Some property owners in Dunedin are holding off supplying
the city council with details on how their buildings would
stand up to a significant earthquake.
More than 2000 building owners have not submitted information
requested by the Dunedin City Council nearly two years ago.
The council wrote to the owners of pre-1976 buildings - other
than single dwelling residences - in mid-2012, requiring them
to have their buildings inspected for seismic capacity.
They were asked to supply an initial assessment, at their own
cost, to the council by this July.
The building's status is to be entered into a register, added
to land information memorandums (LIMs) and council files and
ultimately made public.
As of this week, 2470 building owners were yet to supply the
required information, council heritage policy planner Dr Glen
It had received 305 responses since July 2012. Of those, 38
buildings were reported likely (according to the initial
assessment) to be earthquake-prone and five were confirmed to
Four of the latter, belonging to Speight's, had already been
The council already had building strength information about
several hundred of Dunedin's pre-1976 buildings, the owners
of which were not sent letters.
The council had yet to send letters to some multiple-unit
residences in the city's suburbs.
However, the information outstanding represented the bulk of
the city's pre-1976 (non single-dwelling) buildings, Dr
He was not surprised by the delays. While some building
owners probably had concerns about the information being made
public, he was aware of several owners with multiple
buildings who expected to submit all their assessments soon.
He had also been informed by several engineers they were
working through long waiting lists for assessments. As a
result, he was intending to seek from councillors an
extension on the deadline.
Anyone who did not submit the required information by
deadline would have their building recorded as likely to be
earthquake-prone and a deadline for upgrade applied. The
exercise is a part of the council's updated policy on
dangerous, insanitary and earthquake-prone buildings, under
which an owner is given between 15 and 30 years - the less
their strength, the shorter the time frame - to upgrade to at
least 34% of the new building standard if a building's
strength is found to be less than that.
The council previously had a passive policy, but adopted a
more proactive approach in 2011 in anticipation of
legislative changes to the national system for managing
earthquake-prone buildings, following the Christchurch
Dr Hazelton said several other councils had elected to stay
with a passive policy until new earthquake-prone buildings
legislation, now working its way through Parliament, was
The Earthquake Prone Buildings Bill proposes giving councils
five years to make assessments on buildings in their areas,
though it is unclear on who pays for assessments, and owners
up to 20 years, including the assessment period, to make the
building no longer earthquake-prone. It also proposes all
buildings built before 2005 be assessed.
Dr Hazelton said out of fairness, details of which Dunedin
buildings were earthquake-prone would not be released until
information on all the buildings was in.