Building Update: New System for Earthquake Prone Buildings

Published: 28-May-2018

Last weekend saw a new, nationally consistent, system for managing earthquake-prone buildings come into effect.

The new system, which replaces Council’s Earthquake Prone Building policy, became effective as of Saturday July 1, and changes the way earthquake-prone buildings are identified, assessed and managed.

BuildingInspectionIts primary objective is to protect people from harm.

The system categorises New Zealand into three seismic risk areas.

These areas will be used to set time-frames for identifying, strengthening or removing earthquake-prone buildings.

A new category of ‘priority’ buildings has also been introduced.

Priority buildings are located in high and medium seismic risk areas, with the buildings considered to be of higher risk because of their construction, type, use or location.

These buildings must be identified and strengthened or removed in half of the time that is outlined for other buildings in the same seismic risk area.

The system applies to non-residential buildings and larger residential buildings that are two storeys or more, have three or more household units or are used as a hostel, boarding house or other form of specialised accommodation.

Territorial authorities (councils) are responsible for identifying potentially earthquake-prone buildings.

They will then notify building owners to determine if a building is earthquake prone.

If so, the building will be assigned a rating (based on an engineering assessment), with an Earthquake Prone Building (EPB) notice issued to building owners.

Territorial authorities will also have to publish information on buildings they have determined to be earthquake-prone in a national online register hosted by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE).

The register is a public document.

MBIE will be working with territorial authorities and building professionals over the coming months to help them with the transition to the new system, while also providing information for building owners.

An overview of the new system can be found at

Links to the relevant Acts, regulations, engineering assessment guidelines and the EPB methodology can be found by clicking

Technical Guidelines for Engineering Assessments are key tools to help territorial authorities and engineers identify, assess and make decisions on potentially earthquake-prone buildings.

The Register of earthquake-prone buildings (EPB Register) can be found at

These pages will be updated as further information becomes available.

For further information, contact Greig Wilson, Building WOFs & Earthquake Prone Buildings:

Mobile: 021 481 132