20 Mar 2013

Property Council urges action on quake strengthening

9:15 pm on 20 March 2013

The Property Council is urging central and local government to take action on earthquake strengthening, saying they are doing very little to protect the public's safety.

The council says authorities should be compelling property owners to make improvements, like bolting on facades, which it says is cheap and easy to do.

The president of the council's Wellington branch, Ian Cassels, says unrestrained facades on old buildings killed scores of people in the Christchurch earthquake and should be the first thing fixed.

"The public's not much comforted by the idea that some buildings are strong and some buildings aren't," he says. "It's a simple thing, really: as a country we should have minimum standards - and if we can afford it and it's not very expensive and we can compel it, then let's do it."

Building and Construction Minister Maurice Williamson says there's a chance the council will get what it wants when policy changes are made later in the year.