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Economic impediments to successful seismic retrofitting decisions

Temitope Egbelakin (School of Engineering and Advanced Technology (SEAT), Massey University, Auckland, New Zealand)
Suzanne Wilkinson (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)
Jason Ingham (Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand)

Structural Survey

ISSN: 0263-080X

Article publication date: 4 November 2014




The purpose of this paper is to examine why building owners are often reluctant to adopt adequate mitigation measures despite the vulnerability of their buildings to earthquake disasters, by exploring the economic-related barriers to earthquake mitigation decisions.


A case study research method was adopted and interviews chosen as the method of data collection.


Critical economic-related impediments that inhibited seismic retrofitting of earthquake-prone buildings were revealed in this study. Economic-related barriers identified include perception about financial involvement in retrofitting, property market conditions, high insurance premiums and deductibles, and the high cost of retrofitting. The availability of financial incentives such as low interest loans, tax deductibles, the implementation of a risk-based insurance premium scale and promoting increased knowledge and awareness of seismic risks and mitigation measures in the property market place are likely to address the economic-related challenges faced by property owners when undertaking seismic retrofitting projects. The provision of financial incentives specifically for seismic retrofitting should be introduced in policy-implementation programme tailored to local governments’ level of risks exposure and available resources.

Practical implications

The recommendations provided in this study suggest strategies and answers to questions aimed at understanding the types of incentives that city councils and environmental hazard managers should focus on in their attempt to ensure that property owners actively participate in earthquake risk mitigation.


This paper adopts a holistic perspective for investigating earthquake risk mitigation by examining the opinions of the different stakeholders involved in seismic retrofit decisions.



Egbelakin, T., Wilkinson, S. and Ingham, J. (2014), "Economic impediments to successful seismic retrofitting decisions", Structural Survey, Vol. 32 No. 5, pp. 449-466.



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Copyright © 2014, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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