Enhancing building performance #eqnz

Knee-jerk reactions to government proposals are hardly necessary at Dunedin, the DCC’s earthquake-prone buildings policy has already been launched.

DCC Earthquake Strengthening + Policy

ODT 8.12.12:
Dunedin City Council [policy planner – heritage] Glen Hazelton said the Government’s proposals were “pretty much in line” with the council’s existing policy. That policy required owners whose buildings were found to be less than 34% of code requirements to upgrade. Owners had between 15 and 34 years to do so, depending on the state of their building, meaning some would face shorter timeframes under the Government’s proposals than they had expected, but not extra costs. The most earthquake damage-prone buildings had faced the shortest timeframes anyway under the council’s policy. The council had warned owners of the possibility timeframes would be reduced from 34 years.
The council’s own buildings – including the likes of the Town Hall, Municipal Chambers and Railway Station – were already having their earthquake strength tested, council city property manager Robert Clark said. That work began early this year and up to 30 written reports on individual buildings were expected by mid-next year. Some, such as the Municipal Chambers, had already been strengthened, while others, like the Railway Station, were considered to be of sturdy construction, but were being checked, he said. Results were yet to be made public, but buildings appeared to be “measuring up at the moment”, reaching 66% of the building code or even better, he said. The council already faced extra costs, having initiated its own checks, but it was “appropriate” to do so and ensure the health and safety of staff and the public. He expected the checks would meet the requirements of the Government proposals, although detailed information was yet to be received. Mr Clark doubted buildings would need to be abandoned or demolished.

### NZ Herald Online 5:30 AM Saturday Dec 8, 2012
Earthquake changes could cost $1.7bn
By Isaac Davison
Uncompromising proposals to eliminate or strengthen earthquake-prone buildings could change the face of character areas such as Mt Eden’s Dominion Rd, and cause complex disputes in high-rise apartments owned by multiple parties. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment has proposed seismic assessment of all commercial and high-rise, multi-unit buildings in New Zealand – believed to be 193,000 properties.
Those that were not upgraded to withstand a moderate-sized earthquake within 10 years of assessment would be demolished.
The Government proposals were in response to a Canterbury Earthquake Royal Commission report on quake-prone buildings, released yesterday. The ministry broadly agreed with the Royal Commission’s recommendations, but it proposed more lenient timeframes for strengthening and did not agree that the minimum threshold for remedial work should be raised. Housing and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson said to do so would impose “catastrophic” costs on society.
The Government proposals have been released in a consultation paper. If they are adopted, the cost of the changes would be borne by councils and property owners.
Read more + Q&A


Only 39 people died due to unreinforced masonry buildings at Christchurch, that’s remarkably few given the age and size of the city, the population size and concentration, and the extent of devastation caused by the quakes.

### NZ Herald Online 10:58 AM Friday Dec 7, 2012
Most NZ buildings to be quake assessed
By Isaac Davison
All non-residential buildings and high-rise, multi-unit apartments in New Zealand will be assessed for earthquake risk and the results made public under Government proposals released this morning.
Any building found to be at risk of collapse will have to be strengthened or demolished within 15 years under the proposed changes, which form the Government’s response to a Royal Commission investigation into earthquake-prone buildings after the Canterbury quakes.
The Government planned to adopt many of the commission’s recommendations, but has chosen longer timeframes and lower minimum standards of building strengthening than the report proposed.
The commission found there was poor information on earthquake-prone buildings in New Zealand, lack of central guidance on defining and repairing these structures, and variable council approaches to fixing the problem. Only 23 of 66 local authorities were able to tell the commission how many earthquake-prone buildings were in their area.
Read more

Related Posts and Comments:
19.7.12 Tonight – NZHPT Open Lecture WIN CLARK
2.7.12 Demolition by neglect. Townscape precincts.
26.1.12 Earthquake strengthening: voluntary targeted rates scheme
28.12.11 NZHPT National Heritage Preservation Incentive Fund
15.12.11 Dunedin: Nominations for heritage re-use awards close next week
5.11.11 Barlow Justice Valuers / New Zealand Historic Places Trust—Heritage Interiors Award 2011-2012
10.10.11 Facebook: Upright! Supporting Dunedin’s Built Heritage
9.10.11 Facebook: Upright! Supporting Dunedin’s Built Heritage
9.10.11 Diesoline – supreme winner of the inaugural Dunedin Heritage Re-use Awards
8.10.11 Workshop for heritage building owners – 23 November
3.10.11 Historic heritage SAVE
14.9.11 DCC Media Release: Dunedin’s Heritage Buildings
13.9.11 DCC assistance possible for earthquake strengthening
1.9.11 DCC Finance, Strategy and Development Committee
29.7.11 Disappearing heritage #Dunedin
4.5.11 Dunedin’s goldrush-era heritage won’t fall over, unless you make it
26.4.11 Dunedin Heritage Buildings Economic Re-use Steering Group
28.3.11 Dunedin earthquake proneness 2
10.3.11 Layers of Gold – Dunedin Heritage Festival 18-21 March 2011
21.2.11 Dunedin Heritage: Central government should be contributing
21.2.11 The proactive heritage development lobby EXISTS in Dunedin
19.2.11 Dunedin, are you ‘of a mind’ to protect Historic Heritage?
20.1.11 Dunedin Heritage Fund
16.1.11 DScene: Honour heritage
26.12.10 Historic heritage notes

