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What you need to know: Section C5 'Concrete Buildings' proposed revision

Last updated: 14 June 2019

Key points

  • When carrying out seismic assessments of potential earthquake-prone buildings, engineers must use the current 2017 Engineering Assessment Guidelines (the Red Book).
  • The revised section C5 (the Yellow Chapter) is the latest engineering knowledge.
  • The Yellow Chapter is still being tested to see if it could be incorporated into regulation.
  • It is not a regulatory requirement for building owners who have undertaken an earthquake-prone building assessment using the Red Book to carry out a retrospective or additional assessment with the Yellow Chapter.

Background

The 2017 Engineering Assessment Guidelines (known as the Red Book) are mandatory technical guidelines for engineers to use when carrying out seismic assessments of potential earthquake-prone buildings when required by the Territorial Authority. They should also be used by engineers for all seismic assessments. 

Last November, a proposed technical revision to Section C5 of the Engineering Assessment Guidelines (referred to as the Yellow Chapter) was released by the engineering sector to provide the latest engineering knowledge on aspects involved in the assessment of concrete buildings, and to reflect what engineers learned from the investigation into the partial collapse of Statistics House following the Kaikōura earthquake.

However, the Yellow Chapter is still being tested to see if it could be incorporated into regulation.

What is the purpose of the Yellow Chapter?

The purpose of the Yellow Chapter is to provide the latest engineering knowledge, which can be used as a tool for engineers when providing advice on concrete buildings outside of the Earthquake Prone Building (EPB) requirements. It should be used to help facilitate a wider conversation with building owners around building performance. It should not be used to provide a %NBS rating in isolation.

The Yellow Chapter does not replace the Red Book in the EPB legislation.

Which guidelines should be followed?

When carrying out seismic assessments of potential earthquake-prone buildings, engineers must use the Red Book. The assessment summary must contain the %NBS.

However, when engineers are providing advice to building owners about the seismic performance of their building and any remediation options, it is expected that a more comprehensive discussion is had that does not solely focus on the %NBS. To support this discussion, other technical information, such as the Yellow Chapter, may be useful.

Engineers may want to consider Engineering New Zealand's advice, which is available on their website.

Will the Yellow Chapter become regulation?

No decision has been made.

More information is needed before MBIE can consider the impact of a legislative change to the engineering assessment guidelines, due to potential implications on the public and building owners.

To get this information quickly, MBIE has commissioned Engineering New Zealand to assess buildings using both the Red Book and the Yellow Chapter. The outcome of these assessments will help MBIE decide on whether the proposed technical revision is appropriate to incorporate into the EPB requirements.

What should I do if I’m concerned about my building?

Territorial Authorities are responsible for identifying potentially earthquake-prone buildings and ensuring that the building’s owners are identifying and managing the risk appropriately.

However, if there are concerns about a building, talk to the building owner to understand if it’s been identified by a Territorial Authority, or if the owner wants to do a more proactive assessment.

It is not a requirement for building owners who have undertaken an earthquake-prone building assessment as requested by a Territorial Authority to voluntarily carry out a further assessment.

Related information

Engineering Assessment Guidelines (the Red Book)

Revised section C5 (the Yellow Book) on the EQ Assess website.

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: