In January 2017 the government proposed that owners of certain unreinforced masonry buildings will be required to secure street-facing façades and parapets.
The focus of this proposal was public safety. In an earthquake unreinforced masonry can be a safety concern and the proposal targeted these buildings in areas of high foot and vehicle traffic.
This proposal was in response to the 2016 Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquake and advice from GNS Science that there is an increased risk of further earthquakes occurring in the next 12 months in areas that include Lower Hutt, Wellington, Marlborough and Hurunui.
You can read the government announcement.
The government formalised its proposal on Tuesday 28 February 2017 by issuing an Order in Council (OIC) to modify the Building Act (2004) and the Resource Management Act (1991) in relation to certain URM buildings with street-facing façades and parapets. You can read the government’s announcement.
View a copy of the OIC .
The list of streets in Lower Hutt that meet the government’s high foot and vehicle traffic criteria were also announced.
Council has identified the buildings on these streets that meet the government’s criteria for URM buildings with street facing façades and parapets. View a list of identified buildings
More information about this criteria is available on the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment MBIE website.
The owners of these identified buildings have been contacted by Council and a legal notice issued explaining their requirements to meet the law.
The letter also included technical guidance and information about how to access financial support when the work is complete. It also included contact details so the building owner can get in touch with Council to discuss.
If you haven’t been contacted by Council and you think your building meets the criteria, contact Council on 04 570 6666.
What's happening now?
In March 2018 the Order in Council was amended in response to practical constraints and the continued heightened seismic risk. The original 12 month deadline for securing work remains in place for all building owners, but those who have taken reasonable steps within that period, and complete the work within a further six months, have a defence against prosecution.
You can read the governments announcement.
Is there financial support available?
Council has joined the government in supporting affected building owners financially to secure their buildings.
This means the government and Council will pay up to half the cost of securing work to a maximum of $25,000 for buildings two storeys and below, and up to $65,000 for buildings three storeys or above. The Government and Council’s contribution are on a 2:1 ratio.
MBIE will administer this financial support.
Building owners have 12 months from the time they’re notified to secure their façades and parapets. As of March 2018, building owners who qualify under the amendment for the extension of six months to complete required securing work will also be given additional time to submit applications for reimbursement under the Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Securing Fund. Financial support can be applied for after the work has been completed. An application form is available on the MBIE website.
Note: Applications for costs associated with securing work completed past the specified deadline will be ineligible to receive support.
What are the streets in Lower Hutt?
The list of streets in Lower Hutt that meet the government’s high foot and vehicle traffic criteria are:
- Cuba Street, Petone, Lower Hutt
- High Street, Lower Hutt
- Hillary Court (being the area formed within Hillary Court, Vogel Street, and Treadwell Street), Naenae, Lower Hutt
- That part of Jackson Street between Cuba Street and Petone Avenue, Petone, Lower Hutt
- Waiwhetu Road, Waterloo, Lower Hutt.
Are the buildings that meet the criteria safe?
This is about taking a proactive approach to emergency preparedness.
It’s in an earthquake when URM buildings with street facing façades and parapets can be a safety concern.
If I am a tenant in one of the buildings who do I contact?
Tenants should contact their landlord/building owner. A copy of the legal notice given to building owners will also be given to tenants.
Where can I find out more?
More information is available on the MBIE website.