Earthquake compliance for Marae will be costly - Disaster Architect

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Preparation is underway to ensure that buildings including marae within the high seismic areas around the country are earthquake compliant. It's been two weeks since The Building Amendment Act 2016 has officially been made law, but what are Marae doing to prepare for the changes?

Disaster architect Regan Potangaroa says the process for marae to become earthquake compliant will be costly and difficult.

“For the marae its a big surprise for them. They hadn't realised that this was coming and now they just don’t know what to do. What I’ve been warning them of is that once the council start their assessments, as they are required to by the act. There will be costs involved because of the need to prove that their marae is earthquake proof.”

Processes have been put into place as to how the new legislation will be implemented and some Marae have already started compliance measures.

Potangaroa says, “What we’re trying to do is to communicate the idea. We’re sort of using more virtual reality and other material to try and get the message across. From the actual structure side, it’s very difficult because of the history of some of these buildings. Some of them don’t have nails, for instance, a lot of them are 90 years or older. We simply don’t know what’s inside the building to actually put any numbers at all on them."

Potangaroa has been working with a group of experts in the field of disaster to look at the impacts marae will face under the new Building Amendment Act law.

“It's certain areas like the top part of the South Island bottom half of the North Island will be first will need to be assessed. If it’s less than 34% of new building standards then you’re earthquake prone and you need to then do something about it. That costs money and that’s where it’s going to be very difficult for a lot of marae. That cost can be as high as ten maybe $15,000 dollars."

Potangaroa says it remains to be seen whether or not marae will be able to afford to become earthquake compliant.