More time to fix unreinforced masonry

Building owners who have taken reasonable steps to secure unreinforced masonry on their buildings following the 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake now have a further six months to complete the remedial work.

Reasonable steps would include

  • Design work being complete, or in progress, and a demonstrable programme of work.
  • The programme of work provides an indication of when the building owner will contract a builder and when the work is expected to be completed. 

“This amendment is to help building owners who’ve made genuine efforts, but haven’t met the deadline, due to capacity constraints in the sector,” says Building and Construction Minister Jenny Salesa.

“Where building owners have done nothing, I expect councils to exercise their powers to manage public safety risks.

Councils have the power to limit access to the building, and/or take enforcement action. The penalty for non-compliance is a fine of up to $200,000.

“It is crucial for building owners to make their buildings safe. Unreinforced parapets and facades pose significant risk to life and safety of the public,” says Ms Salesa.

“Thirty-nine people were killed by falling unreinforced masonry in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake, and we know the risks can be reduced by securing parapets and facades to the main building structure.

“We have struck a balance between the need to protect public safety and the need to recognise the practical constraints that have delayed progress for some building owners,” says Ms Salesa.

Note to the editor: On 19 March, the Government increased the funding cap for securing work for buildings that are three storeys or taller from $25,000 to $65,000.