DCC releases earthquake-prone buildings register

█ Electronic copy of the register (via LGOIMA) can be viewed at Comments.

Owners of all non-residential, pre-1976 buildings had until the end of next year to have their buildings assessed and report results to the council.

### ODT Online Wed, 17 Sep 2014
Tip of quake iceberg released
By Chris Morris
A register of Dunedin’s earthquake-prone buildings has been made public for the first time, but it is likely to represent only the tip of the iceberg, the Dunedin City Council says. Council staff, responding to an Otago Daily Times request, have released details of four earthquake-prone buildings in Dunedin, as well as another 44 considered likely or possibly so.
Read more


DCC webpage: Earthquake strengthening
‘Earthquake strengthening’ improves a building’s ability to withstand the effects of earthquakes and, most importantly, improves the safety for those in and around the buildings.
Due to the age of Dunedin’s building stock and the large number of unreinforced masonry buildings in the city, many of the city’s heritage buildings are currently ‘earthquake–prone’. In 2012, owners of buildings in Dunedin will receive letters to advise them of the need to have their buildings inspected by a qualified structural engineer to assess their potential performance in an earthquake. These assessments will be recorded in a Council register. Building owners will be given a set timeframe in which to upgrade their buildings. Notwithstanding this timeframe, building owners undertaking other significant improvement work or a ‘change of use’ of a building will be required to complete earthquake strengthening as part of that work….
Read more + Links

█ DCC reply to an official information request put by Marty Sharpe, Hawke’s Bay Reporter for the Dominion Post (Fairfax) on 23 October 2012: http://www.dunedin.govt.nz/__data/assets/pdf_file/0006/292578/OIA-23-November-2012-Earthquake-Prone-Buildings.pdf

Earthquake proneness - NZ_faults [wikimedia.org]New Zealand faults [wikimedia.org]

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, DCC, Design, Economics, Heritage, IPENZ, Media, New Zealand, NZIA, ORC, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Town planning

16 responses to “DCC releases earthquake-prone buildings register

  1. Elizabeth

    █ Download: DCC in house report Seismic Assessments (PDF, 44 MB)

    Copy received from DCC on 18.9.14 with names/contact details for building owners redacted.

  2. Elizabeth

    Fascinating story here (and further links) about Wellington’s Harcourts Building (HNZ Category I).

    ### radionz.co.nz Updated at 9:22 am today
    Court blocks demolition plans
    By Eric Frykberg
    One of central Wellington’s most historic buildings has been blocked from demolition even though it is an earthquake hazard.
    The eight-storey Harcourts Building on Lambton Quay, which was built in 1928, has been declared earthquake prone and most of its major tenants have left. Its owner, Mark Dunajtschik, says he cannot afford to strengthen the building, but after one consent hearing and three court cases he has been told he cannot demolish it.
    Neither Mr Dunajtschik nor his lawyer is commenting for now. But Ian Cassels, a property developer with deep knowledge of historic buildings, said the court was making comments about the fraught world of building management that it did not understand.
    The ruling is welcomed, however, by Wellington City Council.
    In seeking the right to demolish, Mr Dunajtschik argued earthquake strengthening would cost $12 million, which was not worth it for a building worth just $14.5 million.
    However, the court ruled an earthquake-strengthened historic building would be worth $18 to 20 million, changing the economics completely.
    Property magnate Sir Bob Jones, who gave evidence to the hearing, thinks the post-strengthing value of the Harcourts Building would be even greater, and accused Mr Dunajtschik of not understanding the market.
    Read more + Links

    Listen to more on Morning Report (3 min 27 sec)

  3. Elizabeth

    Strongly persuaded to see the light…… ka-ching !!! (another case of winning Heritage Economics)

    ### radionz.co.nz Updated at 12:59 pm today
    RNZ News
    Harcourts building to be restored
    Property developer Mark Dunajtschik has abandoned his bid to demolish the historic Harcourts building in Wellington, he says.
    Mr Dunajtschik said he was bowing to the decision of the Environment Court which ruled the 85-year-old category 1 heritage building was a crucial element of the Lambton Quay landscape. He says he is disappointed that the court, which does not have to carry the financial burden of restoration, can tell property owners what to do.
    Heritage advocate Glen Hooker will head the company that will refurbish and strengthen the building. Mr Dunajtschik said he is in for the long term as the value is in the land, not the building, and has budgeted $10 million for the work.
    Heritage New Zealand chief executive Bruce Chapman said he was pleased the building would be repaired, and his organisation would continue to offer support and advice to category 1 building owners.
    RNZ Link + Photo

  4. “Mr Dunajtschik argued earthquake strengthening would cost $12 million”. Don’t they normally pick the highest cost for strengthening, when they are arguing in favour of demolition? I wonder how much it will actually cost now he’s not allowed to demolish. Now he says he “has budgeted $10 million for the work”.

