Owners 'may need incentives' over quake-strengthening

9:52 am on 15 April 2011

With many historic buildings in Christchurch having to be demolished because of the earthquake, questions are being asked about who should pay for quake-strengthening work.

The Historic Places Trust says if the building safety code is revised, property owners may need economic incentives to strengthen their buildings.

Chief executive Bruce Chapman says there is a disincentive at present for owners to earthquake-strengthen their buildings.

He says the cost can be so significant that owners may not even maintain a building, in case lodging a consent for maintenance triggers the earthquake strengthening requirement.

Property Council chief executive Connal Townsend says owners often find it costly to make improvements to older buildings to meet modern safety codes.

The Dunedin City Council this week released a review of its policy on earthquake-prone buildings for public comment.

Council heritage planner Glen Hazelton says earthquake strengthening may be more attractive to building owners because of February's events.