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Better regional assistance for earthquake-prone heritage buildings

Owners of heritage buildings in regional areas are set to benefit from changes to Heritage EQUIP, the national earthquake upgrade incentive programme, Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson announced today.

“Heritage buildings are integral to the character of regional New Zealand, but the cost of strengthening can be prohibitive for owners in these areas,” Grant Robertson said.

“These owners face lower building incomes and values that often don’t justify the upgrade expense, and there can also be a shortage of locally available professional advice.

“Tailoring funding for heritage building owners in regional, medium and high seismic risk areas gives them more options to manage the unique earthquake strengthening challenges they face.

“These owners are now eligible for new Professional Advice Grants, which are designed to assist people at the beginning of the earthquake upgrade process.

“The grants provide up to 50 per cent of the costs required for obtaining services such as detailed seismic assessments, conservation reports, architectural and structural engineering plans.

“Many regional building owners are also able to apply for up to 67 percent of upgrade works costs.

“As an extra incentive, multiple-building applications can seek funding of up to 67 per cent of professional advice costs.

“I encourage building advisors, councils, civic and heritage trusts and other qualified entities to work on behalf of groups of building owners in regional locations.

Image of the AE Kitchen building in Whanganui which has been restored and earthquake strengthened. Image courtesy of the NZ Herald.

“Manatū Taonga Ministry for Culture and Heritage, which administers the Heritage EQUIP fund, is also in the process of establishing a pilot partnership programme with selected local authorities, to address local issues and identify seismic strengthening pathways.

“Government is keen to ensure more building owners access Heritage EQUIP funding to secure their valuable heritage buildings for the future, and these changes will help to facilitate this,” Grant Robertson said.

Applications for Heritage EQUIP funding are received three times per year, with upcoming rounds closing on 22 March and 29 July 2019.

Detailed information about the new incentives, along with advice for building owners planning seismic strengthening projects, is available at www.heritageequip.govt.nz


Updated on 19th February 2019