New strengthening guidelines urged immediately

1:31 pm on 12 October 2011

The Royal Commission on the Canterbury Earthquakes is recommending that new guidelines for buildings should be introduced immediately to help prevent them failing in any further quakes.

The recommendation, in an interim report, says the guidelines should be introduced by an order-in-council and should guide all repairs to existing buildings as well as plans for new buildings.

The report says these guidelines should apply in greater Christchurch until national building standards have been reviewed.

It also calls for unreinforced masonry buildings throughout the country to be strengthened to prevent masonry falling on people in an earthquake.

The report is now in the hands of the Government, which will consider its recommendations before deciding what action it should take.

The Government says most of the recommendations are already being implemented and it will continue to work towards bringing in further changes relating to the safety of buildings.

The commission is about to begin hearings investigating why some large buildings collapsed in the 22 February quake, which killed 181 people.