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under #eqnz, Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Economics, Heritage, Media, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning, Urban design

6 responses to “Enhancing building performance #eqnz

  1. ### ODT Online Thu, 5 June 2014
    Hearing on quake Bill in Dunedin
    By Chris Morris
    Southern councils worried about new earthquake-prone building legislation look set to make their case on their own patch, when a Government select committee visits Dunedin later this month. Dunedin Mayor Dave Cull yesterday told the Otago Daily Times he had received an assurance the select committee would travel to Dunedin to hear submissions on the proposed changes.
    Read more

  2. Elizabeth

    ### NZ Herald Online Sat, 9 Aug 2014
    Quake plan: critics force big rethink
    By Andrew Laxon
    A billion-dollar earthquake upgrade affecting about one in 10 commercial and multi-storey apartment buildings is set for a major overhaul, after engineering experts rubbished the Government’s original plans as unnecessary and unworkable.
    Almost 200,000 buildings throughout the country are due to be checked for structural weaknesses in the next five years, with up to 25,000 expected to need expensive strengthening work under the Earthquake-prone Buildings Amendment Bill.
    But critics of the bill say it is a huge overreaction to the Christchurch earthquakes and will impose excessive costs on property owners, force the unnecessary closure of many old buildings in areas of low earthquake risk and possibly cost as much as $10 billion.
    The country’s leading engineering body, the Institution of Professional Engineers, warned a select committee considering the bill that the new regime was likely to cause the destruction of value in many older buildings, which would be unjustifiably listed as earthquake-prone.

    “The nation also cannot afford high costs of strengthening that will ultimately offer few public safety benefits.”

    A working group set up by the main professional engineering bodies suggested:
    • Using a more sophisticated test for earthquake risk than the current one-third of the strength of a new building.
    • Limiting checks to buildings which are multi-storey or made of unreinforced masonry (mainly old brick-and-mortar or stone buildings).
    • Making owners of old brick buildings tie back parapets and chimneys immediately, instead of spending millions on the whole structure.
    The legislation has already had a chilling effect on the property market. Landlords and real estate agents have warned that tenants have fled heritage buildings, which have plunged in value. Many owners cannot afford to fix their buildings but are not allowed to demolish them because of heritage concerns.
    Read more

  3. Hype O'Thermia

    Some sense at last! The test for safety (and this should apply more widely than just heritage buildings) ought to be an actuarial type of measure. How much danger of (a) injury (b) death, per person, per hour? After all when a person is in a building only an hour a fortnight, for them to be harmed the event would have to occur at that time to be ranked as a danger, for one person.
    How much time is the building empty? If this averages 12 hours a day over a year, that halves the risk to life unless there are people outside more than 12 hours a day, who would be harmed by its collapse.

  4. Does anybody see what’s going on here? How many people were killed or maimed in the recent Christchurch earthquakes as a percentage of the populace at risk? How many buildings failed catastrophically at the time, as compared to the controlled demolition in the aftermath? Again, how many hours at what cost has since been spent by consultant/lobbyists in cranking up the politicians into legislating new rules and regulations? Think about it, this is a heaven sent emotional issue with the potential to create untold opportunities for the modern breed of ‘consultant’. We see them everywhere insinuating themselves gratuitously upon any and all bodies with the power to legislate. They shelter under the guise of professionalism in the disciplines of structural, civil, social, transport, you name it, and the ‘lumpen’ bureaucrats seem besotted by them and pay huge money for their utterings and hang on every word. We see it up and down the country like a plague. If the present mentality was prevalent in 1848 then Dunedin for one would never have happened. The people are treated as stock in trade by these merchants of doom who play on every tautened string that they can find. Has society improved because of their efforts? Think about it. On the local front we have just seen a classic example of this in the commissioned Beca Report on Sea Rise. Straight out of ‘Agenda 21’. And the horrendous implications for Dunedin arising from it. Watch this space for enormous potential for design, contracting and huge expenditure if these people can fan the flames on this one. And who benefits? Not the poor mug citizens of Dunedin that’s for sure. Back to the building strengthening ‘boondoggle’. Who cares that half the nation’s built wealth is put in jeopardy by these overzealous people who, when the inevitable occasional event happens, will just as quickly run for cover (taking their money with them) if that event exceeds their inane standards? Just like the Financial world, we are the victims of mendacious extortion from all quarters in the name of ‘good governance’. CORRUPTION writ large under the guise of democracy.

