The Dominion Post reported yesterday that Iona Pannett, the Wellington City Council buildings portfolio leader, is calling for government to set a fund to help pay for earthquake strengthening of inner-city buildings. This is in response to hundreds of apartment and commercial property owners who are struggling to stay afloat as they are stung with rising bills for repairs and insurance. Read the full article.
Prendos Structural Engineers have been inundated with owners who are trying to wrap their heads, and wallets, around the issue of seismic strengthening upgrades. Many have turned to us after being sold extensive upgrade expenditures, in excess of 25% of the replacement value of the building, which would have destroyed the economic viability of building. But extensive capital expenditures are not attractive, and as mentioned in The Dominion Post article are leaving owners frustrated and angry with their financial security significantly diminished.
Chartered Structural Engineer, Cathy Thomas, is offering a different approach. Although many owners believe that seismic upgrades involve a major rebuild from the footings up, in some cases Cathy is recommending targeted seismic upgrade solutions utilising existing structural systems such as floor/ceiling diaphragms. She notes that if a Building has substandard or inadequate foundations and vertical structures, they would need to be addressed, but that is not always the case.
Targeted strengthening as well as utilisation of all the buildings inherent strength can converge with a positive outcome. You can read more on targeted seismic upgrade solutions alongside a case study in Cathy’s article “Seismic Upgrades – do not need to be from the ground up”. The underlying message being to use targeted strengthening for maximum return, you may not need to strengthen your building down to the foundations.
We urge building owners in Wellington, and across the country, to investigate their options as practical design solutions utilising the buildings original construction may be lying up, not down.
To find out more about how we can assist with seismic assessments and strengthening visit our Structural Engineering or Seismic Assessments pages, alternatively contact us on 0800 PRENDOS, email [email protected], or fill in the below contact form and we will get in touch.