1) Doctoral Student, University of Auckland and Strategic Planning Intern, Auckland Council, kwal137@aucklanduni.ac.nz

2) Special Projects Policy Advisor, Auckland Council, Building Control, patrick.cummuskey@aucklandcouncil.govt.nz

3) Research Fellow, University of Auckland, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, ddiz001@aucklanduni.ac.nz

4) Professor, University of Auckland, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, j.ingham@auckland.ac.nz


The 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes and corresponding Royal Commission reports have resulted in changes to the legislative environment and led to increased public awareness in New Zealand of the earthquake performance of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings. As a result, building regulators, owners, tenants, users, and heritage advocates will be facing a unique challenge in the near future where improvements and demolitions of URM buildings are expected to occur at an unusually high rate. Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, and because of the relative prosperity of Auckland during the period 1880-1930 when most URM buildings were being constructed in New Zealand, the city has the greatest stock of URM buildings in the country. Identifying those buildings most at risk in Auckland’s large and varied building stock has warranted a rapid field assessment programme supplemented by strategically chosen detailed assessments. Information that can be procured through rapid field inspections includes the building geometric typologies (e.g., heights, building footprint geometry, isolated versus row configuration, and the relationship of these factors to pounding potential), elevation type (e.g., perforated frame versus solid wall), presence of bond beams, wall construction (e.g., solid versus cavity, number of leafs), bond patterns, and basic construction material type (e.g., clay brick versus stone). Furthermore, investigation into the architectural history, heritage status, functional use, and perceived social/community value of Auckland’s URM buildings will affect the direction of retrofit strategies and priorities. As the owner of a large and varied portfolio of URM buildings as well as the local organisation responsible for assessing building safety, Auckland Council is developing exemplar inspection, assessment, and prioritisation strategies that will target the risks associated with URM buildings, in particular, so as to preserve and enhance safety, and the economic and community value of these special buildings.


Keywords: Auckland, New Zealand, unreinforced masonry, clay brick, stone masonry, Global Earthquake Model, RiskScape, out-of-plane assessment, cavity wall, built heritage