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High-risk Wellington buildings handed shorter quake-strengthening deadline

Owners of Wellington buildings on key arterial routes must strengthen their properties in less than a decade to minimise disruption in a large quake.

Houses in Wellington. (file photo) Photo: RNZ / Richard Tindiller

Councillors agreed today to give building owners on these streets 7.5 years to strengthen and fix them, instead of the usual 15 years.

The decision affects 216 earthquake prone buildings.

A city councillor, Iona Pannett, said public safety was paramount.

“The driving force behind the act is about public safety. Given that nearly 40 people tragically lost their lives in Christchurch because of falling masonry, it was decided to look at this type of building,” she said.

Owners of priority buildings are to be notified by December.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce chief executive John Milford said there was unlikely to be any major pushback from owners.

However, he said individually owned and tenanted building owners may find it a struggle.

“You will not get huge pushback from the commercial owners … I think where the challenge will be, will be on those tenanted individually owned units and their ability to actually undertake the work that’s required,” he said.

RNZ