Rockfall: Design considerations for passive protection structures

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About this document

  • Published on 29 November 2016
  • Updated on 21 September 2017
  • Of interest to Engineers,
  • ISBN: 978-0-947493-61-3 (Print) / 978-0-947493-62-0 (Online)
  • 1st edition


Guidance on the design of passive rockfall protection structures, such as rockfall fences and embankments, which act as barriers to intercept and capture or divert falling rock to prevent it from impacting a critical structure.


This joint guidance has been published as Building Act s175 guidance and focuses on:

  • How passive protection fits within the overall scope of rockfall risk mitigation
  • Site assessments
  • Design approaches
  • The design process, including inputs, site selection, structure selection, structure sizing and long-term inspection and maintenance
  • Other non-technical design considerations
  • Regulatory considerations.

This document has been developed in collaboration with the New Zealand Geotechnical Society and the New Zealand Transport Agency and is part of the general guidance on geotechnical engineering that is being developed in response to issues arising from the Canterbury earthquake.

Please note that while Christchurch City Council did issue preliminary guidance to assist owners in the Port Hills, this new guidance is more comprehensive and detailed and applies throughout New Zealand.


Learn about Rockfall in the geotechnical education section.

All guidance documents related to B1 Structure

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: