Engineers urge tenants to ensure proper post-earthquake checks on homes

Engineers are urging Wellington tenants to ensure proper post-earthquake checks on homes. Photo / Mark Mitchell
Engineers are urging Wellington tenants to ensure proper post-earthquake checks on homes. Photo / Mark Mitchell

If your landlord has not organised a post earthquake engineer's inspection, complain to the city council or tenancy tribunal, an engineering body says.

Buildings can get through an earthquake relatively undamaged but perform differently in a future large earthquake with different shaking characteristics.

New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE) President Peter Smith said anyone with concerns about their building shouldn't hesitate to ask their landlord or body corporate if it's been inspected by a qualified engineer.

"I want to stress that tenants and unit title owners should request a copy of an inspection report after any major earthquake or severe aftershock. It's really important that this inspection is done by an appropriately qualified chartered professional engineer," Smith said.

"Contact your landlord or body corporate and request an engineer's inspection.

If they don't comply, report it to the tenancy tribunal or city council."

Structural Engineering Society (SESOC) President Paul Campbell said it was possible for a building to have been relatively undamaged by the recent earthquakes but perform differently in any large earthquake in the future with different shaking characteristics.

"This is why we recommend building owners get a qualified structural engineer to undertake a more detailed assessment of your building if you or your tenants have specific concerns about the building's performance," he said.

"Building owners need to communicate openly with their tenants to help reduce their concern. Let tenants know that they can read the full engineer's report for themselves. Ask if they would like the opportunity to talk with the engineer directly.

"It's also important that tenants communicate openly with owners and engineers about any observed damage, and that they allow access for inspection. In time like this, cooperation is extremely important," Campbell said.

"It's also important to remember that the first priority of building design is to protect life rather than minimise damage."

- NZ Herald

Get the news delivered straight to your inbox

Receive the day’s news, sport and entertainment in our daily email newsletter

SIGN UP NOW

© Copyright 2016, NZME. Publishing Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf05 at 11 Dec 2016 04:13:59 Processing Time: 781ms