Priority routes are busy roads or footpaths where falling masonry from buildings damaged in an earthquake would pose a high risk to life and public safety. Council recently used the special consultative procedure to ask the public which routes they think should be prioritised in Lower Hutt. Submissions closed on 29 June 2018, and Council now has a list of streets that may be affected.
The system for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings changed on 1 July 2017 when the Building Earthquake-prone Buildings Amendment Act 2016 became effective.
The new system prioritises identification and remediation of earthquake-prone buildings that either pose a high risk to life safety, or are critical to recovery in an emergency.
There are two criteria for identifying which roads, footpaths and other thoroughfares should be prioritised:
- High number of vehicles and pedestrians using the route
- The risk of unreinforced masonry buildings falling in an earthquake
Council consulted the public on the proposed roads, footpaths and other thoroughfares that should be prioritised. Council was also seeking input on whether there are any other routes that should be included.
Outcome of consultation
As a result of the public consultation process, Council has identified 7 streets and thoroughfares in Lower Hutt hat have sufficient vehicle and pedestrian traffic to warrant prioritisation. The streets are:
- Jackson Street, Petone (That part of Jackson Street between Cuba Street and Petone Avenue)
- Cuba Street, Lower Hutt (That part of Cuba Street between Emmersons Street and Montague Street)
- High Street, Lower Hutt (That part of High Street between Daly Street and Melling Road)
- Bunny Street, Lower Hutt
- Everest Avenue, Naenae
- Hillary Court, Naenae
- Rimu Street, Eastbourne
What does this mean for buildings in these areas?
Your building will only be affected if it is within one of these areas and:
- a commercial property, or
- a residential property made up of three or more units and two or more storeys high, and
- of unreinforced masonry construction that has the potential for parts of masonry to fall into the identified streets in the event of an earthquake.
Council will be contacting the owners of these buildings to inform them of their responsibilities under the Building Act 2004. If the building is found to be earthquake prone, the additional safety risks mean that the building will need to be strengthened within half of the legal timeframe ie, 7.5 rather than 15 years.
Process for Development of the Proposed Policy and Bylaw
For more information about the public consultation process you can view the following documents:
These documents are also available at the Hutt City Council Building, 30 Laings Road, Lower Hutt and Council Libraries.
If you would like to know more about the Priority Buildings' changes to the Building Act and the new EPB Methodology, please visit the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment website.