High-rises in Auckland, Wellington fail quake standards

27 October 2017, from Radio NZ

Building inspections show most Auckland and Wellington high-rises failed to meet earthquake standards to stop people being hit by falling objects.

The 2016 survey released to RNZ by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) - after it previously refused media requests - is the first official confirmation of industry warnings of massive non-compliance to the standards for securing non-structural elements (for a full list of these, see the list at the bottom of the story).

It examined 41 floors in 20 commercial buildings four storeys or higher and less than 60 years old in Wellington and Auckland.

It showed a 100 percent failure rate in Auckland of earthquake bracing of fire sprinklers and pipes, and a 73 percent failure rate in Wellington.

The report, by engineers Kevin O'Connor and Associates (KOA), said 89 percent of ceilings in both cities were poorly secured, as well as 85 percent of partition walls.

All eight key parts of the buildings inspected in both cities failed key quake-related standards, and either did not have any restraints or the restraints were inadequate.

In Auckland, 11 out of 12 fire systems were not restrained at all.

Other failings included ceilings being suspended on bolts...

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"Around 70 - 80% of the total repair cost after an earthquake is usually due to the damage of internal and non-structural elements."
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