High-rise apartment buildings will have to be demolished within 15 years if they can’t be strengthened to meet earthquake standards, Government proposals say.
The plans, released this morning, require all commercial buildings and high-rise apartment blocks to be assessed for earthquake risk and the results made public.
Any buildings found to be at risk of collapse would have to be strengthened or demolished within 15 years under the proposed changes.
Unreinforced masonry buildings resulted in the death of 39 people in Christchurch's earthquake last February.
About 193,000 non-residential or multi-unit, multi-storey residential buildings will have to be assessed for earthquake risk within five years. It is estimated 15,000 to 25,000 buildings are at risk of collapse in a moderate-sized tremor.
Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson conceded the recommendations in the report could have significant economic consequences for the building owners.
He said property owners who upgraded their buildings would benefit from a higher property value, higher rent, and lower insurance premiums.