Securing parapets and facades on unreinforced masonry buildings

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About this document

  • Published on 28 February 2017
  • Updated on 7 March 2018
  • Of interest to Building owners, Licensed building practitioners, Hurunui District Council, Marlborough District Council, Hutt City Council, Wellington City Council, Council heritage advisors, Architects, Chartered professional engineers,
  • ISBN: ISBN 978-1-98-851724-7 (Print) / ISBN 978-1-98-851725-4 (Online)
  • Version 2


The guidance provides advice for building owners, councils and engineers who are required to secure the street-facing parapets and facades of unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings.


On 28 February 2017 the government introduced a requirement for owners of certain unreinforced masonry (URM) buildings to secure street-facing parapets and/or facades, in response to the 2016 Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquakes.

The requirement applies to street-facing URM buildings, with unsecured or unstrengthened parapets and/or facades, on listed streets in Wellington, Lower Hutt, Marlborough and Hurunui.

It was expected there would be an increased risk of earthquakes in these areas, following the Hurunui/Kaikōura earthquakes on 14 November 2016, and this increases the risk that unsecured URM parapets and/or facades could fall and threaten people’s safety.

Owners of URM buildings in those areas were notified by the council if they are required to secure the street-facing parapets and/or facades on their buildings within 12 months of the date of the notice to reduce the risk of falling masonry.

In recognition of the public and private benefits of securing URM parapets and facades, the government and affected councils established a $4.5 million Unreinforced Masonry Buildings Securing Fund to support building owners required to do this work.

The guidance includes:

  • a section outlining the changes that have occurred since the securing requirement was introduced
  • a section outlining the provisions of the Order in Council, including the modifications to the Building Act and Resource Management Act
  • advice for building owners who get a notice requiring them to secure the parapet and/or facade of their street-facing URM building
  • advice for affected councils who issued notices under section 124 of the Building Act, as modified by the Order in Council
  • advice for chartered professional engineers who will be designing solutions to secure parapets and/or facades.

For more information, see Securing unreinforced masonry building parapets and facades.

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: