Priority Buildings: a guide to the earthquake-prone building provisions of the Building Act

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About this document

  • Published on 19 July 2017
  • Of interest to Building consent authorities, Territorial Authority, Building owners, Regional authorities, Building users, Designers, Engineers, Architects,
  • ISBN: ISBN 978-1-98-853504-3 (Print) / ISBN 978-1-98-853505-0 (Online)


Priority buildings are a concept introduced under the system for identifying and managing earthquake-prone buildings that came into effect on 1 July 2017.


Priority buildings are certain types of buildings in high and medium seismic risk areas that are considered to present a higher risk because of their construction, type, use or location. They may be buildings that are considered to pose a higher risk to life safety or buildings that are critical to recovery in an emergency.

Priority buildings need to be identified and remediated within half the time allowed for other buildings in the same seismic risk areas.

The Priority Buildings guidance has detailed information on buildings such as hospital, emergency and education buildings that are prioritised because of their function, and priority buildings identified with community input.

It outlines the responsibilities of territorial authorities and building owners and the time frames for identifying and remediating priority buildings.

Contents are as follows:

  • Section 1: Introduction
  • Section 2: Scope of the guidance
  • Section 3: Regulatory Context
  • Section 4: Overview of roles and time frames
  • Section 5: Territorial authorities identify priority buildings
  • Section 6: Building owners remediate priority buildings
  • Section 7: Additional advice for building owners
  • Appendices

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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: