A public building rating system for Dunedin has been
discussed at council staff level, but that is as far as
matters will go before further direction is received from the
Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission and any subsequent
legislation, staff say.
Recommendations concerning the assessment and public
disclosure of information about a building's safety, as well
as a raft of other issues on building design and performance
that will affect how local authorities manage building safety
in their areas are expected to be part of the commission's
final report, due out this month.
The Christchurch City Council last month repeated its support
for a publicly displayed rating system, which makes the
seismic resilience of buildings known, although it, too, will
wait for legislative direction from the Government based on
the recommendations of the commission.
There, the council has so far received detailed evaluations
on 579 of the city's 7500 commercial buildings from the
Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Authority, which has the power
to require a structural survey of buildings and has been
doing so since last October.
In Dunedin, the city council has given the owners of more
than 2500 pre-1976 commercial buildings two years, from July
this year, to provide it with an initial evaluation procedure
(IEP) report. So far, the council has received 111 reports.
Letters were not sent to owners of buildings the council was
aware were already strengthened, or in the process of being
Under the council's new earthquake prone building policy, if
a building's strength is found to be at less than 34% of the
building standard, owners will be given between 15 and 30
years, from July 1 this year, to upgrade to at least 34%.
However, if people want to change the building's use in the
interim, they will be required to upgrade to 67% of the
The policy could change if the Building Act is amended as a
result of the commission's recommendations.
There is no legislative mandate for introducing a building
rating system, and building owners cannot be compelled to
display a building rating system as it stands.
But if the commission recommends it, it is possible there
could be amendments to the Building Act to provide for
structural assessments and rating of all commercial and
public buildings in New Zealand.
Dunedin City Council chief building control officer Neil
McLeod said it was likely building control managers in all
councils had discussed a rating system to some extent, but it
had not got to the council level in Dunedin because the
preference was to wait for some direction from the
The report was likely to include a "whole raft" of
recommendations on things that could have ramifications for
Dunedin, he said.
Unlike some other councils, which were waiting until any
changes in legislation were made, Dunedin had recently
re-drafted its dangerous, insanitary and earthquake prone
buildings policy, and now had a proactive policy that was