More than 50 buildings in Masterton's business area remain classified as earthquake prone -- and that number could yet rise.

According to figures obtained this week from Masterton District Council, 51 buildings in the CBD are defined as earthquake-prone and a further 159 have not yet been assessed.

This is from a total of 429 identified buildings with the remainder either being within the statutory risk limits or completely cleared from any risk.

In 2006 the council adopted policies regarding earthquake-prone buildings.

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In this, heritage buildings were allowed two years from the time of the policy adoption to meet a deadline for any strengthening that needed to be done.

The council reserved the right to insist that earthquake strengthening work be carried out at the same time as any other changes, extensions or subdividing in buildings identified as earthquake-prone.

A rider to that aspect of the policy was the council would take into account the extent of the work proposed to ensure compliance with its building code and also the cost of the work being carried out.

As far as non-heritage buildings were concerned, the council's policy was to adopt a strengthening level of 50 per cent of the existing building code and to allow a maximum of 10 50 buildings still earthquake-prone

years for compliance depending on the existing structural condition of the buildings.

Last year central government revised its policy on earthquake-prone buildings in favour of a more targeted approach focussing on buildings that posed the greatest risk to life.

Priority for earthquake strengthening is to be give to education buildings, emergency service facilities and hospitals.