    • Elizabeth

      The old ploy. Must’ve taken to heart what Bob Jones said at the High Court. Haha. The cost for earthquake strengthening is much higher in Wellington (per square metre) than it is in Dunedin – although here we calculate (rule of thumb) it as 10% of the total demolition and replacement cost for a building. As with anything construction related, you need to know who the best and most well-priced practitioners are and do your diligence accordingly (since each building has its own engineering solution). Bit of a bonus for me being in NZHPT (now HNZ) for so long to get the measure of consulting professionals on a job by job basis, as well as having access to Trust colleagues nationwide and the team at Wellington HQ for a check upon things… A lot of the mystery has gone out of it now that enhancing building performance is THE thing to do by New Zealand building standards.

  5. Elizabeth

    Affected buildings in low risk areas, such as Dunedin, Auckland and Northland, will now need to be identified and assessed within 15 years and strengthened within 35 years.

    ### ODT Online Mon, 11 May 2015
    New earthquake rules ‘positive for Dunedin’
    By Simon Hartley – additional reporting by NZ Herald
    Owners of Dunedin’s earthquake prone buildings have a reprieve from undertaking expensive repairs. While Dunedin is now rated a low earthquake risk zone, its number of older and historic buildings has meant some owners may have postponed or delayed upgrading or maintenance work since the Christchurch earthquakes and building code changes.
    Read more

    New quake rules (via ODT)

    Low risk: Dunedin, Auckland, Northland.
    Medium risk: Invercargill, Timaru, Nelson, Wanganui, New Plymouth, Rotorua, Hamilton, Tauranga.
    High risk: Christchurch, Wellington, Blenheim, Palmerston North, Napier, Hastings, Gisborne.

    Previously: Dunedin buildings at risk had to be assessed within five years, with strengthening carried out within 15 years.
    Changed: Buildings in low earthquake risk areas, such as Dunedin, now to be assessed within 15 years and strengthened within 35 years.
    Unchanged: Building standards code; buildings must still reach the minimum 35% compliance in earthquake proofing.


    ### ODT Online Wed, 13 May 2015
    Upgrades may need to be faster
    By Simon Hartley
    Dunedin owners of buildings likely to be at risk in an earthquake appear to have time on their side to upgrade them, but tenants’ and insurance companies’ requirements could force them to act more quickly. The Dunedin City Council has a register of 2998 pre-1976 buildings around Dunedin, of which 72 are already ”likely/definitely” at risk and 606 are above the minimum 35% building code and are not at risk, with the remaining 2320 yet to be assessed.
    Read more

  6. Elizabeth

    ### dunedintv.co.nz May 19, 2015 – 7:37pm
    Nightly interview: Glen Hazelton
    The government’s just re-designated Dunedin as a low-risk area for earthquakes. And Glen Hazelton (Policy Planner – Heritage), of the Dunedin City Council, is here to explain what that means for the owners of local heritage buildings.

    Hard to recognise. Some sort of meltdown ?

  7. Elizabeth

    Gee, given all the engineers (some structural) in our NZ Defence Force who da thunk they weren’t onto the strengthening sooner – but yes they (like everybody else) should be properly housed in buildings up to code – how easy is that when you’re government funded? Ask those fighting for Dunedin Courthouse (but actually, things are looking up for lower Stuart St, more soon).

    No decisions had been made on the future of the buildings – NZDF would keep the public informed of developments.

    ### ODT Online Sun, 22 Nov 2015
    NZDF seeking new base
    By Vaughan Elder
    The New Zealand Defence Force is looking for a new base after two of its historic Dunedin buildings were found to be prone to earthquake damage. […] Kensington Army Hall, in Bridgman St, and HMNZS Toroa, in St Andrew St, were assessed by engineers in 2013 as being below the acceptable national building standard and a risk in a major earthquake, she said.
    Read more

    If Kensington Army Hall wasn’t painted (see original photo at ODT article) it would look a million dollars! As good if not better than anything you’ll find on the street in the so-called Warehouse precinct, and then some.

