Earthquake threat hikes construction prices in Groningen

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The threat of a massive earthquake in Groningen is bumping up the price of construction in the province, Jos Aartsen, the chairman of the University Medical Center there has said.

Aartsen told Financieele Dagblad that constructions could be 10 to 15 percent more expensive. He announced that the Academic Hospital has plans to new constructions that, even without inflation adjustments, now cost several hundred millions more than their initial prices.

“The State Supervision on Mines does not exclude the possibility of an earthquake of 4 to 5 on the scale of Richter,” Aartsen said. He emphasized that a hospital should at least be expected to be able to continue operating after a quake.

Aartsen said that the Netherlands Oil Exploration Company NAM, which is responsible for gas extraction, should pay the costs for making the new buildings earthquake proof.

This would not be the only bill that the  NAM may expect in the near future. The company already reached a settlement to compensate Groningen residents who want to sell their houses that have suffered loss of value due to earthquake damage.

In addition there are another 100,000 homeowners who are dragging the company to court with demands for compensation. Their case will be heard this spring. And there is also a group of residents who claim damages from the company for immaterial damage.