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17-11-2016

MBIE investigation into building performance

A technical investigation into the performance of buildings such as Statistics House at CentrePort will be undertaken to help inform improved building regulation, Building and Housing Minister Dr Nick Smith says.

“This week’s significant earthquakes have tested the seismic strength of many of Wellington’s multi-storey buildings. This investigation will focus on Statistics House to understand its performance and where there may be wider lessons for improved design,” Dr Smith says.

“My advice from officials is that the vast bulk of Wellington buildings have performed well but if information comes to hand on other issues related to seismic performance, the investigation may be widened.

“It is important that people do not jump to incorrect conclusions on buildings’ seismic performance from Monday’s earthquake. The frequency of that quake particularly impacted on medium-height buildings but another earthquake or aftershock could more severely impact on low-rise buildings.

“The fact most low-rise earthquake-prone buildings did not suffer extensive damage reflects more on the type of earthquake than the building’s overall seismic strength. There is no place for complacency and building owners need expert engineering advice on managing these risks.

“MBIE advises me CentrePort and the Wellington City Council welcome this investigation and are fully committed to it.

“The key to reducing the significant risks New Zealand faces from earthquakes is ensuring we learn every lesson possible. This investigation will help this ongoing improvement in our seismic design standards.”

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