DCC Media Release: Dunedin’s Heritage Buildings

Dunedin City Council
Media Release

Dunedin’s Heritage Buildings

Following the Canterbury earthquake, there has been a lot of speculation about the risk to heritage buildings and, in particular, to certain elements of heritage buildings, such as chimneys and parapets.

The DCC and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust are holding a one-day workshop for heritage building owners in November, where earthquake strengthening will be one of a number of topics discussed. Local practitioners will cover a range of ‘getting started’ issues, including earthquake strengthening, fire safety, the role of heritage architects, and principles of conservation repair. The workshop, for heritage building owners, will be free.

The DCC and NZHPT also recommend that concerned owners of heritage buildings contact appropriately qualified structural engineers to assess the property, identify potential risk and investigate solutions for securing items or managing the risk to people and property.

Heritage features can usually be secured and risks mitigated without impacting on the heritage fabric of the building. Ensuring heritage buildings are earthquake-strengthened ensures public safety, and increases the likelihood that Dunedin’s character will be retained following a significant earthquake.

The Dunedin Heritage Fund can provide incentives towards work that will protect and secure heritage features and buildings.

* Earthquake Prone Buildings Policy (PDF, 107.8 kb, new window)
* Heritage Fund Information (opens in new window)

Contact DCC on 477 4000.

Last reviewed: 14 Sep 2010 12:34pm

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Heritage, Town planning, Urban design

7 responses to “DCC Media Release: Dunedin’s Heritage Buildings

    • Elizabeth

      Thanks Stu.
      Since 4 September the social media (networked) community has been liberal with news of emergency response to the earthquake(s), and on the various levels of that response which are now beginning to be ‘considered’.
      Rather than flood What if? with these developments I’ve been re-directing a selection of material and links to personnel at DCC.

      Have sent your Victoria link in the same direction.

      • Elizabeth

        ### 3news.co.nz Tue, 14 Sep 2010 10:21p.m.
        Parliament passes quake bill
        By Peter Wilson
        Parliament tonight passed a bill giving ministers wide-ranging powers to override laws which could hold up reconstruction in Canterbury. The Canterbury Earthquake Response and Recovery Bill, which became law on a unanimous vote, allows the Government to suspend provisions in 22 different Acts and will stay in force until April 2012.

        The Acts listed in the bill include the Building Act, the Land Transport Act, the Local Government Act and the Commerce Act.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Very good statement Phil – exactly.

          Personally, I’m not sure if suddenly placed in the position of losing my home and or business I wouldn’t happily settle for temporary stripped back self-contained accommodation while I really thought hard about my next move. A calm community connected think-space for transition – it would happily be a trailer*, or the latest disaster igloo*…

          Finding/rediscovering the essentials to live by and allowing time for due diligence in respect of current laws… the best options can’t usually be seen in 10 days or a year out from massive upheaval. The paperwork, the bureaucratic contests and the proofs can take ages. During which time I’d rather eat sausage or cake from a plastic plate.

          Optimism over rush. Love the Greenburg example.

          *[add a laptop and a mobile]

  1. Phil

    Like you, Elizabeth, I’ll be following with interest the implementation of the new temporary rebuilding legislation being brought into place as a result of the Christchurch earthquake. I’m going to assume that the reason for bringing in changes is to speed up the repair works and construction of new buildings. That seems to be the intent in the articles. The two things which (obviously) cause delays are processing times, and construction methods/materials. I appreciate the good intentions from the authorities, but I can’t help but feel a bit of shortsightedness and a lack of long term vision on the part of the well meaning law makers.

    It’s a bit of a strange one. If the processing time can be reduced, while still maintaining the same level of responsibility and forward planning, then the question surely has to be asked “why does it currently take so long ?” If the processing and inspection process itself is going to be reduced in some fashion, then what is the tradeoff in terms of quality ? A large part of the processing time today is to assess and assure that a building will still be as appropriate in 50 years time as it is today. Ensuring it meets the long term vision for the community. Will there be a compromise in this area purely to get people in homes that they, and the community, may regret a few years down the track ?

    Or, is there going to be a softening of the current requirements for construction methods and materials ? Something is going to have to change in order for the construction process to be fast tracked as favoured by central government. You can’t maintain the same methodology and complete the task in half the time. Again, will these new building be a long term asset for the community, or will they prove to be a liability ? I saw someone writing in the ODT a few days back about the risk of Christchurch carrying the “Abbotsford” stigma for years to come. The big Taieri flood back in 1980 resulted in a number of flood damaged vehicles being sold on the local market. Most had been parked up at the airport. They ended up being known for years to come as “flood cars”, and people had trouble selling them years later. There’s the risk that any house built under the emergency legislation could carry a similar stigma. People may steer clear of them with the fear that a reduced requirement has resulted in an inferior product. Resulting in devalued assets and suburbs.

    I fully understand the need and urgency to restore damage to homes and to people’s lives. But, at the same time, Christchurch has a unique opportunity to futureproof a large percentage of its dwellings. To build with an eye to the needs and requirements of the community 50 years from now. I go back to the town of Greenburg in the US which was devastated by a tornado some years back. Instead of just quickly rebuilding in order to get things going again, they took the opportunity to completely reassess their way of life. And resigned their community from the ground up. Obviously Christchurch’s damage is not on the same scale, but there’s still a chance which may never come again, to rethink their way of doing things and to upgrade as a community. I do hope that the people who are making these decisions will look at where they wish Christchurch to be in 50 years, and not just in 6 months.

  2. Phil

    It’s a tough call, without being in the position of being homeless or at the risk of losing an income. And I’m sure that I may well feel different were I in that position. It feels wrong viewing a disaster as an “opportunity”, but how often does a city get the chance to recreate a section of an existing community in one hit ? Christchurch could become the place to be, instead of the place to avoid. It’s ideally set up for the implementation of sustainable communities. It would only take one community to start off before others around the country followed. I’m worried they could miss the unique chance to become leaders by taking the quick fix option.

    • Elizabeth

      ### ODT Online Wed, 15 Sep 2010
      Quake cue for heritage building owners
      By David Loughrey
      The recent Christchurch earthquake seems to have shaken Dunedin heritage-building owners, who have been calling the Dunedin City Council, asking what they need to do to earthquake-proof their buildings. The council and the New Zealand Historic Places Trust, coincidentally, had already planned a one-day workshop in November, where earthquake strengthening will be one of several topics discussed.
      Read more

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