Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill passes Select Committee

On 2nd September 2015 the Local Government and Environment select committee reported back on the Building (Earthquake-prone Buildings) Amendment Bill (Bill). In doing so the select committee recommended the Bill pass subject to some amendments which are discussed in detail here.

First introduced to Parliament in 2012, the Bill seeks to amend the Building Act 2004 with reference to earthquake-prone buildings. The proposed changes stem from recommendations by the Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission and a review conducted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

The intent of the Bill is to recast the balance struck between protection of people from earthquake-prone buildings; the cost of strengthening, upgrading, or demolishing buildings; and the protection of heritage buildings. Key mechanisms that the Bill employs facilitate resetting this balance include setting national timeframes for buildings to be strengthened or demolished, and in doing so, prioritising work on certain buildings that present a public safety risk.

The next step is for the Bill go to its second reading. However, debate will likely be limited as the select committee was unanimous in its decision recommend that the Bill pass and in respect of the recommended changes that it inserted into the Bill.

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