The Canterbury earthquakes and Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failure (Canterbury Royal Commission) have focussed attention on the public health and life safety risks arising from building design and construction. Whilst much attention has been focused on seismic issues across New Zealand, it is hoped that a broader focus on ‘resilience’ can be considered.
Given New Zealand’s physical setting, our cities, communities and infrastructure are often exposed to a wide range of geological and weather hazards ranging from events with frequent, but modest impact, through to rare, but devastating events. On-going hazard impacts, changing risk due to increasing development and climate change, and the realisation that national exposure to some more infrequent impacts is extremely high, demonstrates that there is much more that can be done to develop a more resilient society, buildings and infrastructure.
The Government recently released its Earthquake prone building policy, which will see between 20,000-25,000 buildings needing an initial assessment over the next five years. Heritage issues will require careful thought. This area of work provides an enormous opportunity for early involvement, innovation, and collaboration.