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Monday, September 3, 2012

Earthquake Royal Commission – Building Management after Earthquakes

Today the Earthquake Royal Commission heard the first of two days of presentations from a number of specialists on building management after earthquakes.

The following are extracts from the opening address from Mark Zarifeh, counsel assisting the Royal Commission.

The hearing set down for the next two days will address the Terms of Reference requirement of the Royal Commission to inquire into the legal and best-practice requirements for the assessments and remedial work on buildings after an earthquake having regard to lessons from the Canterbury earthquakes and how those requirements compare to similar matters in other countries.

This hearing is an opportunity to consider the issues that were raised in those hearings and other issues in order to determine how we can ensure we have a post-earthquake building management system that meets legal and best-practice requirements.

Those submissions cover a wide range of issues, including:

  • the “trigger” to require a building assessment process
  • the test to be applied by engineers/inspectors to determine re-occupancy
  • the publics understanding of that test and the issue of “risk”
  • whether different considerations should apply to different types of buildings, such as URM buildings, multi-storey buildings or heritage buildings
  • the placarding system, in particular the green placards.
  • the transition from the emergency period to the recovery period and the legislative framework that provides for that.
  • the capabilities and training of engineers and building inspectors involved on the process.
  • Communication between engineers and the public over concepts such as “safe to occupy”

All of the presentations and other material can be found by going to the document library (here) and under Subject selecting “Building assessments after earthquakes”.

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