Kestrel experts advise on a range of risk and technical process issues, including how to make arrangements for pre- and post-disaster building assessments. This independent engineering advice includes helping building owners and tenants interpret engineering reports on buildings, and ensuring alignment with emergency management and business continuity plans.

The Canterbury earthquake series, Cook Strait and Kaikoura earthquakes have heightened everyone’s awareness of the seismic behaviour 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.

As well as knowing that they occupy robust and resilient structures, these agencies need to have in place arrangements to have their premises quickly checked out following a physical event in order to enable re-occupancy.

There is also new earthquake prone buildings legislation and arrangements that everyone is still only becoming familiar with.

Hence there are many challenges for pro-active agencies sourcing technical advice. These include how to brief engineers on what is required both for general (non-emergency) assessments and for putting in place specific arrangements for post-disaster evaluations.

Kestrel’s engineering and regulatory advice is wide-ranging, and typically 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 the Building Code and structural standards, and on the nature of arrangements they should put in place for post-disaster building assessments.

This must of course 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 working with building owners and their engineers.

Dave Brunsdon and Mike Stannard of Kestrel Group have been involved in a number of industry initiatives in relation to pre- and post-earthquake building assessments, and provide advice from a position of knowledge and considerable experience.