    [click to enlarge]
    Kensington_Army_Hall_11 - Schwede66 [wikimedia.org]Kensington_Army_Hall_12 - Schwede66 [wikimedia.org]Kensington Army Hall, 24 Bridgman St, Kensington (November 2012). Built 1915. Photo: Schwede66 [via wikimedia.org]

    HMNZS Toroa Google Street View 2HMNZS Toroa Google Street View 3HMNZS Toroa Google Street View 4HMNZS Toroa, 211 St Andrew St [Google Street View]

  8. Elizabeth

    ——– Original Message ——–
    Subject: RE: Local Government Official Information request – 548816
    Date: Mon, 11 Jul 2016 22:05:37 +0000
    From: Governance Support Officer [DCC]
    To: Elizabeth Kerr

    Dear Ms Kerr,
    Official information request for EARTHQUAKE ASSESSMENTS
    I refer to your official information request dated 16-June-2016 for a searchable copy of an up-to-date ‘DCC in house report Seismic Assessments’ for central city/ CBD buildings. Also for any seismic assessment for the Otago Pioneer Womens’ Memorial Building (former legal office) at 362 Moray Place Dunedin 9016.
    The information you have requested is attached as a searchable Excel file.
    We do not have any seismic assessment for the Otago Pioneer Womens’ Memorial Building.
    If you wish to discuss this decision with us, please feel free to contact me by return email and I can put you in touch with the best staff member to answer your questions.
    Yours sincerely

    Governance Support Officer
    Dunedin City Council

    █████ Attachment | DCC list of seismic assessments as at June 30 2016

    [form document]
    From: Elizabeth Kerr
    Sent: Thursday, 16 June 2016 12:54 p.m.
    To: officialinformation@dcc.govt.nz
    Subject: Local Government Official Information request – 548816
    Elizabeth has submitted a LGOIMA request – 548816.
    Below are the details of the request
    Request details: Does Dunedin City Council (DCC) hold an up-to-date ‘DCC in house report Seismic Assessments’ for central city/ CBD buildings ? [or similarly named report] And if so, can DCC supply me with an electronic copy ? Is this document (if redacted) able to be provided as a searchable electronic copy, by physical address ? The last version I received via LGOIMA request (received 18/9/14) was in PDF format Only and not searchable by property address, at 64 pages. Does DCC hold any sesismic assessment for the Otago Pioneer Womens’ Memorial Building (former legal office) at 362 Moray Place Dunedin 9016 ? I hope this information can be provided electronically, well within the 20 working day limit as I’m assisting the Otago Pioneer Women’s Association committee with building information to assist their annual planning and budgeting, with a view to applying for grant monies for building repair and strengthening if required (they have a new committee following their AGM held yesterday).

  9. Elizabeth

    At Facebook:

  10. Elizabeth

    DCC says building “likely to be earthquake prone”, but “this does not mean the building is unsafe”.

    Thu, 2 Mar 2017
    ODT: Concerns raised about seismic strength of Coronation Hall
    By Chris Morris
    Concerns about the risk posed by a suspected earthquake-risk community hall in Maori Hill could point to more remedial work for the Dunedin City Council. Coronation Hall, built in 1910, was assessed two years ago as a likely quake risk, but it has remained open for public use. The two-level building is owned by the council and leased in part to Maori Hill School, which uses its top level for school assemblies.
    ….council city property manager Kevin Taylor [said] the building’s seismic strength had been assessed at 16% of a new building standard (NBS). The Building Act defined any building with a score below 34% of NBS as an earthquake risk … council staff declined repeated Otago Daily Times requests for an interview yesterday. This included Mr Taylor, who said media access to staff was ”not something I’m familiar with”. ”I’m not giving interviews on it,” he said. Cont/

  11. Elizabeth

    █ Download: DCC in house report Seismic Assessments 2014 (PDF, 44 MB) via LGOIMA request by Elizabeth Kerr

    █ Download: DCC list of seismic assessments as at June 30 2016 (Excel, 102 KB) via LGOIMA request by Elizabeth Kerr

  12. Elizabeth

    At Twitter:

  13. Calvin Oaten

    Oh Oh!! This is an open door for the DCC to implement a whole new department of ‘erks’ all charged with putting Dunedin right on the earthquake front. It will of course require specialist staff, not dissimilar to the Consents people but with much more stringent operational requirements. The Caversham developer’s problems would fade into the background as would the sea rise problems. We could see this as a police state demise of Dunedin for good and all. All in the prime interests of safety of course. It goes way back to the ridiculous situation in Viet Nam when the US forces claimed that they needed to destroy the village in order to save it. Watch this space.

    {Link added + Facebook entry. -Eds}

  14. Gurglars

    A bureaucrat does not have a job if he says Yes! To anything but a perk!

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