List of Wellington buildings with facades needing urgent quake strengthening after Kaikoura jolt cut by more than half

By Georgina Campbell

Earlier this year  up to 250 Wellington buildings needed unreinforced masonry to be pulled back and secured. The new list only has 108 buildings on it. Above, scaffolding goes up at the GCSB and SIS building after the November 14  quake. Photo /  Mark Mitchell
Earlier this year up to 250 Wellington buildings needed unreinforced masonry to be pulled back and secured. The new list only has 108 buildings on it. Above, scaffolding goes up at the GCSB and SIS building after the November 14 quake. Photo / Mark Mitchell

The number of Wellington buildings thought to be needing urgent strengthening following Kaikoura's earthquake has more than halved.

Earlier this year the Government announced up to 250 Wellington buildings needed unreinforced masonry to be pulled back and secured.

Wellington City Council has recently made a revised list public.

It shows as of May 4 2017 only 108 buildings in the capital need work done to secure facades and parapets.

Wellington City Council building resilience manager Steve Cody said the number had dropped because some buildings on the Government's original list did not have unreinforced masonry facing a public thoroughfare, were not on a street explicitly listed for the project or were already strengthened.

He said even now, nothing was final.

"The list will be changing as properties are strengthened or owners provide us with information from their engineers to show the buildings don't have issues with their parapets and facades, so this is just a work in progress."

The list shows Cuba St has the highest number of buildings needing work, 23, and Riddiford St in Newtown with the second highest, 13.

Next week the council will hold a second round of information forums for building owners to get work started.

About 100 interested parties attended two forums last week.

Cody said the council was watching closely to make sure owners did not start to drag their feet to meet the tight completion deadline of March 2018.

"We're not at a point yet where we do have owners in that particular head space but we do need to keep an eye on what's going on."

According to the Ministry of Building, Innovation and Employment, existing penalties for dangerous buildings under the Building Act would apply for those owners who failed to meet the council's deadline.

That penalty is a fine of up to $200,000.

However, Wellington City Council programme manager Ken Bailey said there could be room to move within the strict time frame.

"If people aren't going to engage and sink into apathy, there will be issues around that.

"But if timelines need to be looked at because they may be running over by a few weeks I'm sure they will be looked at as long as they're well underway.

"We are aware that depending on the scale and complexity, it can take some time to get this stuff done but I think the key is to get started."

Bailey said most affected building owners needed help with how to get the needed work underway.

He said there was a lot to think about from organising engineers, time, cost and subcontractors to temporarily closing the footpath.

Forums for affected building owners will be held on Wednesday from 9.30am at the Earthquake Recovery Information centre and Thursday from 9.30am at Kia Ora Newtown.

- Newstalk ZB

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