Premier outlines strategies for improving seismic safety of buildings

  • Date: 2018-02-26
  • Source: Department of Information Services, Executive Yuan

Premier Lai Ching-te on Monday said the government will commit NT$6 billion (US$205.2 million) over four years to screen and improve the earthquake resistance of buildings.

This major initiative to ensure the safety of homes across the nation consists of five strategies: rapid screening of buildings, seismic hazard assessments, retrofitting and reinforcement, reinforcement in phases, and financial assistance.

The Executive Yuan is rolling out a number of special measures, the premier continued. First, the focus will be on privately owned buildings, particularly those provided for public use. Most publicly owned buildings have already been inspected—with 99.1 percent completing preliminary assessments and 96.6 percent completing detailed assessments—and a portion of those buildings have been reinforced or retrofitted.

Second, deadlines have been established in order to the ensure efficiency of the work: privately owned buildings with nine or more floors must undergo rapid screenings this year, and buildings with six or more floors within three years. After screening, property owners must also conduct building public safety inspections and submit reports per the requirements of the Building Act.

Third, building owners participating in the assessments will receive rewards and incentives, including expense subsidies, increased floor area ratios, tax breaks and loan assistance.

Fourth, the government will offer a suite of subsidies and incentives to cover the entire process from quake-resistance assessment, to design planning, to reconstruction and to completion. Private building owners in the past have been reluctant to assess buildings because failure to then complete comprehensive reinforcement or reconstruction would lower the value of the property, the premier explained. In the near future, Article 77-1 of the Building Act will be amended to include mandatory requirements concerning the reconstruction and reinforcement of vulnerable buildings.

None of the above described measures have been seen before, the premier said. The Executive Yuan has conducted numerous discussions, gathered resources across agencies, planned budgets and revised regulations in the hopes of resolving the issues at hand. The premier urged the public to lend support and work together to carry out this important effort.