The Cubana apartment block in Cuba St [Wellington] was a financial disaster, which shows how difficult it will be to rebuild a lot of earthquake-risk city buildings, says architect and developer Karen Krogh.and
But the experience left her wondering how Wellington's old earthquake-risk buildings would be rebuilt, who would do it and what it meant, particularly for an old part of the city like Cuba St.The compliance costs and zoning and building regulations and the time to get decisions made all add to the cost of rebuilding, as we are finding out in Christchurch. Rethinking how local government deals with land use, housing and building more generally is a must if we are to lower the cost of accommodation.
"Who's going to do it?"
Krogh lamented the huge costs of any sort of development, including council reserve contributions, compliance costs and the ticket clipping by all the men in suits - lawyers, consultants, financiers and others - who had to approve everything without adding any value.
"It ends up making it too expensive to do anything.
"People bang on about how all our housing is overpriced, but it is too expensive to do it properly and that's why people build dog boxes. It is a difficult process to think you can redevelop the city in a quality way and redevelop earthquake-prone buildings.
"It's the same problem in Christchurch. The reality is a nightmare. We need to go back to the basics and think what we really need."