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Our current engineering standards focus on the structural response to an earthquake. For most buildings there is little consideration of whether a building can function after a significant earthquake or how long it might take to recover, if damaged.

Is keeping people safe (life safety) the only thing we require of our buildings following a major earthquake? Our current building code focuses on preserving life and making sure critical emergency response facilities are operational. But participants in our study indicated that while life safety remains the most important focus, having a building stock that can enable social and economic recovery is an increasing priority.

Currently in New Zealand we require buildings with post earthquake functions (like hospitals), and large buildings (like stadiums) to be built stronger than others. But is that in line with current societal expectations? We explored this question with participants in our recent EQC funded, NZSEE Resilient Buildings Project.

A research report, ‘Societal expectations for seismic performance of buildings’, has just been released. The report is about what New Zealanders think about buildings’ performance in the event of earthquakes. The research was commissioned by the NZ Society for Earthquake Engineering (NZSEE), funded by EQC, and we carried it with the University of Auckland.

We are really thrilled this project has been recognised in the RiskNZ Awards, winning both the Risk Initiative of the Year and Stronger Together in Partnership awards.

There is a mantra in emergency management that recovery starts in response. But what does that mean as we continue our response to COVID-19? It’s time that organisations really start thinking about what recovery looks like from this very long event.

On 22nd February every year we remember the tragic earthquake that struck the city of Christchurch, New Zealand and all those lives lost, individuals, communities and business directly and indirectly affected. We also reflect on how far our understanding of disaster recovery has come. We’re resharing the ten key lessons we have learnt through research and working with organisations to build their resilience.

Our paper “Is health and safety legislation an effective tool for disaster risk reduction? A case study from New Zealand” is now published in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction

Our EQC funded project investigating whether the Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 (HSWA) has a role in how New Zealand organisations manage earthquake risk was also presented at the virtual 2021 Te Hiranga Ru QuakeCoRE Annual Meeting.

Do you have to make complex risk management decisions?

Decision making frameworks are a key tool to help bring transparency, consistency and robustness to decision making processes.

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