8 Dec 2012

'Unfair' to impose strengthening costs on owners

4:45 pm on 8 December 2012

A Wellington city councillor is concerned about what she sees as a lack of flexibility in government proposals for changes to the building code.

In the light of the findings of the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission, the Government wants to bring between 15,000 and 25,000 quake-prone buildings up to new standards within 15 years, at a cost of $1.7 billion.

Councillor Iona Pannett agrees that the commission and the Government have attempted a balanced response but in her view the cost of repair is going to be prohibitive for some owners.

"This is going to need government intervention," she says, "because the costs are so high. It's just simply not fair to impose these big costs on building owners when there's such a large public safety factor."

Ms Pannett is concerned the Government has rejected the commission's recommendation to allow local councils to set strengthening standards for buildings.