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Consider your options to secure URM parapets and facades

Last updated: 7 March 2018

You must secure the parapet and/or facade of your unreinforced masonry (URM) building within 12 months. You may be eligible for extra time if you have undertaken reasonable steps towards complying with the section 124 notice within the original 12-month period.

Your options include using a permanent solution, using a temporary solution or strengthening the whole building.

You need to think about:

  • the potential impact on tenants in the building
  • the resources you can commit to the project in the next 12 months.

Permanent solutions use structural connections to secure the parapet and/or facade. Temporary solutions may involve clamping, strapping or bolting the parapet and/or facade back into the building.

For more information, see:

Have a look at the table below and ask your building professional for more information.

Temporary solutions Permanent solutions
Quick to put in place Require more consideration (i.e. careful design) and work can take longer
The initial costs can be cheaper than most permanent solutions, but not as durable Likely to cost more in the short term but will last longer and are likely to be a better solution in the long term
Enable you to improve public safety and protect heritage features until you can strengthen the building Enable you to improve public safety and protect heritage features in the long term
Can be visually intrusive Good practice permanent solutions are not visually intrusive
Can limit use of spaces in buildings, ie where temporary tie rods or straps pass through habitable rooms Good practice permanent solutions can be designed to limit effects on habitable rooms
Not a substitute for overall strengthening – in most cases permanent strengthening work will be required in the future Can be the first stage of overall strengthening work

Strengthening the whole building will cost more and take longer. However, you can apply for funding support for the parapet and/or facade and treat the work as the first stage of strengthening.

Funding support

The Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Securing Fund has been set up to support building owners who received a notice from their council, under section 124 of the Building Act 2004 (as modified by the Order in Council) requiring them to secure their ‘street-facing URM buildings’. The fund will contribute half the costs of the actual work involved in securing the URM parapet and/or facade up to a maximum funding cap.

In December 2017 changes to the Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Securing Fund were made to allow applications for support towards the cost of the engineering assessment. You will be able to seek reimbursement towards these costs as soon as the assessment has been completed.

  • If your building is proven secure, with no remediation work required, you can apply for 50 per cent of the engineering assessment costs up to a maximum of $1,500.
  • If your building is shown to require remediation work, you can apply for 50 per cent of the engineering assessment costs, and this will be deducted from the maximum funding cap for your building.

    Note: This will impact what funds are available for reimbursement at completion of remediation work.

The total amount of funding available varies for different building types:

  • For buildings two storeys or under the fund will contribute half of the costs of the actual work involved in securing the URM parapet and/or facade up to a maximum of $25,000 per s124 notice issued.
  • For buildings three storeys and over the fund will contribute half of the costs of the actual work involved in securing the URM parapet and/or facade up to a maximum of $65,000 per s124 notice issued.
  • Where one building is on the corner of two streets listed in the Schedule of the Hurunui/Kaikōura Earthquake Recovery (Unreinforced Masonry Buildings) Order 2017, the fund will contribute half the costs for each street listed:
    • Buildings with two storeys and two streets listed can seek reimbursement of up to $25,000 per street listed, to a maximum of $50,000.
    • Buildings with three storeys and over with two streets listed can seek reimbursement of up to $65,000 per street listed, to a maximum of $130,000.

Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Securing Fund has further information about the fund.

Important things to remember

  • You can apply for 50 per cent of the engineering assessment prior to the completion of the remediation works.
  • For the remaining work, you won’t get funding support until the council confirms that you have done the work required under the section 124 notice.
  • You must keep good records of the work (see page 27 of the guidance below).
  • Additional work to strengthen the building, ie work over and above securing the parapet and/or facade, won’t be eligible for funding support.
  • There will be other additional work that is not covered by the fund. Check page 21 of the guidance below.
  • You may be eligible for extra time if you have undertaken reasonable steps within the 12-month period. A building owner is treated as having taken reasonable steps towards complying with the section 124 notice only if:
    • the design of the building work required under the notice has been, or is being, carried out or reviewed by a chartered professional engineer; and
    • a programme of work is available to the territorial authority for inspection, within the original 12-month period, showing how the building work required under the section 124 notice will be completed within 18 months of the date on which the notice was issued.

      Note: The programme of work could be a document that provides an indication of when the building owner intends to contract a builder to do the work, and when they expect the work to be done.

Securing parapets and facades on unreinforced masonry buildings contains technical guidance developed by MBIE that provides support to building owners, engineers, and councils.

Heritage buildings

If you have a heritage building the securing work should have regard to the heritage values of the building or the area in which the building is located, to the extent that is reasonably practicable in the circumstances. If you decide to strengthen as well as secure you may be eligible for additional funding support for the strengthening work.

To find out if your building is entered on the New Zealand Heritage list contact Heritage New Zealand

It is advisable to engage a chartered professional engineer experienced in work on heritage buildings. Get advice from your council heritage advisor and the Heritage EQUIP website.

Funds that support work on heritage buildings are:

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: