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Seismic company checks ‘pulse’ of NZ buildings

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New Zealand company Global Seismic Data says a sensor system that monitors the “pulse” of buildings to improve resilience will be introduced more widely in the country after an initial focus on Wellington.

Global operations and supply chain director Steven McLaughlan says the Structural Health Monitoring System (SHMS) is being installed across various types of buildings above two floors in height in the capital city.

“In New Zealand we have started with Wellington, but will roll it out over the rest of New Zealand as well,” he told “We are also taking the system into 23 other [areas] around the globe.”

The sensors monitor buildings continuously, improving understanding of risks before an event happens and providing more information if there is an earthquake.

Global Seismic Data says benefits for the insurance industry include better alignment of premiums to actual building performance and better risk mitigation based on the data.

Wellington Chamber of Commerce CEO John Milford says the system provides real-time practical information, adding to current information received on the strength and location of earthquakes.

“It will be very useful in understanding how earthquakes or degradation over time might affect Wellington’s buildings as a whole and how we can best respond when disaster strikes,” he said.

Mr McLaughlin says the building owner pays the installation fee per sensor and monitoring fee per sensor monthly, with the costs deductible as operating expenses in New Zealand.