Earthquakes are low probability, high consequence events which are known to cause significant damage. Small to medium-sized enterprises (SBEs) are particularly vulnerable to impacts arising from such disasters, including: business disruption, employee health and safety, financial strain, or even total loss of business. Owners of these SBEs can make a few key decisions to prepare their businesses for an earthquake, in order to ensure business continuity and the well-being of their employees. This study sought to examine the level of earthquake preparedness of SBEs located in high seismic risk regions by examining the extent of mitigation measures adopted five years post the Canterbury earthquake disaster. Using a mixed-methods research approach, combining both qualitative and quantitative data, the research findings revealed that a majority of SBEs operating in regions of high vulnerability to disaster are underprepared for a potential earthquake disaster, despite the general increased awareness of earthquake risks in New Zealand. Cost, time, insurance processes, and access to disaster mitigation information, were identified to be the most important and constraining factors in the overall decision-making process. The research findings will provide strategies to local authorities on how to assist SBEs in making better informed preparedness decisions, ultimately improving their resilience to earthquakes, and thus improving the resilience of the New Zealand community as a whole.
Proceedings of the CIB World Building Congress 2016, 2016, 3 (1), pp. 702 - 714 (12)