Kestrel experts advise on a range of risk issues, including how to make arrangements for pre- and post-disaster building assessments. This engineering advice is aligned with emergency management and business continuity plans.

We also help building owners and tenants to interpret engineering reports on buildings to clarify the conclusions and recommendations in practical terms.

The Canterbury earthquake series and Cook Strait earthquakes have heightened everyone’s awareness of the seismic resistance of the buildings in which they live and work.

This is particularly the case for critical facilities’ operators (including district health boards, lifeline utilities and central and local government agencies) that have obligations under the Civil Defence Emergency Management Act to continue to function and deliver key emergency activities.

These critical facilities’ operators need to know that they occupy robust and resilient structures and have in place arrangements to have their premises quickly checked out following a physical event in order to enable re-occupancy.

However, even in the current environment of heightened awareness of earthquake risk, there are many challenges for proactive agencies sourcing technical advice. These include how to brief engineers on what is required both for general (non-emergency) assessments and in preparing specific arrangements for post-disaster evaluations.

Kestrel’s engineering advice focuses on the interface between building engineering and emergency management.

This includes providing critical facilities’ operators with guidance on the practical aspects associated with meeting the ‘Importance Level’ requirements of structural codes, and on the nature of arrangements they should put in place for post-disaster building assessments.

This, of course, must link carefully with the agencies’ emergency response and business continuity arrangements.

Similar advice is also given to any organisation with specific continuity arrangements. This is particularly relevant where organisations are only tenants of buildings, and need strategic advice for dealing with building owners and their engineers.

Other forms of engineering advice from Kestrel to building owners and tenants include the ‘interpretation’ of engineering reports on buildings – clarifying what the conclusions and recommendations mean in practical terms.

In the current environment of concern over the levels of seismic strength of existing buildings, independent advice can offer a rational perspective.

Dave Brunsdon of Kestrel oversees the technical group updating the national guidelines for the assessment and strengthening of buildings and can offer you advice from a position of knowledge and considerable experience.