  5. Elizabeth

    {Transferred from another thread. Relevance. See quick notes/sources following Rob’s comment. -Eds}

    Rob Hamlin
    2017/03/09 at 9:46 pm

    One has to say that Christchurch is a miserable example. It now has to be the ugliest city in creation. Moorhouse Avenue – Whew!! One wonders how long it would have taken to get the centre back up again had people been allowed to hang onto their own property allotments and to repair/rebuild on them undisturbed. They took the opportunity to smash the remaining Victorian heritage, and are still trying with the Cathedral. The Basilica is also still in bits….but all the failures (and corpses) were in large newer buildings.

    A similar pattern repeated itself in Wellington last year – without the corpses….luckily. Not much seems to have been done to find out why. This in a City that will be hit by larger and more immediately located quakes at some point.

    Yet another example of import plasticine reinforcing steel being ‘accidentally’ sold as something more worthwhile (and presumably much more expensive) this week – are these patterns of import plasticine inputs and large building structural failure related? As it seems that nobody who is paid to cover compliance checks the steel, who checks the concrete composition in high load areas? My guess is nobody, and gravel is cheaper than cement – go figure. There appears to be no urgency to investigate – I believe that the latest steel situation and related stories are being ‘monitored’ by the authorities. Code for doing bugger all.



    Fri, 18 Nov 2016
    NZH: Why did modern buildings fail in quake?
    Statistics New Zealand boss Liz MacPherson was unusually blunt for a Wellington bureaucrat as she assessed the serious damage to her department’s headquarters from this week’s earthquake. “I am asking the same questions that I am sure you are asking,” she told her staff in a Facebook post. “How is it that a building that is as new as Stats House, with the [earthquake] code rating it had could suffer this sort of damage. I’ll continue to ask those questions.” Many people, from the Prime Minister down, are asking those questions too as the damage to supposedly well-constructed modern buildings becomes more apparent in the aftermath of Monday morning’s quake. Overall Wellington council inspectors have so far found 60 buildings of concern with signs of structural damage, and 28 at risk of part of the building falling down.
    Read more at http://m.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=11750005


    Quakes and a building’s response
    The following commentary by Dr Geoff Thomas from Victoria University’s School of Architecture was originally published in the Dominion Post on 29 November.

    30 November 2016
    A building’s response to an earthquake is a function of the size of an earthquake, how far away it is, the frequencies at which shaking occurs at a building site, the height and mass of the building, and the type of structural systems and material of the buildings structure. […] Every earthquake is different, every building and site is different, so conclusions about how buildings might behave in another earthquake cannot be simply drawn from the experience of one earthquake. The high level of earthquake performance of New Zealand buildings is evidenced by the fact that many buildings in the 2011 Christchurch earthquake stood up to levels of shaking significantly greater than those they were designed for.
    Read more at http://www.victoria.ac.nz/news/2016/11/quakes-and-a-buildings-response


    The University of Canterbury School of Engineering, in particular, is working with international engineering, building technology and materials science experts to research and recommend new approaches and standards for seismic construction.

    See also professional advisory services and advocacy provided by the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE).


    New Zealand Concrete Masonry Association

    New Zealand Standards of relevance to the concrete masonry industry include:

    AS/NZS 4455.1:2008 Masonry Units, Pavers, Flags & Segmental Retaining Wall Units – Masonry Units
    Provides users and specifiers with the requirements for masonry units used in masonry wall construction.

    AS/NZS 4455.2: 2008 Masonry Units, Pavers, Flags & Segmental Retaining Wall Units- Pavers & Flags
    Provides users and specifiers with the requirements for masonry units used in pavement construction.

    AS/NZS 4455.3:2008 Masonry Units, Pavers, Flags & Segmental Retaining Wall Units – Segmental Retaining Wall Units
    Provides users and specifiers with the requirements for segmental retaining wall units used in segmental retaining walls.

    AS/NZS 4456:2003 Masonry Units, Segmental Pavers and Flags – Methods of Test
    Provides a general introduction and a series of 19 test methods for masonry units and segmental pavers. The tests are for sampling, mean and standard deviation, and for determining dimensions, compressive strength, breaking load, potential to effloresce, core percentage and material thickness, moisture content and dry density, abrasion resistance, resistance to salt attack, expansion, contraction, pitting due to salt attack, expansion, contraction, pitting due to lime particles, water absorption properties, lateral modulus of rupture, permeability to water, rate of absorption and tensile strength.

