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Old Wellington homes ‘more vulnerable’ to quakes

Wellington homeowners should check their houses for vulnerabilities to earthquakes, according to Insurance Council of New Zealand (ICNZ) research.

CEO Tim Grafton says the city is more vulnerable to quakes than many other parts of New Zealand.

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

New Zealanders, particularly those in Wellington, need to “wake up” to risk mitigation, he says.

About 61% of New Zealanders say their house has been re-piled (Wellington 78%), 72% have checked their roof is properly braced (Wellington 77%), 70% have checked whether foundations are properly attached to floor framing (Wellington 72%), 66% have checked if floors are level (Wellington 75%), 57% have looked for sub-floor dampness (Wellington 63%) and 50% have checked for sub-floor borer (Wellington 56%).

While people in Wellington rate best on actions taken to make the oldest homes less vulnerable, there remains “a lot of room for improvement,” Mr Grafton says.

ICNZ recommends removing unused chimneys, securing hot water cylinders and ceiling/roof header water tanks, correctly fastening floor bearers to piles and checking the stability of piles, checking foundations and the connections of floor joists to bearers, and for those with clay or cement tile roofs, checking the wire fixing tiles to tile battens.

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