11 Feb 2019
Media releases

Better regional assistance for earthquake-prone heritage buildings

It’s been two years since Heritage EQUIP was launched in New Zealand.

Since then, the programme, which was created to help private owners of heritage buildings with earthquake strengthening, has allocated $4.9 million in funding to projects across the country.

However, only around a quarter of this funding has been allocated to projects outside the country’s three main cities.

To better support building owners in regional areas, Heritage EQUIP now offers a range of extra incentives for regional projects, including new Professional Advice Grants. 

The new incentives were announced this week by Associate Minister for Arts, Culture and Heritage Grant Robertson:

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

Matthew Kidson, an infrastructure project manager, who chairs Heritage EQUIP expert advisory panel, says the extra support available to owners in regional centres will be of interest to people who are at the beginning of the strengthening process.

“The new Professional Advice 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.

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

“This is a real carrot to owners in regional areas who might otherwise delay in getting their earthquake strengthening plans underway.”

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.

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

Read the full media release here.