    NZS 4210:2001 Masonry Construction: Materials & Workmanship (supersedes 4210:1989)
    Sets out requirements for materials and workmanship of clay, concrete and natural stone masonry to be used in conjunction with NZ 3604; NZS 4229; NZS 4230 for construction of masonry buildings and masonry veneers.

    NZS 4229:2013 Concrete Masonry Buildings Not Requiring Specific Engineering Design
    Sets a minimum standard for the design and construction of reinforced concrete masonry buildings. When applied by architects, designers, builders, engineers, apprentices, building consent authorities, and building industry regulators, NZS 4229 provides these users with a cost effective means of compliance and practical guidance for designing and building to meet New Zealand Building Code requirements, without the need for specific engineering design.

    It provides prescribed methods for the design and construction of reinforced concrete masonry buildings up to 10 metres in height, including domestic dwellings and most other residential buildings, and some commercial buildings. The use of NZS 4229 during design and building provides consumers with assurance that their home has been built to meet the legislative requirements of the New Zealand Building Code.

    NZS 4230:2004 Design of Reinforced Concrete Masonry Structures
    BIA Approved Document B1 Part one specifies minimum requirements for the design of masonry buildings and other masonry structures. Also applicable to the design of parts of other buildings which are constructed of masonry. Part two provides a commentary on Part one.

    NZS 3116:2002 Concrete Segmental & Flagstone Paving
    Sets out provisions for the non-specific engineering design and construction of pavements using segmental and flagstone pavers. It also provides New Zealand variations to paver manufacture and tests in relation to AS/NZS 4455 and AS/NZS 4456.

    NZS HB 4236 Masonry Veneer – Wall Cladding
    This handbook was compiled in 2002 being based on veneer clauses contained in NZS 3604, NZS 4210 and NZS 4229. In the meantime, NZS 3604 and NZS 4229 have been revised and the New Zealand Building Code document E2/AS1 has been published. To date (February 2014) it has not been possible to update NZS HB 4236 although the document does retain important information for the construction of masonry veneer cladding.

    For further information visit Standards NZ


    03 Feb 2016
    NZS 3121:2015 Water and Aggregate for Concrete has recently been published and replaces a dated 30 year old standard.
    During that time much has changed in terms of the natural materials used to manufacture concrete.
    The Resource Management Act has also placed restrictions around the manufacture of concrete. Practices of yesteryear, particularly in respect of dumping highly alkaline waste concrete, carry heavy penalties today.
    This has resulted in the routine recycling of wash-water for use as mix-water. To avoid affecting setting times, the fines content of agitated wash-water needs to be monitored and restricted to an upper limit SG of 1.07 by diluting with wash-water.
    Close liaison between the ready mixed concrete plant engineer and the aggregate supplier is implicit throughout the Standard.
    The Standard covers three new areas….
    Read more at http://www.nzrmca.org.nz/page/home.asp


    The Cement and Concrete Association of New Zealand’s (CCANZ)

    By blending technical and marketing disciplines, as well as balancing growth opportunities with support for existing markets, CCANZ aims to ensure that industry decision makers realise the full potential of concrete.
    With over 250 corporate and individual members, those that seek to better understand concrete as key to a sustainable built environment include architects, designers, engineers, building contractors and students.

    CCANZ offers a range of technical publications in the form of Information Bulletins (IB), Technical Reports (TR) and Technical Manuals (TM). The scope of these publications covers best practice, laboratory and on-site research, as well as general guidance.

    █ CCANZ publications via http://www.ccanz.org.nz/page/publications-main.aspx


    █ [list] CCANZ publications via New Zealand Ready Mixed Concrete Association Inc (NZRMCA) at http://www.nzrmca.org.nz/page/ccanz-publications.aspx

    █ CCANZ technical information via http://www.ccanz.org.nz/page/technical-information.aspx

    etc etc

  6. Hype O'Thermia

    Bob Jones had some inflammatorily sensible things to say in a Listener article about earthquakes, “building safety” hysteria, and actual risk compared with other risks. This was after the recent quakes that affected Wellington. Unfortunately that must have been one of the Listeners I passed on to a friend.
    “Building safety” hysteria concentrates on old buildings, often beautiful but shabby. Response to hysteria and OTT whipped up panic “set foot in here and you’re liable to DIE HORRIBLY” has been a rush to eliminate them from the face of the earth: exterminate, exterminate. Bob Jones and others who have strong hysteria-resistance think, “Pieces of frontage fell off them, and that’s not good, but what buildings behaved like cardboard boxes in a rainstorm? Modern buildings, that’s what.” Modern buildings built with permits and standards and inspections of a standard (one would think) far more stringent than those of the 100 year old ones.

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