20 Sep 2012

Partnership aims to manage quake risks in buildings

8:11 am on 20 September 2012

Project managing company Impact has joined forces with the global earthquake and structural engineering company Miyamoto International to help manage earthquake risks in buildings.

The partnership aims to be a one-stop shop for building owners to seismically strengthen their property, as well as get adequate insurance by assessing a building's vulnerability to future events, and how much it would cost to repair it.

Impact says before the Canterbury earthquakes, New Zealanders were paying the lowest premiums in the world but now the landscape has changed significantly.

It says up to 25,000 buildings around the country have been assessed as earthquake prone since Christchurch's major quakes.

That has created headaches for owners, with tenants fleeing to safer premises, while insurance premiums have jumped by three to four times higher than pre-quake levels.

Impact director Garth Palmer says the partnership aims to address these problems.

He says, for example, owners that have 20 to 30 years to upgrade a quake-prone building may find that, in the meantime, tenants are moving out because they don't want be in a building that is that quake-prone.

"So with Miyamoto engineering expertise we assess that building, we look at the probable maximum loss, we upgrade that building, we bring the insurance market in and we provide insurance right throughout to the tenants, through to the building owner."

Mr Palmer says there result is a building that has been upgraded, that is insurable at not too high a premium and tenants are happy.

He says the company's client list includes government departments, local authorities, individual property investors and not-for-profit organisations.