Saving the past: new challenges for earthquake prone buildings in New Zealand

  • YEAR
    Murphy, Chris
    2015 Conference Papers
    Conference Papers
    Construction, Materials and Technology


The challenges facing heritage buildings in New Zealand will become all the more significant if legislation to strengthen building code requirements for these buildings is enacted. The strengthening proposals particularly affect old buildings constructed in unreinforced brick masonry. Many of these are “home shop” buildings with home accommodation above the ground floor retail space. Some have heritage value. The proposed legislation will affect all parts of New Zealand, regardless of the particular region’s exposure to earthquake risk. The implications of the upgrade are significant, both for owners and for townscape to which they belong. If the cost puts the viability of the building at risk, the owner will be in a position where demolition is the only feasible option. This could have far reaching implications for the social and heritage wellbeing of many small towns within New Zealand. This paper will report on the submissions to the proposed legislation, particularly as they relate to small-scale unreinforced brick masonry buildings. It will highlight strategies from those submissions that have the potential to enhance the life of some of these buildings, particularly in low risk earthquake zones, without unduly compromising cost and safety considerations.


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