that hide behind PO boxes."

- Herald on Sunday

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