Strengthen and safeguard your home with Refresh and Toka Tu Ake EQC

Incorporating strengthening elements alongside your renovation is the smart and cost-effective way to protect your home against damage from natural hazards.

Renovations are an exciting time for any homeowner, but behind the scenes they also provide the perfect opportunity to assess the strength and safety of your home. Protect your asset by including strengthening and hazard removal work during your renovation; not only does it provide you with peace of mind, but you can save time and money by tackling projects together.
It’s no secret that New Zealand is prone to natural hazards like earthquakes. While we all hope we never experience disruptive damage to our homes, there are practical steps everyone can take to strengthen their home and guard against expensive and extensive damage.
With over 1/3 of Kiwis planning renovations in their current homes, it makes sense to improve safety and stability while engineers or builders are already on site. Toka Tu Ake EQC have kept things simple, by asking New Zealanders to think about how what’s above your home, under your home, and around your home can be made safer and stronger to guard against natural hazards.


Removing or replacing hazardous chimneys – particularly those that extend above the roofline and are constructed from unreinforced brick or concrete masonry – is often a straightforward step toward safety. If the chimney is no longer used, the best option is to remove it down to the floor level. If it’s still in use, a portion of the hazardous section can be replaced with a lighter-weight metal flue. Additional bracing in the roof space could also be considered.
Heavy roofing materials would ideally be replaced during renovations with safer, lighter weight alternatives. If this isn’t possible, ensuring roofing is in good condition and well secured to framing are positive steps towards strength and safety.
Refresh Renovations have experienced consultants right around New Zealand who work with expert roofers to deliver safe, stylish roofing repairs and renewals.


If your home is supported by piles and was built prior to the current building code, seismic activity could cause your house to move off its supporting foundation system. This is because homes were traditionally built without sufficient connections between the timber frame structure and foundation system. Changes to the building code have resolved this issue but earlier homes are still at risk. If your subfloor is accessible, the connections between piles and bearers, and bearers and joists, can be checked and improved if necessary.
A home’s foundation system can also be strengthened through the addition of retrofitted bracing and structural fixings. This is a particularly important consideration if your home has mixed foundation types, or if the subfloor is more than 600mm above ground level. The addition of bracing will often require the advice of a structural engineer to ensure you are delivered a bracing solution that is fit-for-purpose.

While these actions will add costs to your renovations, they will make your home less prone to significant damage. Plus, if you are already making changes to your home there are likely to be cost efficiencies. Refresh have an established network of professionals who can help guide you and find safety solutions that work for your budget.


We all love the look of fresh paint outside and in, but what’s inside your walls is more important. If your renovation involves removing wall linings, there may be an opportunity to upgrade the bracing configuration and performance from dated building practices. Improvement work might involve replacing standard gib board or lath and plaster with a product that meets the New Zealand Building Code for bracing qualities. Exterior walls should also be adequately braced.
Heavy exterior cladding can be a strength and safety issue, so if you’re already undertaking work that requires some changes, talk to your Refresh consultant about potentially replacing with a lighter alternative, or incorporating bracing into your renovation work.


Refresh Renovations and Toka Tū Ake EQC are here to help. Incorporating strengthening elements alongside your renovation is the smart and cost-effective way to protect your home against damage from natural hazards.
For practical advice and information, visit the builders and renovators guide on the Toka Tū Ake EQC site by clicking here, or get in touch with your local Refresh Renovation consultant to discuss safety and strengthening solutions that work for you.

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