Flagship Programme 3


Addressing earthquake-vulnerable buildings – A multidisciplinary approach

Leader: Ken Elwood
Deputy Leader: Ilan Noy
Industry Representative:
 Derek Baxter


This flagship will result in the development and validation of procedures to forecast the socio-economic impacts of building demolitions and retrofits that are legislated to occur within the coming decade. Improved assessment guidance will mitigate conservative seismic assessments that result in unnecessary demolition of existing buildings, including the country’s built heritage, enabling economically-viable policy solutions. Proven cost-effective and architecturally-appropriate earthquake strengthening solutions will be developed and communicated to structural engineers nationwide so that results can be immediately implemented. Consideration will be given to the range of existing buildings posing a risk in Aotearoa New Zealand’s cities, not just those classified as earthquake-prone by legislation.


Key Thrust Areas


1: Methodologies for earthquake-vulnerable buildings

Development of validated methodologies for detailed assessment and improvement of earthquake-vulnerable buildings such as unreinforced masonry and reinforced concrete buildings. Where possible, validation may be achieved via field testing in buildings scheduled for demolition.

    • Deliverable 1.1: 88%
    • Develop alternative methods for improved seismic assessment of existing buildings with focus on highest life safety risks.
      Timeline: 1/01/2016 - 31/12/2019
    • Deliverable 1.2: 100%
    • Develop and test innovative retrofit solutions for earthquake-vulnerable buildings.
      Timeline: 1/01/2016 - 31/12/2019

2: Economics of earthquake vulnerable buildings

Development of methodologies for economic assessment of options for addressing earthquake-vulnerable buildings, namely: mitigation, demolition, or no action.

    • Deliverable 2.1: 100%
    • Assess impacts of earthquakes and earthquake-related policies on property and rental markets.
      Timeline: 1/01/2016 - 31/12/2019
    • Deliverable 2.2: 100%
    • Assess the utility of different financial and economic tools for decision making related to existing buildings.
      Timeline: 1/01/2017 - 31/12/2020
    • Deliverable 2.3: 100%
    • Investigate the role of insurance in the addressing earthquake-vulnerable buildings.
      Timeline: 1/01/2018 - 31/12/2020

3: Societal perceptions and Policy

Understanding the development of policy and initiatives regarding earthquake-vulnerable buildings, including understanding societal involvement and expectations in such policy.

    • Deliverable 3.1: 100%
    • Investigate public understanding of earthquake risk and mitigation options and their spatial and temporal variations.
      Timeline: 1/01/2017 - 31/12/2019
    • Deliverable 3.2: 100%
    • Investigate the role of communities of practice in shaping earthquake prone building policy at a national to local level.
      Timeline: 1/01/2017 - 31/12/2019
    • Deliverable 3.3: 100%
    • Develop innovative methods for community participation in the development of policies and initiatives to address earthquake-vulnerable buildings.
      Timeline: 1/01/2018 - 31/12/2020