News eDaily31 Jul 2017

NZ:Less than 34 office buildings meet quake restraints norms

31 Jul 2017

Office buildings in New Zealand which comply with earthquake restraints standards number fewer than 34, in what has been described as a "shocking state of affairs".

This is despite the fact that the standards have been in place for 34 years, reported

Reveal Seismic technical principal Terry Johnson said that the standards relate to the design, construction and installation of seismic restraints.

Non-structural, seismic restraints hold air conditioning, fire-sprinkler, telecommunication, electricity systems, lighting and ceiling support systems in place. These can collapse and pose risks to life and property, an Insurance Council of New Zealand spokeswoman said.

Mr Johnson said the design and installation of proper restraints fell through the cracks between engineers, designers and trades.

"Project building information shows extraordinary levels of clashes with other services and shows no allowance for the correct amount of space for compliant seismic restraints.

"In other words, in some buildings that we actually look at, there is not enough real estate for us to put seismic restraints in because somebody else has taken the space," he said.

There needed to be a more coordinated approach right from the start of the project, he said.

Last week, Mr Scott Hawkins of Munich Re, told a building industry conference that a high level of non-compliance made it difficult for insurers to know what to rely upon.

"As an industry, we place a heavy reliance on codes and new building standards for our risk rating.”

Mr Hawkins warned commercial building owners that earthquake cover could be withdrawn because of New Zealand's seismic risks.


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