Thursday, May 23, 2024

Shake-up for earthquake-prone building review

Building and Construction Minister, Chris Penk today announced the Government will bring the earthquake-prone building review forward, with work to start immediately, and an extension to the remediations deadline of four years.

“Our Government is focused on rebuilding the economy. A key part of our plan is to cut red tape that gets in the way of doing business and getting things done,” said Mr Penk.

The current earthquake-prone building system was put in place in 2017, requiring buildings considered to be earthquake-prone to be remediated before set dates with nearly 500 deadlines set to expire over the next four years.

“Councils and building owners have told me that many buildings will not meet their deadlines due to the high costs involved, further complicated by cumbersome heritage rules and ownership structures,” said the Minister.

“Without change, a significant number of buildings could sit empty which would have a devastating impact on the economy in cities such as Wellington and provincial towns across New Zealand.

“While there is already a review scheduled for 2027, the Government has decided to bring this forward to provide greater certainty and this work will begin immediately.”

Terms of reference will be agreed by Cabinet next month, Mr Penk confirmed.

“The review will be extensive and consider the appropriate risk settings to protect safety while ensuring the rules are workable to support businesses, increase economic activity and create jobs. The review will also look at the way overseas jurisdictions manage earthquake risk.”

“While this review is underway, all current remediation deadlines will be extended by four years. However, I encourage building owners to use this time to continue to make improvements to their buildings, particularly due to the positive impacts that remediation has for insurance and their ability to get tenants.”

As part of this work, the Government welcomes input from councils in major cities and provincial towns, and the views of the insurance and banking sectors, the Minister said.

“Cutting red tape is part of the Government’s plan to rebuild the economy so we can lower the cost of living, lift incomes, and provide the public services that Kiwis deserve.”

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