Christchurch, New Zealand
Christchurch, New Zealand

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Mora K.,Opus Research | Chang J.,Opus Christchurch | Beatson A.,Opus Research | Morahan C.,Opus Christchurch
International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction | Year: 2015

Following the 2010 and 2011 Canterbury earthquakes, the subject of building safety has had a high profile in New Zealand, with building seismic standards coming under scrutiny. Greater public interest in commercial building safety, and policy aims of increasing investment in seismic improvements for disaster risk reduction requires better methods of communicating building risk, and the elements that affect structural damage. Two qualitative analyses were conducted; an analysis of Twitter postings in the immediate wake of the February 2011 event, followed by focus group analyses of perceptions almost two years later. Life-preservation was found to be more important than functionality of buildings, and experience was found to affect the features the public look for to identify "safe" buildings. The most important feature was found to be the provision of safe exits from buildings, rather than design features such as height and materials. Recommendations for better communication of the meaning, benefits and limitations of building seismic standards are made. © 2015 Elsevier Ltd.

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