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Southland owners get earthquake warning

Owners of un-reinforced masonry commercial buildings in Southland have been issue with land information memorandum (LIM) notices identifying their buildings as earthquake-prone.

By Susan Edmunds

Council building control manager Kevin O’Connor said the earthquakes in Christchurch and guidance from the Department of Building and Housing had influenced the council to take a more active stance.

"The major change is the introduction of strengthening timeframes for identified buildings which has been effective since 1 July and ranges from 15 to 30 years depending on the building's use," he said.

A survey was undertaken to identify un-reinforced masonry commercial buildings falling within the definition of potentially earthquake-prone throughout Southland District.

"Council wrote to all commercial building owners back in July 2011 advising them of the policy changes. Owners were also informed that a district survey would be undertaken to identify potentially earthquake-prone buildings for recording purposes," O'Connor said.

The minimum level for structural upgrade under Council's policy is 34% of the new building standard, with a recommendation that owners of identified buildings consider upgrading to 67% for additional life safety, property protection or business continuity purposes