Review of Dangerous, Insanitary and Earthquake Prone Buildings Policy

Thursday 9 February 2012, 5:54PM
By Waitaki District Council

Next Tuesday, 14 February, Council’s Committee of the Whole will discuss the review of the Council’s Dangerous, Insanitary and Earthquake Prone Building’s Policy (2006).

The policy, which is due for review under the Building Act, sets a number of requirements for building owners on the maintenance and strengthening of buildings.

Council Policy Manager, Fraser Liggett, said that over the last four months Council has been closely following policy changes in other neighbouring Council’s and the potential wider impact of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure caused by the Canterbury earthquakes.

“As a result of possible changes in Government Policy arising from the Royal Commission, officers have proposed that any changes to Waitaki’s existing policy should only be undertaken after the Government has completed its review into the Canterbury earthquakes and made any decision to potentially change the existing building and design code standards. We believe it’s prudent to wait for Government to respond to the recommendations from the Royal Commission of Inquiry before making any substantial changes which could affect building owners.”

In the meantime, Council will continue to have an operating Dangerous, Insanitary and Earthquake Prone Buildings Policy under Section 132(5) of the Building Act (2004).

Mr Liggett noted that while the date of the Royal Commission’s final report had been pushed back to 12 November this year, it was still considered that aligning the review of Waitaki’s existing policy with Government’s decision would provide more certainty to building owners.

“Adopting a new policy prior to the Government decision on building codes post Canterbury earthquakes may result in unnecessary changes and costs. We believe that waiting until the Commission’s final report in November is a sensible approach and one also adopted by our neighbours in the Timaru District Council”.

“Council takes the issue of Dangerous, Insanitary and Earthquake Prone Buildings very seriously and will continue to apply the existing policy as well as look at other actions it can take in the short-term. This is likely to include convening a seminar on the responsiveness of Oamaru Stone buildings during seismic events later in the year and considering the issue of earthquake prone buildings as part of the 2012-22 Long Term Plan”.