Homeowners urged to check earthquake vulnerabilities

by Krizzel Canlas 13 Sep 2017

Homeowners urged to check earthquake vulnerabilities

The Insurance Council of New Zealand has warned Wellington homeowners to quake-check their houses after new research revealed that not enough is being done by homeowners to check their biggest asset for earthquake vulnerabilities.

“New Zealanders, and particularly Wellingtonians, need to wake up to spending some time protecting themselves from the risks they face,” Insurance Council Chief Executive Tim Grafton said.

Wellington homes are generally older than the national housing stock, which makes them more vulnerable to earthquakes than homes in many other parts of New Zealand, Grafton said.

Grafton said New Zealand is a seismic country and has one of the longest coastlines in the world – which add up to more than a fair share of natural hazards affecting Kiwis’ daily lives and assets. 

“The older Wellington housing stock clearly points to a vulnerability for the city, with 21% in homes older than 75 years old (15% nationally), 59% living in homes that were 26-75 years old (50% nationally), and 20% in houses less than 25 years old (34% nationally),” he said.

According to ICNZ, a UMR survey asked homeowners what maintenance checks they had undertaken for earthquake vulnerabilities.

The results found that 61% of respondents said their house had been re-piled (Wellington 78%), 72% had checked that their roof was properly braced (Wellington 77%), 70% had checked whether foundations were properly attached to the floor framing (Wellington 72%), 66% had checked to see floors were level (Wellington 75%), 57% had checked for sub-floor dampness (Wellington 63%) and 50% had checked for sub-floor borer (Wellington 56%).

“When those with homes older than 75 years old were asked about actions they had taken to make their homes less vulnerable, Wellingtonians were more responsive, but there is a lot of room for improvement” Grafton said.

The UMR survey, run by ICNZ, was conducted from 750 New Zealanders.

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