Earthquake strengthening start up to guide building owners

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Seitech is a newly-formed company offering earthquake strengthening expertise to building owners. The start-up has completed seismic strengthening projects at Britomart Precinct in Auckland, and Auckland Airport’s domestic terminal.

The company’s launch comes at a time when building owners are coming under pressure to ensure their properties will perform well in the event of an earthquake.
The Government recently announced new legislation that will give building owners 20 years to either strengthen their earthquake-prone buildings to a minimum 34% of the new building standard, or demolish them.

Seitech founder and director Tim Jones saw an opportunity to provide a more comprehensive service to building owners grappling with new earthquake-strengthening responsibilities.
“Seitech specialises in the implementation of seismic strengthening solutions,” Mr Jones says. “We work alongside structural engineers to assess the ‘buildability’ and methodology of their designs, then we manage and implement the solution for the building owner.”

The Government estimates there are 15,000 to 25,000 at-risk buildings in New Zealand, and territorial authorities must have completed building assessments within the first five years of the legislation taking effect.

A publicly accessible register of earthquake-prone buildings will be established by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.
“This level of transparency is likely to help accelerate earthquake strengthening for many buildings,” Mr Jones says.
“Building owners will come under pressure from tenants and insurers to make the seismic upgrades in less than the allowable 20-year time frame.”

Seitech has also established a joint venture with structural steel fabricator D&H Steel.
The latter recently formed an alliance with StarSeismic, which manufactures buckling restrained brace (BRB) systems for new and existing structures.

Seitech’s new partnership enhances its capability and capacity, and allows it to offer clients a complete implementation service — fabrication, construction and seismic engineering.