Death from above, lethal overhead quake threats escape scrutiny
Unrestrained heavy pipes, wires and air conditioning units in building ceilings that could be lethal in an earthquake are escaping proper scrutiny.
Wellington City Council has admitted a lot of buildings will have been signed off prior to the 2011 Canterbury quakes as complying with rules on restraints of services, such as ducting and lighting, when they did not.
According to engineers and insurers, thousands of buildings throughout the country are also not up to standard and a law change is needed.
In preliminary tests on seismic restraints run last year by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, 19 out of 20 buildings failed.
A Wellington structural engineer Ignatius Black of consulting firm Silvester Clark says even many hospitals do not have seismic restraints that meet the Building Code.
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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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