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Building owners responsible for safety checks

Wednesday, November 23, 2016   Posted in: Earthquake By: Administrator With tags: earthquake, safety, emergencies, built environment

Christchurch City Council Newsline: 18th November 2016

Building owners are being reminded of their role in keeping tenants safe in the wake of Kaikoura's 7.8 magnitude earthquake.

Support scaffolding on the Old Municipal Chambers (Our City O-Tautahi).Christchurch City Council’s Consents and Compliance General Manager Leonie Rae says all building owners need to develop their own procedures on what to do following a major shake.  

“Council has an overall obligation to ensure public safety, but individual property owners need to make sure they have processes in place for checking their buildings are sound after a significant earthquake. It’s timely for them to review those procedures given recent events.”

Anyone running a business is required by law to provide a work environment that is without identifiable risks to health and safety.

All tenants must be aware of these processes and know what to do prior to an event.

The Council has developed a four-step process to help building owners ensure their structures are safe following an earthquake says Ms Rae:

  1. Initial assessment by the owner operator. If this finds significant issues or damage then further assessment is required.
  2. If necessary, a chartered engineer inspects key elements of the building structure. This may include invasive techniques. Buildings are not to be occupied until the engineer declares that it is safe to occupy.
  3. Check building systems. Once the engineer has declared the building safe to occupy, organise an inspection of building services and systems by suitably qualified professionals who are able to repair any damage.
  4. Building is cleared and fit to reoccupy.

Ms Rae recommended all owners read through the checklist and review and update their processes if necessary. She says if there are concerns about a building being dangerous after the above procedure has been followed then the Council should be contacted on 03 941 8999.

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