Call to streamline demolition

1:35 pm on 2 February 2012

A Christchurch City Council manager has told a hearing that the demolition of buildings needs to be streamlined in situations like earthquakes.

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission is hearing evidence about a row of buildings that failed in February's earthquake, killing eight bus passengers and four pedestrians.

The Commission had previously heard that the Austral Building in Colombo Street was badly damaged after the Boxing Day quake and needed to be demolished but was held up by heritage issues.

Resource consents manager John Higgins said on Thursday that the demolition of heritage buildings was time consuming, sometimes requiring a wait of up to six months for a consent.

Mr Higgins said it was well recognised that safety was paramount and the council had worked with owners to stabilise buildings, in some cases allowing a consent after the work was done.

But he said in an event like an earthquake a quicker response was needed to streamline demolitions.

Mr Higgins said he had recommended this to the council, but the proposal was not accepted.