The central business district of Ngāruawāhia has been identified as a vulnerable area during the earthquake due to the high volume of pedestrian or vehicular movement. The attached photo
After consulting with his community, the Waikato Provincial Council identified busy streets and buildings in Huntley, Ngaruaha and Te Kuahata that might pose a public safety hazard in the event of an earthquake.
Owners of commercial buildings identified as earthquake-prone will now need to be retrofitted within 12.5 years.
The process was part of the Buildings (Earthquake Prone Buildings) Amendment Act 2016 which requires councils across New Zealand to identify crowded buildings and streets where an earthquake could cause people to be injured from falling construction work, or where important roads could be closed.
Following community consultation in April, the Waikato District Council was confirmed in naming Huntley Bridge Street and the CBD area extending to the northern end of Main Street, Ngaruwaahya CBD and Te Kwahata Main Street as high pedestrian areas.
These streets are located in areas with moderate seismic risk and are considered to have a high volume of pedestrian or vehicular traffic.
Any commercial buildings identified as earthquake-prone in elevated pedestrian zones will be classified as priority buildings and need to be upgraded within 12.5 years.
Other buildings in the Medium Seismic Hazard Zone located outside the designated elevated pedestrian traffic areas will have 25 years to retrofit, however, these rules do not apply to standard residential dwellings.
Waikato County Council Building Quality Manager Merv Baloch says: “Waikato County Council has provided information to owners of buildings that have been identified as earthquake-prone…and it is available to answer any questions people may have.”
Buildings are considered earthquake-prone if they have less than a third of the force required for new construction on the same site in the event of a moderate earthquake shaking.
The rating is determined by the weakest component of the building but it does not mean that the building is unsafe or unusable, it just means that the building will not perform as well as a new building in the event of a moderate earthquake.
The national system ensures that the way buildings are managed for future earthquakes is consistent across the country.
The council received 18 requests on the matter, including requests to include Onslow Street in Huntley and Hakanwa Street in elevated pedestrian areas. After deliberation, the Council approved the plan without these areas.
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