New Zealand Commercial Design Trends Series NZ Commercial Design Trends Vol. 30/9 - Page 34

meaning they demonstrate less than the 33% minimum level of resistance required by the Building Act 2004 for existing buildings. Those that are deemed to be earthquake prone are required by proposed law changes to be demolished or seismically strengthened over a period of time. Strengthen to protect life, or the building? The Building Act and its earthquake prone provisions are primarily – and appropriately – aimed at protecting human life, not buildings. Provided all of the occupants survive a moderate earthquake, the objective of the legislation is satisfied. However, 32 SEARCH | SAVE | SHARE AT satisfying the legislation might not be enough for the building to survive, even if its occupants do. For example, a brittle brick heritage building that is strengthened with a tough, ductile steel frame, without reducing damaging movement, may simply shed the brickwork. That would leave the frame relatively undamaged, but the heritage aspect of the building would have been lost. A different approach needs to be considered for strengthening of heritage buildings, focusing on reducing damage in addition to making the building safe for the people using it. The challenge is that it’s not easy, and it often isn’t cheap. Below:The Auckland War Memorial Museum, inaugurated in 1929, has also been extensively upgraded in recent years.