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Students to help owners by assessing quake prone buildings

Jul 30th, 2014 | By | Category: Editor's Picks, Front Page Layout, Latest News, News

yowzaINPOSTNINETY architecture students will assess Newtown’s heritage buildings during the next few months.

The project is part of a wider Council initiative to preserve heritage areas and encourage owners of earthquake prone buildings to strengthen them.

The students will be working in Newtown’s 3 main heritage precinct areas (right) and will complete building survey forms to assess structural condition.

They will then put together conceptual designs for strengthening each building, which will be displayed for public viewing in Newtown when the project is finished.

A community meeting in Newtown on quake-proofing earlier this month was briefed on the project by Victoria University School of Architecture, Heritage New Zealand and Wellington City Council.

Associate professor Andrew Charleston of the School of Architecture, says the designs will be of the highest level and will meet all the requirements of the New Building Standard.

Buildings currently only have to achieve 34% of the standard to avoid being labeled earthquake prone, although the council recommends 66%.

Mr Charleston says the students will receive advice from structural engineers throughout the process.

“Designs will be made publically available once completed, which will be a great opportunity for building owners to see the students work.”

David Wilcocks, a heritage building owner and member of the Newtown Business Group, thinks the project will raise awareness.

“It’s great because it will provide some ideas for buildings owners to think about and encourage them consider the possibilities for their building,” he says.

David Watt from Heritage New Zealand says they have worked closely with the School of Architecture before and have formed a strong relationship.

“Over the past two years we have engaged in a successful heritage project with the School of Architecture and council around the Cuba St heritage precinct with a vision for the future,” Mr Watt says.

“These are challenging times and Heritage New Zealand, Wellington City Council and Newtown building owners need to come together and plan for the future.”

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