Report published on progress with identifying earthquake-prone buildings

Posted: 3 December 2019

The latest report on how territorial authorities are progressing in their work to identify New Zealand’s earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs) has been published.

Most territorial authorities had either identified all the potential priority* earthquake-prone buildings (EPBs) within the parts of their districts with a high seismic risk, or were confident of meeting the deadline of 1 January 2020. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) is supporting the two remaining territorial authorities to help them meet this timeframe.

*    A priority EPB is a building that could fall on well-used roads, key facilities or routes that are critical for emergency services.

A total of 62 territorial authorities were required to provide a progress update to MBIE for the 2019 report. During the reporting period:

  • 609 potential priority EPBs were identified in areas with a high seismic risk (12-month reporting period)
  • 693 potential priority EPBs were identified in medium-risk areas (24-month reporting period).

As at 1 July 2019, an estimated 700 potential priority EPBs remained to be identified in areas with a high seismic risk.

National system for managing EPBs

On 1 July 2017 a national system was introduced for managing EPBs. Under this system, territorial authorities report on their progress toward identifying potential EPBs according to the following timeframes:

  • annually for 5 years in areas with a high seismic risk
  • two-yearly for 10 years in areas with a medium seismic risk
  • three-yearly for 15 years in areas with a low seismic risk.

Once a territorial authority identifies a building as a potential EPB, the building owner is given 12 months to arrange an engineering assessment unless an extension is granted. This assessment is then considered by the territorial authority alongside other relevant information before determining whether the building (or any part of it) is an EPB.

If a building is deemed to be earthquake prone, the owner is required to carry out seismic strengthening work, with the timeframe for this work set according to seismic risk area and the risk profile (priority) of the building.

A total of 348 buildings in high and medium seismic-risk areas were remediated (strengthened or demolished) during the reporting period.  

Further information

This information is published by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Chief Executive. It is a general guide only and, if used, does not relieve any person of the obligation to consider any matter to which the information relates according to the circumstances of the particular case. Expert advice may be required in specific circumstances. Where this information relates to assisting people: