The Effectiveness of Retrofit Technologies in Wooden-Framed Houses in Wellington

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Miranda, Catalina
Raftery, Gary
Toma, Charlotte
Johnston, David

New Zealand has a long tradition of using light timber frame for construction of its domestic dwellings. After the most recent earthquakes (e.g. Canterbury earthquakes sequence), wooden residential houses showed satisfactory life safety performance. However, poor performance was reported in terms of their seismic resilience. Although numerous innovative methods to mitigate damage have been introduced to the New Zealand community in order to improve wooden house performance, these retrofit options have not been readily taken up. The low number of retrofitted wooden-framed houses leads to questions about whether homeowners are aware of the necessity of seismic retrofitting their houses to achieve a satisfactory seismic performance. This study aims to explore different retrofit technologies that can be applied to wooden-framed houses in Wellington, taking into account the need of homeowners to understand the risk, likelihood and extent of damage expected after an event.

A survey will be conducted in Wellington about perceptions of homeowners towards the expected performance of their wooden-framed houses. The survey questions were designed to gain an understanding of homeowners' levels of safety and awareness of possible damage after a seismic event. Afterwards, a structural review of a sample of the houses will be undertaken to identify common features and detail potential seismic concerns. The findings will break down barriers to making improvements in the performance of wooden-framed houses and lead to enhancements in the confidence of homeowners in the event of future seismic activity. This will result in increased understanding and contribute towards an accessible knowledge base, which will possibly increase significantly the use of these technologies and avoid unnecessary economic and social costs after a seismic event.

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